Business owners in California and elsewhere have a duty to maintain a reasonably safe property for lawful entrants. In some cases, even trespassers have a right to a safe property. Business owners are responsible even when they do not own the premises. If they do not implement adequate safety policies and procedures, they may find themselves facing a premises liability lawsuit from someone who is injured on their property.
Slips, trips and falls account for many premises liability claims. They are often the result of wet floors, torn carpeting, loose railings and cracked pavement. Poor lighting and the presence of debris can be additional factors in such incidents. Victims have a case if they can show that the property owner had a sufficient amount of time to fix the issue but failed to do so. Victims must also prove that they themselves were not careless.
Other premises liability claims can involve merchandise falling from a shelf and hitting someone. Assault from an employee or visitor can also form the basis for such a claim. Employers must train their workers to spot dangerous conditions and immediately fix them. If they cannot be fixed immediately, warning signs should be posted. For some businesses, hiring security guards may be necessary. Owners may need general liability insurance too.
Victims may want to see an attorney who works in premises liability law. After a case evaluation, a lawyer may be able to determine how strong the case is and the amount for which victims might be eligible. Damages may include lost wages, medical expenses and pain and suffering. Victims may have their lawyers strive for a fair settlement out of court, and if negotiations fall through, they may consider taking the case to court.