Premises Liability Accident Lawyer in San Diego
More than 3.2 million people in the San Diego metropolitan statistical area are served by hundreds of thousands of housing units, office buildings, retail stores, government buildings, and schools.
An owner or manager controls each of these properties, and each of these owners and managers shares a common responsibility: to take reasonable actions to protect visitors from injury due to hazardous property features.
The most basic of these actions are regularly inspecting the property in search of potential dangers. Upon discovering dangerous elements, the property owner or manager is responsible for mitigating the hazard or providing adequate warning to guests so they know to avoid the hazard.
There are many ways in which a hazardous property feature can result in someone becoming injured. Damaged flooring materials result in a slip and fall accident; a dog bite results from an owner failing to keep their animal properly; poorly-maintained elevator malfunctions.
If a property owner or manager’s failure to protect you from property dangers results in an injury, you can seek compensation for the financial and psychological impacts of your injury through a premises liability claim.
An experienced San Diego premises liability lawyer from Rawlins Law can help you understand this process and the vital role an attorney plays in your ability to obtain the amount of compensation you need.
San Diego Premises Liability Guide
- What Is Premises Liability?
- Seeking Compensation for a Premises Liability Matter
- If You’ve Been Injured Due to Property Owner Negligence, Contact Rawlins Law
Why Trust Rawlins Law With Your Premises Liability Claim?
The legal team at Rawlins Law has recovered millions of dollars on behalf of our clients. Our legal team prides itself on the honest, ethical, and compassionate representation we provide for our clients’ claims. We aggressively work to help our clients obtain the maximum compensation available for their claims.
What Is Premises Liability?
Premises liability refers to a type of personal injury case where a property owner’s negligence in the maintenance and care of their property results in injury to an individual. A number of accidents occur when a property owner or manager fails to mitigate hazards that they know—or should know—exist on their property. Here is a look at some of the most common accidents involving premises liability.
Slip and Fall Accidents
A slip and fall accident is the most common premises liability that results in a personal injury claim. This accident occurs when a guest to a property—such as a customer in a store or a visitor to a social gathering—slips or trips due to a property hazard and falls.
According to the National Floor Safety Institute, around one million people are treated in emergency rooms yearly due to slip and fall accidents. This type of accident is particularly dangerous for the elderly, who are more prone to falling due to declines in vision, physical strength, or balance.
Bone fractures are among the most common serious injuries incurred in a slip and fall accident, including hip fractures that are prevalent in older individuals who have suffered a fall. In this type of accident, other injuries include spinal cord injuries, traumatic brain injuries, damage to the spinal vertebrae and discs, and injuries to the body’s soft tissues, such as muscles and tendons.
Dog Bite Injuries
San Diego County is extremely dog-friendly, with the San Diego Humane Society estimating more than half a million dogs here. While dogs provide many positive impacts on the lives of their owners, being injured as a result of a biting dog can cause a person to incur serious medical expenses and impact their quality of life.
While some states only hold a dog’s owner accountable for the harm caused to others if they have reason to know that their dog is aggressive (commonly referred to as the “one bite rule” as the dog is essentially permitted to bite one person before their owner is liable for their aggression), California is a strict liability state when it comes to dog bites. For a person in California bitten by someone else’s dog, the dog’s owner is liable for compensating the injury, even if the dog had never exhibited aggressive behavior before.
Swimming Pool Accidents
San Diego is also swimmer-friendly, with 14 public pools available for use, in addition to countless private pools, pools located in schools, and thousands upon thousands of residential pools. According to Aqua Magazine, 17 percent of the homes in San Diego have pools, one of the highest percentages of residential pools in large cities across the U.S.
Swimming pool owners and managers have many responsibilities to keep visitors safe. These responsibilities include the proper provision of fencing around the pool to keep young children from wandering onto the property and into the pool, the provision of a lifeguard or ample warnings of no lifeguard on the premises, and regular maintenance of motorized parts on the pool, including the heating, lighting, and filtration systems.
Elevator or Escalator Accidents
Many of the buildings in San Diego, including retail stores and office buildings, feature elevators or escalators. Owners of these apparatuses must have them regularly maintained to ensure that they do not harm visitors to the building due to a malfunction. While many people don’t think about injuries resulting from a poorly maintained or malfunctioning elevator or escalator, these two apparatuses are responsible for around 17,000 injuries and 30 deaths each year in the U.S.
Another hazardous property feature that owners or managers must take action to protect their guests from is criminal activity known to occur in a specific or common area.
