Californians who enter the premises of another rarely give much thought to their own personal safety. This is especially true when they are visiting with friends or shopping. This is because the law provides protections for those who are invited onto the premises of another. Those property owners who fail to ensure that their premises are safe for others may be held liable for any injuries that the hazardous conditions on their property may cause.
Before an individual can succeed on a premises liability lawsuit, though, he or she must prove certain legal elements. First, an individual must establish his or her legal status as a visitor. This is important because the identified legal status dictates the applicable legal standard. Invitees, such as a store customer, are owed the highest standard of care. This standard requires a property owner to exercise reasonable care to identify and remedy hazardous conditions.
Several factors will be considered to determine whether a property owner has abided by the applicable standard of care. For example, a court may look at the purpose of the property, the foreseeability that an accident or injury would occur, and the efforts the owner took to repair a dangerous property condition. In the context of a slip-and-fall accident in a grocery store, it may be important to consider whether there was a sign warning people of a wet floor, as well as how long the spill was present prior to the accident occurring. After all, property owners should take reasonable precautions to identify hazards in a timely fashion.
Premises liability lawsuits can be challenging to win, which is why it is often advisable to seek help from a skilled legal professional. These zealous advocates can help uncover evidence, question witnesses and make legal arguments that can increase the likelihood of reaching a favorable resolution.