In a premises liability case, the injured person claims that there was a dangerous condition on someone else’s property that caused him to become injured.
These cases come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but the bottom line is that the plaintiff must prove that the property owner knew (or should have known) about a dangerous condition on his property and failed to make it safe or, if it could not reasonably be made safe, failed to warn the plaintiff about the condition before allowing him to come on to the property.
We have handled many premises liability cases over the years. Some examples include:
We sued the owners and managers of an apartment complex on behalf of a roofer who suffered a major brain injury when he fell through a roof opening while surveying the roof in order to prepare a bid for a roof repair job. The roof openings were basically skylights, but they had no covers and no guardrails, in violation of Cal-OSHA regulations. We settled the case for $9,400,000.
We represented a man who suffered 2nd and 3rd degree burns over 60% of his body when the stove in his apartment exploded. We showed that the apartment building owner installed old, defective stoves in all of the apartments and then failed to properly maintain them. The stoves frequently would not light and then would ignite without warning. We settled the case for $7,000,000.
We represented a man who suffered electrical burn injuries while changing a sign on a billboard. A metal pole that our client was holding came into contact with high-voltage power lines, causing him to become electrocuted. The defendants, who built the billboard structure several years earlier, argued that our client was negligent for allowing the pole to strike the power lines. However, we showed that the defendants had placed the billboard too close to the power lines, in violation of applicable regulations, making this type of accident inevitable. We settled that case for $2,395,000.
We represented the families of several apartment building residents who died during a fire at the building. Even though the fire had been set by a relative of our clients, we proved that the building owner had responsibility for the deaths. Prior to this fire, the fire department had frequently cited the owner for fire code violations, including the frequent propping open of fire doors. Because the building was overcrowded and did not have air conditioning, it was typical for tenants to prop open these doors, and the owner did nothing to address this danger. We settled the case for $2,190,000.