Property owners and managers have a responsibility to keep their property reasonably safe for visitors and guests. If they fail to do so, and someone gets injured as a result, the victim can take legal action to seek compensation. This is known as a premises liability claim. If you or someone you love was hurt on a business or residential property, it’s time to explore your legal options with a Santa Ana premises liability lawyer. Talk to the team at Attorney Jeff Injury Lawyers.
What Does a Premises Liability Attorney Do?
An injured person wishing to pursue a premises liability claim bears the burden of proof. One of the most important responsibilities of an attorney is therefore to investigate the factual circumstances surrounding the victim’s injuries. This includes, once the lawsuit is filed, use of discovery. Discovery is a legal process by which the parties formally request and exchange documents and information concerning the injury from each other. Taking these steps helps your Santa Ana premises liability attorney acquire evidence and begin building a case.
While developing your lawsuit, your attorney will also attempt to negotiate a settlement with the insurance company that covers the business or residential property. This is a delicate process that is best left in the hands of a lawyer who understands not only the value of your case but the various ways that insurers try to underpay or deny premises liability claims.
If the insurer won’t negotiate in good faith, and a trial becomes necessary, your lawyer will prepare to take your case in front of a jury. An experienced attorney will understand premises liability law as well as the various rules concerning civil procedure, evidence, and other aspects of litigation. Your attorney will also likely consult with expert witnesses. These are individuals who can explain complex topics to a jury, such as the value of your legal claim.
Our firm is prepared to do the above and more for you. Throughout our representation of you, we will be responsive, keep you updated on the status of your case, and answer your questions and concerns.
Examples of Premises Liability Cases
There are numerous types of hazards that might exist on a property and cause harm to a visitor or guest. Some examples of premises liability lawsuits include those that allege:
- Inadequate maintenance
- Defective stairways
- Broken and uneven sidewalks
- Malfunctioning elevators and escalators
- Poor lighting
- Unsupervised swimming pools
- Fire safety and building code violations
- Structural collapse
- Negligent security
- Faulty amusement park rides
- Conditions causing slips and falls
- Dog and animal attacks
If you were injured on a residential or commercial property due to some dangerous condition, it’s time to determine whether you have a case.
What Must Be Proven in a Premises Liability Lawsuit?
Premises liability claims are based on negligence. An owner or manager can be held liable for either failing to correct a dangerous condition or for not providing sufficient warning of it. The law covers hazards that the owner either knew about or reasonably should have known about through routine inspection of the premises.
Working with a Santa Ana premises liability attorney, you will need to prove the following elements:
Duty of care
Negligence cases in general, including premises liability, start by alleging that the defendant owed a duty of care to the plaintiff. For this duty to exist the plaintiff must show he or she was a lawful visitor or guest on the property.
A breach occurs when, because of some act or failure to act, the defendant did not uphold the duty of care. For example, the owner of a hotel in a high-crime area should take reasonable measures to increase the security of the property. If the owner does not, he or she could be held liable if an assailant breaks into a guest’s room and commits a crime. A lawsuit such as this would allege negligent security against the defendant.
Causation (substantial contributing factor)
Next, the defendant’s breach must have caused the victim’s injury. Put another way, the failure to correct the hazard or warn about it must have been a substantial contributing factor to the plaintiff being harmed. It is not necessary that the defendant’s negligence was the only contributing factor, but it must be more than a remote or trivial cause.
Damages include all of the losses that the victim suffered and for which he or she seeks monetary compensation. These usually fall into two categories: economic and non-economic. Economic damages are fairly easy to calculate and include medical bills and lost wages. Non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, are more subjective. There are other types of damages that may be available which are discussed below.
What Can You Get From a Lawsuit Against a Negligent Property Owner?
The objective of filing a premises liability claim is to seek monetary damages from the owner or other responsible party. Your Santa Ana premises liability lawyer will need to demonstrate the nature and amount of such damages as:
- Medical expenses: These may include past and present costs plus estimated future ones for treatment the victim may be expected to need.
- Lost wages: While the victim is recovering or tending to accident-related matters, he or she will lose time from work and therefore earnings.
- Lost earning capacity: If the victim’s injuries are so severe that he or she cannot work the same job or at the same productivity level, the victim may be compensated accordingly.
- Non-economic damages: These damages are more subjective but can be compensated nonetheless, and include pain and suffering, emotional distress, scarring, and more.
- Punitive damages: In rare cases, defendants who were especially irresponsible in allowing people to be injured can ask for these damages.
- Wrongful death damages: If the victim died from his or her injuries, eligible survivors can seek a number of wrongful death damages, like funeral and burial expenses.
- Property damage: When negligence causes damage to a victim’s property, the defendant can be ordered to pay for the loss.
Contact Our Santa Ana Premises Liability Attorney
If you have suffered injury because of a negligent property owner, reach out to Attorney Jeff Injury Lawyers. We’re ready to put our experience to work for you and demand the maximum damages allowed by law. Give us a call today, or use our online contact form to get started.