Orange County Premises Liability Lawyers
Entering another residential or commercial property with permission is typically a safe activity. Unfortunately, when owners are negligent in the upkeep of the premises, they can endanger guests, leading to injuries and death.
Suppose you are going grocery shopping at Albertsons. You do not expect to slip and fall and suffer a life-altering injury, but you do.
You must speak to an Orange County premises liability lawyer from Bentley & More LLP, today.
The legal status of visitors
Premises is a term used to describe a parcel, place, structure, or land that a person or persons owns, leases, or legally occupies. The entity must also have a vested interest in owning the property. Property owners will try to deny premises liability claims by questioning the person’s legal status on the property. Your eligibility to seek compensation is contingent on your status.
The various categories include:
- Licensee: The owner consents to this person entering the property. The person is there for a specific purpose, including contractors and landscapers.
- Invitee: Someone invited onto the property either explicitly or implied. Customers entering a store are examples of implied invitations.
- Social guest: Someone invited onto the property by the homeowner for an event or social gathering.
- Trespasser: The person has no permission to be on the property. Owners owe no duty to prevent injury but cannot intentionally cause hazards. The exception is children, as owners should post warnings about potentially dangerous conditions.
Children on properties have different rights under premises liability laws. Parents should discuss their children’s rights with an Orange County premises liability attorney. If you enter a property with permission and suffer an injury, you have the legal right to file a premise liability claim and seek compensation.
Examples of premises liability accidents
Many incidents can lead to injuries on a property. All Orange County property owners are legally responsible for maintaining a safe and hazard-free area. The injury victim can seek compensation for accident-related expenses when they fail their duty.
Assault due to inadequate security
Tensions can rise, and security should be present to ensure that things don’t get physical in certain environments. Unfortunately, some people will go a step too far in bars, hotels, and other establishments and assault others. Broken security cameras, poor lighting, and broken locks can cause ideal conditions for nefarious individuals to assault victims.
Slip and falls
Besides wet or slippery floors, many dangerous conditions can lead to a slip and fall. Broken and uneven sidewalks also cause people to trip or slip. Other conditions to consider are poor lighting, debris, and loose electrical cords.
Stairways in lousy shape or with broken handrails are dangerous. If the property has stairs, they must be in working order. Area rugs, carpets, and tiles are decorative features that need maintenance. A broken tile or loose carpet can lead to severe injuries when they are not maintained.
Dogs and other animals should be contained on private property or escorted off the premises in public areas. The exception is service animals, medical devices that provide medical services to their handlers. Dog bites fall under strict liability. Call our premises liability lawyers so we can explain how this changes the nature of the claim.
Some premises will have equipment that is accessible to visitors. A broken escalator or elevator that workers have not shut down can cause people to be stuck or trip. At your local gym, faulty exercise equipment can prove fatal. Electrical wiring is very sensitive. All it takes is one spark to cause electrocution.
As a visitor or hotel guest, many areas of the hotel are publicly accessible. Swimming pools, dining halls, stairwells, and hallways. Hotels have staff constantly checking the facility. You can suffer injuries when they fail.
Parking lot accidents
Parking lots are not lawless places. Someone owns this property. Inadequate lighting, negligent security, and other hazards can lead to accidents. The parking lot owner should answer for insufficient maintenance. Determining who owns the space and their responsibility is incredibly challenging in these cases.
A premises liability accident can happen anywhere and for many reasons.
Some locations with often-dangerous conditions include:
- Concert venues
- Swimming pools
- Shopping malls
- Apartment building
- Public park
- Office building
If you suffer an injury on these or other properties, you must discuss your options with our Orange County premises liability lawyers.
Property owner liability
Injury victims can hold city municipalities, property owners, and business owners liable for injuries that happen on their premises.
However, you must prove:
- The owner’s unintentional or intentional actions caused the dangerous condition
- The owner knew of the condition and did not repair it or take any action to prevent it from happening
- The owner should have reasonably known about the condition
- The dangerous situation caused your injury
Property owners in Orange County must inspect their property to look for hazards and dangers. When examining the property, they must place signage or repair dangerous conditions. Suppose there is a spillage. The property owner must clean it up. However, if something is broken and requires a professional, the property owner should block off the area or place an out-of-order sign.
Proving that you have permission to be on the property and your injuries are crucial elements of proving negligence. However, other factors will also be necessary for a successful claim.
Your Orange County premises liability lawyers will need to investigate and establish:
- The primary use of the property
- Predictability of the injury or hazardous condition
- Condition of the property
- Efforts the owner made to address the dangerous condition
- Applicable special landlord rules
Your premises liability attorney in Orange County will investigate your circumstances, review applicable laws, and value your claim. There are many intricacies with these cases, and for you to prove negligence and seek compensation, you need someone who knows what to look for. Bentley & More LLP has experience proving negligence in premises liability claims.
Premises liability injuries
Injuries are unpredictable and will depend on individual circumstances. Current health, the injury’s severity, and the property’s conditions will all contribute to your losses. It is essential to diagnose your injuries and get adequate treatment.
