Accidents on dangerous property occur every day, whether that property is commercial space, like a store or restaurant, or a residential space, like a home or apartment complex. If you were seriously injured due to a hazardous condition, the owner of the property can potentially be held accountable in a premises liability lawsuit.
Under California law, property owners owe a duty of care to guests and invitees to ensure that their premises are reasonably safe. They must regularly inspect their property and mitigate hazards when they can, or at least warn others about hazards that cannot be immediately mitigated. These claims ultimately allege negligence, which is outlined in California Civil Code §1714(a).
Act quickly to preserve evidence
Our firm regularly represents clients who have suffered serious or catastrophic injuries due to unsafe premises, including traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries and more. Clients often ask us what they can do (or what they should have done) to strengthen their premises liability claim.
We’ve provided some tips below, based on the hypothetical scenario of a slip-and-fall accident in a grocery store. The accident was caused by a malfunctioning freezer that regularly leaked water onto a hard tile floor.
Tip 1: Report the accident to the manager of the store. They need to know that it happened so that they cannot claim ignorance later.
Tip 2: Get contact information from witnesses. If you were in a store, there were almost certainly people who witnessed the accident. Ask them for their names and contact information, if your injuries allow you to do so.
Tip 3: Get pictures of the scene to preserve details. By the time you file a claim, the store will have cleaned up the hazardous spill, and will likely have taken the long overdue step of correcting the problem that originally caused it. You need to show what conditions were like on the day.
Tip 4: Seek out immediate medical care and documentation. Perhaps you suffered a concussion or a serious back injury. You need to seek medical care for two reasons. First and foremost, you are injured and require medical attention. Second, you need documentation of your injuries (through medical records) in order to file a claim for compensation.
Tip 5: Contact a lawyer as soon as reasonably possible. Evidence such as security camera footage could be critical in a case like this. If the store tried to claim that it didn’t know about the water leak or that it hadn’t been there very long, security footage could directly contradict that claim. The sooner you contact a lawyer, the better chance you have of obtaining that video evidence (before store owners can “accidentally” lose it or record over it).
We can explore your legal options in a free consultation
At Woods Williford, P.C., our attorneys have decades of combined experience fighting for injury victims in California, including those injured on dangerous private property. We make it easy to learn about your rights and legal options by offering free initial consultations. Contact us today to find out how we can help you.