Los Angeles residents who are seriously injured while on someone else’s property may face high medical bills and a host of other mental, physical or emotional problems related to the injury. In some situations, the property owner could be held legally liable for the accident, but it is important to understand the duty of care under California law and what it involves.
California Civil Code 1714 addresses the responsibilities of property owners when it comes to maintaining a safe property. Property owners have a duty to provide “ordinary care” to visitors to their property. If ordinary care is not taken to keep the property safe, the property owner could face legal consequences.
This duty applies to every property owner. If an injury results due to a property owner’s breach of this duty, they could be found negligent. To prove negligence, a premises liability lawsuit must be filed.
Proving premises liability
The first step in establishing negligence is to show ownership or possession of the property by the negligent party. Possession means that someone besides the property owner may be legally responsible. If a person working on the property or even simply watching the property for the owner fails to take ordinary care of the property, they can be found negligent.
Next, it must be shown that the owner failed to take ordinary care of the property, and that the lack of ordinary care was a substantial factor in causing the injury. There are a variety of ways to show lack of ordinary care, including photos of the property or testimony of the injured party or witnesses.
Finally, proof of the injury must be shown. This can be done through testimony, photos of the injury or medical records. If negligence is proven, the property owner will have to pay for damages. Many people assume the damage award includes only covers medical bills, but it could also include an amount for lost wages, mental distress or pain and suffering.
After a serious injury, it is important to have accurate information about available options. A premises liability lawsuit may be one of these options.