Who you can sue in a slip and fall claim in Los Angeles depends on who was responsible for ensuring visitors to the property were safe, and the property was without unreasonable hazards.
Under California Civil Code (CIV) §1714, California property owners owe guests and customers a duty of care. This means they must ensure their safety from foreseeable and known hazards. If there is a fall hazard, they must take action to remedy the situation as soon as possible.
When a person suffers injuries in a slip and fall in Los Angeles, they can often sue the property owner or occupier of the property for their injuries and related expenses. This is possible because of the premises liability statute that creates a duty of care to visitors.
In Most Cases, the Property Owner is Liable
The property owner is the most likely liable party in a slip and fall case. When a person falls in a private home, store, restaurant, business, or another property, the property owner is most likely the person tasked with the maintenance and “reasonable care” of that property.
Your attorney will help you assign liability, including identifying the property owner and determining if they are the proper party who could become the defendant of a premises liability lawsuit.
It is important to note that it may sometimes even be possible for a tenant to file suit against a property owner for an injury on a property where they live. This is most likely if the property owner is also the landlord and maintains the property. If a tenant reported the hazard and the landlord did not act to repair it, this is negligence.
Even if the landlord claims they did not know about the hazard, they have a responsibility to regularly evaluate the property and identify foreseeable issues within a reasonable timeframe. It may still be possible to prove negligence and liability in these cases.
Other Parties May Be Responsible for Your Injuries
Who you can sue in a slip and fall claim in Los Angeles may extend further than the property owner based on the facts of some cases. When a party leases a property, the maintenance of that property sometimes becomes the responsibility of that lessee. When this occurs, the two parties may share liability, or the property occupier—the lessee—becomes the sole liable party. If the hazard is the responsibility of the lessee, and they made no effort to remedy it, the landlord is not legally accountable.
A property occupier might be responsible for a slip and fall or trip and fall case, no matter if they leased the property for business or residential purposes. It may be necessary to evaluate their lease if neither party will accept responsibility.
For example, imagine you slipped and fell in a Los Angeles restaurant. The owner of the restaurant leased the building from the property owner, and under the lease, the restaurant was responsible for upkeep and maintenance. This means your slip and fall claim would be against the restaurant, and it is the restaurant’s business liability insurance policy that would pay your settlement if one is reached.
Time Limits on Filing a Civil Lawsuit in California
In addition to the premises liability statute that outlines the property owner or occupier’s duty of care, there is another statute that plays a role in some slip and fall cases. Under California Code of Civil Procedure (CCP) §335.1, you may only have 24 months to take the first step in filing a civil suit based on your case.
In most cases, slip and fall claims settle out of court, but premises liability lawsuits are sometimes necessary to hold the liable party accountable. If this is the best way to prevent our clients from suffering further damages because of another party’s actions, we will represent them in court and fight for a just financial award.
Speak to a Member of Our Los Angeles Slip and Fall Team
You can discuss your case with a member of the Pintas & Mullins Law Firm team in Los Angeles today. We will evaluate your legal standing during our conversation and offer advice about the next steps. Our clients pay us nothing out of their pockets and pay nothing upfront. Instead, our firm’s attorneys receive their fees from the settlement or payout they recover for the client.
Our lawyers also do not shy away from tough cases. If we believe you qualify and you want to work with us, we will take your case to civil court if necessary, seeking to secure compensation based on the expenses you incurred.
Call (800) 223-5115 today to get started with your complimentary consultation.