3 Things your Premises Accident Attorney Needs to Know
Getting compensated for injures in a slip, trip, or fall case requires the aid of an expert attorney
If you have suffered a slip, trip, or fall accident resulting in an injury, the owner of the property could be liable for your damages under certain conditions. Before taking your case, your premises accident attorney will want to know these 3 things:
Why Were You on the Property?
In general, all landowners owe a duty of reasonable care to anyone who enters their property for any reason, including trespassers. However, certain important exemptions to premises liability are provided to owners of property used for recreational purposes under California Civil Code Section 846. Government entities are generally protected from injuries caused by the condition of unpaved access roads and trails, as well as from any injuries caused by “hazardous” activities like mountain biking and horseback riding. Private property owners are also protected in this way, unless the injured party was expressly invited onto the land in order to participate in recreational activities.
One example of CC846 in action was the case of a teen who tripped and fell on some rebar while playing hide and seek along a neighbor’s property line. The teen lost an eye, but the 4th District Court of Appeal found that because the teen was engaged in a recreational activity without the neighbor’s invitation or knowledge, there was no basis for a case against the property owner.
Was There an Open and Obvious Danger?
If there was an open and obvious danger on the premises, the property owner cannot be held liable for any injuries caused by this condition. Individuals have a responsibility to be aware of their surroundings and to avoid obvious hazards.
Some examples from California case law of obvious and open dangers that resulted in the dismissal of premises liability claims include a man falling down a defect-free flight of stairs in broad daylight, a man who was injured when a ditch collapsed as he stepped over it, and a man who was trapped between a train and a building. In all of these cases, the courts found that the injured individuals should have been aware that the possibility of injury existed and taken steps to avoid said injury.
What Damages Can You Claim?
Assuming you have a case against the property owner, the next thing your attorney will want to know is what kinds of damages you can claim. Obviously you will be able to claim damages for the medical bills related to the injuries, but in the case of a serious injury you may also want to consider claiming damages for future medical costs, loss of income, and pain and suffering.
Once your attorney has gotten all the details from you, he will then begin to investigate various aspects of the case in order to secure the evidence you will need to defeat all the property owner’s possible defenses and win your case in court.