Usually, you don’t expect to suffer an injury when shopping, eating at a restaurant, or visiting other establishments. However, when property owners fail to uphold their legal duty to ensure the safety of their guests and visitors, severe accidents and injuries can occur. If you have suffered injuries at the hands of a negligent business, you may be wondering whether you can file a premises liability claim to seek monetary compensation for your damages as you have been burdened with damages you cannot afford. Please continue reading and contact a determined Santa Clara County Slip and Fall Accident Attorney who can help you understand your legal options and fight for the just compensation you may be entitled to for your losses.
Can I file a premises liability claim against a business if I was hurt on their property in California?
Generally speaking, whether you have the right to file a premises liability claim against a property owner if you were injured on their property hinges on the guest category you fall under. Essentially, property owners owe certain parties a legal duty of care. This means they must maintain a safe environment, including repairing dangerous property conditions, warning visitors of unsafe property conditions, and regularly inspecting their premises to ensure the safety of all who enter. It is imperative to note that business owners invite visitors onto their premises for financial gain, which means they have a greater responsibility to ensure safety than homeowners.
The law classifies individuals on a property in three different ways. The type of guest you are deemed as determines the duty of care a property owner owes you when entering their premises. That said, guests are often broken down into the following categories:
- An invitee. This is any party that has received an expressed or implied invitation to come on the property from the owner. Someone that enters a store is considered an invitee, as they have an implied invitation to enter the property to conduct business transactions.
- A licensee. This is any party that has been granted permission to enter a property. However, they are there for their own benefit, meaning there is no financial gain. Instead, they come onto a property for social reasons. Someone that attends a friends house warming party would be considered a licensee.
- A trespasser. This is any party that enters a property without consent from the property owner. Someone that is loitering in a store without permission or an individual that breaks into a home is considered a trespasser.
Property owners, particularly in this case, business owners, owe the highest duty of care toward invitees in premises liability cases. This is primarily because of the owner’s potential to profit from an invitee entering the premises. Property owners owe licensees the second-highest duty of care as they have permission to be on a property. However, property owners do not owe a duty of care to trespassers. If an individual was not given consent to enter a property, they cannot pursue a premises liability claim. Nevertheless, if they have proof that the property owner intentionally caused them harm, they may be able to hold a business liable for their damages.
For more information on how our skilled attorneys can help you navigate a premises liability claim, contact the Law Office of Brian J. O’Grady today. Our firm is committed to helping our clients seek reasonable compensation for their damages.