The Law Offices Of Jonathan C. Capp Esq.

What Are The Top Misconceptions About Premises Liability Claims?


The biggest misconception about premises liability claims is that people believe just because they were injured, normally a slip and fall on somebody else’s premises, that they have a slam-dunk case. They think that just because they slipped and fell on a wet surface in somebody else’s premises, they they’re guaranteed to win. That’s completely incorrect. Typically, what you have to show is that the owner of the premises was aware that there was a dangerous condition, such as the wet surface, and they didn’t have time to clean it up or he didn’t have a reasonable system for cleaning it up.

Let’s say for example, you slipped and fell in an airport. You would have to show that the person who owned or run the airport had a reasonable chance to clean up the liquid that was spilled, because it could have just been slipped by somebody 30 seconds before. That’s a big misconception in premises liability, that people really believe that just because they’ve been injured on somebody else’s premises, then they automatically win. That’s absolutely not the case.

What Are The Responsibilities Of A Property Owner In A Premises Liability Scenario?

The responsibilities of a property owner in a premises liability scenario depend on the type of property owner. The big distinction is whether or not the property owner is in business, i.e. if you’re a commercial visitor. If they’re running a business, then their duties are higher than for a private residence. Let’s draw a distinction between you going to somebody’s house or a party. If you’re not a paying guest, then the property owner just has to make sure that you’re warned about very obvious risks that he knows about. For example, if the deck outside his house is very rotten, and he knows it’s very rotten and easy to fall through it, then it would have to be something very obvious that he would have to take care of. However, if it’s a commercial premises, that is if you’re coming as a customer, then it’s different. The duties on the property owner are higher. He has to take reasonable care to make sure that the property, the premises is safe.

If it’s a super market and people often spill stuff around where they pour juices, then the supermarket would have to have a system whereby there are people checking to make sure, every 20 minutes or so, that messes are cleaned up. If somebody points out that there’s a wet floor, they have to make sure it’s cleaned up straightaway. However, if you went into somebody’s house and they had a kitchen and you are just a guest, then the owner of the house doesn’t have to check to make sure his kitchen’s cleaned. He doesn’t have the same duty. He would just have to make sure that if he knew that there was a wet surface, he would have to make sure that was cleaned up. It really turns on whether or not you’re a paying guest/customer, or you’re a non-paying guest and just a social visitor. That’s the big distinction.

What Steps Should I Take If I’m Looking To File A Premises Liability Claim?

One important step I advise people to do when injured on a premises, is to photograph the scene of the accident. If you have your mobile phone, take photographs, gather any evidence, and get the names and addresses of anybody you think is a witness. You also want to get medical treatment, but as far as the lawsuit is concerned, try and document everything. Photographs are great. Then seek the advice of an experienced personal injury lawyer who can take you through the issues relating to filing a lawsuit in a premises liability case. Make sure you get as much evidence at the time of the accident as you can, for the reasons I’ve given above, because it’s really not as easy as you think to win a premises liability case.

As I’ve said, you have normally have to show that the owner of the premises knew there was a problem, such as a wet floor, and failed to clean it up or didn’t have a proper system to make sure that people were checking for a wet floor.

Is There A Statute Of Limitations On A Premises Liability Claim In California?

There is a 2 year statute of limitations on premises liability claims in California from the date of the accident.

How Long Do Premises Liability Claims Generally Take To Get Resolved?

The length of time it takes for a premises liability claims to be resolved depends on the case. You don’t want to settle too quickly, because then you get less money. On average, cases can take 6 to 8 months. You can’t expect to get quick easy money. If you get a quick settlement, you’ll get less. Typically, you want to fight a little bit longer, and take the case so it’s getting close to trial. At this point, you typically get the best settlement. It could take 2 years, or they’ll come back and make a reasonable offer in a month. It all depends, but that would be the ballpark figure.

Why Should I Retain An Attorney To Represent Me In a Premises Liability Claim?

Premises liability cases aren’t clear-cut. Insurance companies heavily contest most claims. Sometimes it’s very difficult to prove the owner of the premises has been negligent, contrary to what people think. If you have a decent case, or you have a case you really want to pursue, you really can’t do this on your own. You need an attorney.

For more information on Misconceptions About Premises Liability, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (760) 205-1676 today.

Jonathan C. Capp, Esq.

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