Steps they can take to ensure the safety of guests from criminal activity include:
- The installation of locks on windows and doors in apartment buildings and hotels.
- The provision of surveillance cameras in businesses.
- Security guards at the entrances or in the parking lots of businesses or buildings hosting large crowds, such as stadiums holding sporting events.
- Door alarms on rental housing.
Seeking Compensation for a Premises Liability Matter
Individuals injured due to a property owner or manager’s failure to properly maintain and secure their property can seek compensation for the expenses and impacts of the injury through the personal injury claims process. Here is a look at some of the features of this process.
Hiring an Attorney
The personal injury claims process is labor-intensive at best and downright overwhelming at worst, particularly for those who do not have education or experience in the law as they go up against a well-represented insurance provider and at-fault party. An experienced premises liability lawyer from Rawlins Law brings the needed expertise and understanding of the legal process to your claim. They also have a legal team available to assist with the work involved in gathering evidence and documentation needed to prove the claim.
Valuing the Claim
One of the services your premises liability lawyer will provide is establishing a value to your claim. Contrary to popular belief, the claim’s value is not solely based on the out-of-pocket expenses you incurred due to the accident, such as medical expenses and wage loss. It also includes compensation for the psychological impacts of your injury, such as pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of consortium, and loss of the enjoyment of life.
Communicating With the Insurance Provider
Insurance companies are focused on making money. Part of making money is avoiding paying it out on third-party claims filed by people injured by the company’s insured.
To avoid payouts, insurance companies will often use unfair tactics to devalue a claim, such as convincing the claimant to accept a ridiculously low offer, admit liability, or even release their medical history to the insurance claims adjuster “so they can evaluate the claim.” (They’re looking for pre-existing injuries that will reduce the claim’s value.)
To protect your claim’s value, a premises liability lawyer from Rawlins Law will manage communication with the insurance provider, including settlement negotiations, to get them to increase the value of an offered settlement so that it fairly compensates you.
Accepting a Settlement
When you accept a settlement, you sign a release that prohibits you from taking further action to reclaim additional compensation in the future. The amount of the settlement you accept is all the compensation that will be provided for the claim. It is, therefore, crucial that your lawyer negotiates for the maximum amount available and provides you with the information you need to understand the value of your claim and whether an offer is fair.
Filing a Lawsuit
In California, personal injury claimants usually have two years from the date of the injury to file a lawsuit in court. Failing to file before this deadline passes generally spells doom for resolving the claim, as it will result in losing your ability to have your claim heard in court. While the vast majority of premises liability claims are resolved through settlement, litigation also serves as a consequence for insurers who do not want to pay claims. Without the ability to litigate, the insurer will not offer to settle.
Your attorney will protect your right to sue by filing your lawsuit before the statute of limitations expires on your claim.
To receive compensation for your injury, you and your attorney must be able to prove that someone else’s negligence caused your accident.
In California premises liability claims, you must have evidence and documentation to show:
- The at-fault party owned or controlled the property by title, lease, or other contracts.
- The at-fault party was negligent in their maintenance and care of the property.
- You were injured.
- The at-fault party’s negligence directly contributed to the accident that caused your injury.
Some evidence used in premises liability claims include an official report of an accident, eyewitness testimony, expert testimony from medical professionals, video footage, and photos from the scene.
Litigation is expensive and time-consuming. Its outcome is uncertain. These are some of the main reasons why Insurance companies typically prefer to resolve a claim by settlement and also why many personal injury lawyers prefer settlements. At Rawlins Law, we are more concerned with helping our clients receive the compensation they need than how much time a trial takes. We won’t hesitate to take your case to court if it means more money for your claim.
Receiving Your Compensation
After resolving your claim, your attorney will receive the compensation awarded through the settlement agreement or a court decision. They will help you resolve any medical liens placed on the award by your accident-related creditors, accept payment for their services, and turn the remainder of the funds over to you.
If You’ve Been Injured Due to Property Owner Negligence, Contact Rawlins Law
The experienced legal team at Rawlins Law offers compassionate and quality legal services for the injured throughout California. We are willing to travel to meet with our clients where they are so they don’t have to drive. We believe in being open, honest, and accessible to our clients and keeping them updated on the progress of their claims.
Let us help you understand how to seek compensation for your injury and the help we can provide throughout the process. For a free case evaluation with an experienced personal injury lawyer from Rawlins Law, contact us online or by calling (858) 529-5872.