When you suffer an injury on public property in California, the city could be liable. Every property owner, including the government, has a responsibility to keep their premises reasonably free of hazards and dangerous conditions. When a property owner fails in this duty, they can be liable for your injury and owe you compensation.
California Premises Liability Law
The term “premises liability” refers to the legal responsibility of property owners when someone suffers an injury on their property. This can include both injuries inside a building and in outside areas.
California’s law on premises liability states that if a property owner fails to exercise ordinary care in the upkeep of their property, the property owner may be responsible for injuries and owe compensation to the injured person. If you slip and fall or suffer another sort of premises liability injury on public property, such as state- or city-owned land, this law still applies.
In order for the property owner to be responsible, however, they typically have to have been aware of the hazard and failed to correct or should have been aware of the hazard by performing ordinary maintenance. The premises liability law does not mean that the property owner is liable for any injury that may occur, but only for ones that are a result of the property owner’s negligence.
Examples of Injury on Public Property
“Public” property refers to any property owned by the government instead of a private individual. State, city, and municipal governments are all public property owners. Examples of public property include outdoor areas like parks, playgrounds, streets, and sidewalks, and indoor areas like libraries, schools, courthouses, and other government buildings.
Example of possible injuries on public property include:
- Injuries or drowning in public pools
- Injuries or electrocution from power lines
- Injuries on public transportation or in accidents caused by government employees
- Injuries caused by defective equipment on playgrounds
- Injuries caused by improperly maintained equipment or trails in public parks
- Slipping and falling on defective sidewalks, such as cracks or uneven pavement
- Car accidents caused by a lack of proper road maintenance
- Slipping and falling caused by hazards in public buildings, such as torn carpeting or wet floors
- Injuries or falls caused by broken and missing handrails or improperly constructed staircases
Holding a California City Liable for Your Injury
The city can be liable when you suffer an injury on public property in California. If your injury occurred on a city-owned property because of the city’s negligence, you may be able to make an insurance claim or pursue a lawsuit to recover compensation for your suffering. Like any premises liability case, however, there are four main requirements you must fill in order to hold the city liable:
- Show that the city had a duty of care in that location.
- Show that the city breached that duty, which created a hazardous condition.
- Show that the city’s breach of duty caused your injuries.
- Show that you have damages because of those injuries.
If you meet those four requirements, it is likely that you can recover compensation from the city for your injury on public property. However, the city does not have a duty of care in every situation. For example, trespassers are not owed a duty of care. If you were trespassing, intoxicated, or acting without reasonable care yourself, it is possible that you will not be able to hold the city liable for your injury.
It is the plaintiff’s responsibility to provide proof that the city should be liable for an injury. There are a few steps you can take to protect your rights and help build a solid case for your claim, such as seeking medical attention immediately after your injury and documenting the hazards by taking photos and witness statements.
Get Help from the Team at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm
Proving the city’s responsibility for your suffering in your California premises liability case may be a challenging task. Making a claim against a government entity is always more complex and difficult than doing so against a private entity or individual, but you do not have to go through this process alone. According to California Government Code (GOV) §911.2 only allows you six months after the injury to file a claim against a government entity.
The team at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm can manage your case for you so you can concentrate on healing and getting the rest you need to recover after your injury. We can file your claim within the time limit, gather proof of the city’s liability, and manage all communication with the government for you. We will pursue fair compensation on your behalf.
Call the team at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm for a free consultation on your public premises liability case. You can reach us any time at (800) 223-5115 and learn more about how we may be able to help you with your case.