Premises liability cases often involve injuries that occur on someone’s property due to their negligent use or maintenance of the property. Slip and fall accidents, swimming pool accidents, neglected maintenance, and obstructed walkways are all common themes in premises liability cases. A premises liability plaintiff needs to prove the following elements in order to have a case for premises liability:
In order to show that the defendant was negligent in the use or maintenance of the property, the defendant’s duty of care needs to be established. The duty of care owed to another party varies somewhat, depending on the case circumstances. It used to be that plaintiffs were put into a certain category of guest such as invitee, licensee, social guest, or trespasser and the defendant’s duty of care was established based on the plaintiff’s classification.
California has moved away from that rigid classification system toward a reasonableness duty of care. A plaintiff will argue that the defendant was not reasonable in his or her use or maintenance of the property and that the defendant either knew and failed to remediate a potential harm or should have known that the potential harm existed. A jury or judge will look at the facts of the case to determine if the defendant acted as a reasonable person would have acted in view of the probability of injury to others.
California jury instructions provide suggestions for a jury to consider when determining whether or not the defendant acted reasonably:
In California, comparative fault applies to premises liability cases. If a plaintiff is found to be partially at fault, his or her damages will be reduced by the plaintiff’s portion of fault. For example, a plaintiff was injured by falling into a hole on the defendant’s property and the defendant argues that the hole was so large and so obvious that she should have been aware of it, thus she was partially at fault. If she was found to be 10% at fault and her total damages were $50,000, her damages will be reduced by 10% and she will recover $45,000.
If you have been injured on someone’s property as a result of their negligent maintenance or use, contact El Cajon premises liability attorney, Eugene G. Bruno, to schedule a consultation. Our premises liability team will work to see that you are made whole again.