Were you or your loved one seriously injured while on someone else’s property? You may be wondering: Do I have the right to bring a personal injury claim? The short answer is “yes”—you may be entitled to compensation through a premises liability case. Here, our Stockton personal injury attorney provides a detailed overview of the key things that you need to understand about holding another property owner (or business) legally responsible for your accident in California.
An Accident On Someone Else’s Property Could Give Rise to a Premises Liability Claim
Here is the key thing you need to know: You have the right to bring a personal injury lawsuit for an accident that happens on someone else’s property. The property owner or property occupier (business) may bear fault. In California, these types of legal claims fall under the broader umbrella of premises liability law. Premises liability is a legal principle that holds property owners accountable for ensuring that the property is safe for visitors.
Whether it is a slip and fall, a dog bite, or any type of injury sustained due to poor maintenance, injured victims have the legal right to seek compensation. To be clear, premises liability claims are not easy—they can be complicated. If you have been hurt on someone else’s property in the San Joaquin Valley, it is imperative that you have an attorney who can guide you through California’s premises liability laws.
What to Do After an Accident on Someone Else’s Property in Stockton, California
Experiencing an accident on someone else’s property in Stockton can be traumatic, confusing, and even overwhelming. Whether you slipped on a wet floor at a Stockton mall or tripped on a broken stair at a local apartment complex, it is crucial that you know the necessary steps to take to protect your health, safety, and ability to secure full compensation. Here is what you should know:
- Seek Immediate Medical Attention: All significant injuries should be evaluated by a licensed physician. In some cases, injuries may not manifest symptoms immediately after the accident. The sooner you seek medical care, the better your chances for a full recovery. Notably, a medical professional will provide the necessary treatment and create a medical record of your injuries. Without these records, you cannot bring a successful claim.
- Document the Accident (Especially the Cause): Premises liability claims are fault-based claims in California. A property owner or business is not automatically liable for an accident on its premises. After ensuring your safety, if possible, take photos or videos of the accident scene. Focus on the cause of the accident, be it a wet floor without a warning sign, a faulty railing, or any other hazardous condition. Get the contact information of any witnesses.
- Notify the Property Owner (or Business): Inform the property owner, manager, or relevant authority about the accident. In cases involving businesses like restaurants or stores, there might be an official accident report to fill out. Ensure the facts are accurately represented in this report. Notifying the property owner serves a dual purpose: It ensures they are aware of hazards on their property and establishes a record of the incident.
- Consult With Stockton Personal Injury Lawyer: You cannot rely on a property owner, a business, or any property insurance company to look out for your best interests. Speak to a top attorney as soon as possible after a serious accident. A Stockton, CA personal injury lawyer will protect your rights and help you get justice and the maximum compensation.
Understanding Liability: The Elements of a Successful Premises Liability Claim
Remember, premises liability cases are based on fault. Not every accident on someone else’s property automatically qualifies the victim for financial compensation. To succeed in a premises liability lawsuit, certain legal elements must be proven by the injured party. As noted within the Judicial Council of California Civil Jury Instructions (2023 edition), injured victims should be prepared to prove the following key things:
- Ownership or Control: The defendant must own, lease, occupy, or control the property where the accident occurred. Simply put, you need to identify the responsible party who had the duty to maintain the safety of that specific property.
- Negligence: The property owner or occupier must have been negligent in maintaining the property. This could manifest in various ways, such as failing to repair a broken stairway, not cleaning up spills in a timely manner, or neglecting to install adequate lighting.
- Causation: There must be a direct link between the defendant’s negligence and the injury. If, for instance, someone trips because of their own shoelaces and not a property hazard, the property owner cannot be held liable.
- Actual Harm: The plaintiff must have suffered actual harm or injury due to the accident. This could range from physical injuries to emotional distress or financial losses related to medical expenses.
Recovering Compensation for an Injury On Someone Else’s Property in Stockton, CA
In California, injured victims have the right to seek compensation for economic damages and non-economic losses. Of course, if you are hurt on someone else’s premises, the property owner, the business, or their insurance company may try to resolve your claim for far less than you deserve—even if it is clear that they are legally liable for the accident.
Our Stockton, CA personal injury attorneys fight aggressively to help victims maximize their settlement or verdict. You may be eligible to receive compensation for the following types of damages:
- Emergency room treatment;
- Medical bills and other health care costs;
- Physical rehabilitation;
- Lost income and loss of earning potential;
- Pain and suffering & mental anguish;
- Disability or disfigurement; and
- Wrongful death damages.
Get Help From Our Stockton, CA Personal Injury Lawyer Today
At Redkey Gordon Law Corp, our Stockon personal injury lawyers have recovered millions of dollars in financial compensation for injured victims and their families. You do not have to take on the personal injury claims process all by yourself.
Call us now or contact us online for a no cost, no commitment case review. From our Stockton office, we fight for the rights of injured victims in San Joaquin County and all across the surrounding region.