Slips and falls can result in fractures. Depending on individual factors, you can be left with scars and disfigurement, even after they heal. Some will heal with rest and immobility, but others can require surgery. Many older adults fracture their hips when they fall.
Traumatic brain injuries will cause lifetime disability and cognitive impairments. All head injuries are emergencies because they can lead to permanent disability. Loss of consciousness is worrisome because it is a sign something worse is happening.
Spinal cord trauma
Spinal cord injuries are often life-threatening and can cost millions to treat. The first year alone will require rehabilitation, hospitalization, medication, and home health care. You can also require lifelong care, in-home medical equipment, and home modifications.
Soft tissue injuries
These injuries are invisible or appear later. These injuries manifest in sprains, muscle tears, and damage to ligaments. These injuries can cause chronic pain.
Cuts are common in most accidents, and they will often heal alone. However, many open wounds can become infected, leading to serious medical problems. Cuts can also lead to blood loss and more. You can even get a glass or other items stuck in the cut.
What are Wrongful death claims?
Some premises liability cases can result in the unthinkable: the loss of a loved one. Family members are left in shock and ill-equipped to deal with the lifestyle changes and legal complexities of these issues. No payment will bring a person back to life, but there will be many expenses with this loss. Damages are contentious because there are a lot of nuances in calculating what your loved one contributed to the family and what they lost.
Deadlines for filing a claim
The first few days following a premises liability accident are crucial because negligent parties will use this time to hide or destroy evidence. They want to cover up their actions before getting a letter of representation or preservation of evidence. These days are also crucial because you must get medical treatment that shows a correlation between your injuries and the property owner’s negligence. It is also vital for your lawyer to look for evidence and begin the preliminary phases of building a case.
Moving quickly is important because you also have legal deadlines to worry about. There are reporting deadlines for the property owner and their insurance company and a statewide statute of limitations to consider. The sooner you have legal assistance, the better suited you are to meet these deadlines and protect your case. Orange County residents have two years to file a premise liability claim. Public entities and government agencies will have different deadlines, usually shorter.
Within your claim, you are seeking compensation for various losses. Some are economic or non-economic but vary depending on your injuries and case merit. Medical bills, lost income, and lost earning capacity are common compensatory damages.
You can also seek damages for:
- Physical impairment
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of life enjoyment
Orange County premises liability attorney will review your losses and determine which damage applies to your case. We will then gather documentation to calculate these losses and negotiate with the insurance company or other lawyers for fair awards.
Lost earning capacity
Lost earning capacity is a contentious topic and addresses the difference between what you would earn before the injury and what you can currently earn. Lost earning capacity can include payment for overtime, profit-sharing contributions, use of a company vehicle, commission, bonuses, and raises. You can also seek the value of sick, personal, or vacation days and any free or discounted meals you had access to.
To calculate lost earning capacity, hire our lawyers to prove these losses. We can use employment history, performance evaluations, and the possibility of future advancement opportunities. Statements from friends, coworkers, and family can also help prove these losses. Medical reports showing your health status before and after the injury are also essential, as they will show how your injury affects your ability to work.
Evaluating your claim
Insurance companies want to pay minimal amounts to injury victims and will undervalue claims. They will discredit your claim and minimize your injuries. You must have a legal representative to evaluate your claim and maximum compensation accurately. You may have evidence substantiating your losses when going against the insurance company or opposing counsel.
Our Orange County premises liability lawyers will come armed with evidence like:
- X-rays and imaging reports
- Photos of injuries
- Friend, family, and coworker testimony
- Proof of lost work time
- Doctor and therapist notes
Evaluating your claim is essential when seeking damages. The extent of your injuries, functional limitations, home modifications, and medical expenses will be significant considerations in case value. Bentley & More LLP has years of experience evaluating claims and proving to the insurance company case values. Sometimes, we must tap into our network of expert witnesses to provide critical assistance for your case.
Using expert witnesses
A financial expert or economist can review your lost earning capacity and look at salary trends to help accurately evaluate your lost earning potential. Vocational rehabilitation experts will justify treatments and their impact on your functional ability. Medical experts are also vital to your case. Bentley & More LLP has a network of experts we can work with to find evidence that will help your case. Expert witnesses hold weight for the insurance company and in court because they show a professional opinion.
Bentley & More LLP also offers assistance to other attorneys. If you have a case outside your wheelhouse or need more resources, we can help. We can handle complex issues. Attorney referrals are welcome and encouraged. The goal is to get the best outcome for the client, even if it means getting expert witnesses and working with other lawyers.
Call Bentley & More LLP today about your case
Property owners have several defenses to prevent you from seeking compensation, but you should hold them responsible for their failure to provide safe conditions. Orange County property owners should reasonably foresee and resolve safety hazards. Reach out to a Orange County personal injury lawyer. Visitors, tenants, and invited guests must be safe when entering a property, and injuries can occur when a property owner is negligent. After an injury on someone’s property, contact us at Bentley & More LLP at (949) 617-0938.
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Bentley & More LLP – Orange County Office
Phone: (949) 617-0938