Sacramento Slip & Fall Injury Attorney
Property owners throughout the Sacramento, California area have a responsibility to ensure their premises are safe to lawful visitors, customers, and guests. Premises liability law is the branch of civil law covering disputes between property owners and the people who sustain injuries on their properties. If a property owner fails to properly maintain their premises and the property owner’s negligence results in an injury, the property owner should expect to absorb liability for the injured party’s damages.
At the Ward Firm, we believe in the aggressive pursuit of justice on behalf of our clients. We understand premises liability law and how it applies to cases throughout the Sacramento and Oakland areas. If you recently sustained an injury on another person’s property and believe negligence is to blame for your losses, a slip and fall personal injury lawyer can be a great ally as you seek compensation for your injuries and economic damages.
Why Choose the Attorneys at the Ward Firm?
Premises liability cases may seem relatively straightforward, but, in reality, they can become complicated legal battles that require experienced legal representation. The attorneys and legal team at the Ward Firm have handled all types of premises liability cases for Sacramento and Oakland, California area clients. Attorney Justin L. Ward has extensive experience working in both civil and criminal law with a practice that offers criminal defense representation and legal counsel for personal injury clients. This breadth of experience lends itself to complex premises liability claims. Our firm has the resources and experience to handle the most difficult slip and fall injury cases.
What Are Slip and Fall Injuries?
“Slip and fall” may sound innocuous, but they can be dangerous. This type of case revolves around injuries that occur when an individual slips, falls, and suffers an injury. Many people experience minor slip and fall injuries all the time. They may trip on a curb, slip getting out of the car, or experience other mishaps that lead to scrapes and other minor injuries. These incidents rarely require legal representation. However, when a person slips and falls and suffers a more serious injury, such as a traumatic brain injury, broken bone, or internal organ injury, and another party is responsible for the place in which the injury took place, the injured person has grounds for a premises liability lawsuit against the party responsible for the area.
Premises liability lawsuits for slip and fall injuries can result from a wide variety of circumstances. Consider the following examples if you think a recent slip and fall injury could fall under premises liability law:
- An apartment building landlord fails to repair a broken staircase bannister despite numerous complaints. The landlord also fails to place any warning signs about the broken bannister. A visitor to the apartment building attempts to use the bannister to descend the stairs and it breaks completely, resulting in a serious fall in which the visitor sustains multiple broken bones. In this situation, the landlord is clearly at fault due to knowing about the broken bannister and failing to act in time to prevent injury.
- A retail store employee mops a tile floor but neglects to place a wet floor sign in the area. A customer passing through the area slips and hits her head on the floor, resulting in a concussion. In this situation, the retail store would likely absorb liability for the employee’s mistake.
- A hotel guest leaves his room to go to the parking garage. However, hotel management has neglected to fix a known issue with the lights in the parking garage around the elevator. The guest steps out of the elevator, cannot see to find his footing, and falls, breaking an expensive personal item and suffering a broken wrist. In this situation, the hotel would likely face liability for the guest’s injury and economic loss.
These three examples are just a few ways in which premises liability laws can come into play in personal injury cases. While these are examples of very clear-cut liability of negligent property owners, real-world slip and fall cases can be much more complicated. It’s essential to know the basics of property owners’ responsibilities when it comes to slip and fall injury cases.
Duty of Care to Lawful Visitors for Property Owners
The first important distinction to make in any premises liability lawsuit is the plaintiff and whether they had a legal right to be present on the property in question. When it comes to private property, property owners only have a duty of care to lawful visitors including those with the owner’s express or implied permission to enter the premises, for either personal reasons or to conduct business.
The law doesn’t extend duty of care protections to trespassers. If a person trespasses on private property and suffers an injury due to some hazard on the property, the trespasser would not have any grounds for a premises liability claim against the owner since the trespasser wasn’t given permission to be on the property. The only possible exception to this rule would be a trespassing child. Since children do not possess the awareness or judgment capabilities of adults, property owners should take care to minimize risk to children if any live near their properties.
The issue of “attractive nuisances” may come into play in premises liability cases involving trespassing children. An attractive nuisance is anything that a passing child might find too irresistible to leave alone, such as a climbable structure, a playground, swimming pool, or even a tree that looks perfect for climbing. If a property owner has any reason to believe a child who lives in the area may see one of these attractive nuisances and investigate it, the property owner should mark the area as hazardous, fence it off, or otherwise take reasonable steps to prevent injuries to any children who happen to enter the premises without permission or supervision.
Proving Negligence in a Premises Liability Lawsuit
If you sustained injuries due to a property owner’s failure to handle their property with reasonable care, you may have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit against the property owner. As the plaintiff, you have the burden of proving the premises owner knew or should have reasonably known about the hazard that caused your injury, failed to adequately address it in a timely and/or effective manner, and that the hazard resulted in your losses. You and your attorney must also provide evidence that shows the extent of your losses, which might include medical expenses, lost income from missed time at work, pain and suffering, and property damage if the incident damaged or destroyed any of your personal property.
A slip and fall injury attorney in Sacramento, California or the Oakland area can be your best asset when faced with a premises liability lawsuit. If you need to pursue compensation for injuries resulting from a property owner’s failure to maintain their property with reasonable care, the Ward Firm can help. Contact us today for a consultation about your slip and fall injury. We will be happy to let you know how we can help.