Premises Liability—Owner or Occupier?

Premises-Liability-Owner-or-Occupier.jpgIn California, as in other states, the legal concept of premises liability imposes a duty to maintain the premises in such a way as to minimize the risk of injury to anyone legally on the property. This requirement has broad scope, covering all aspects of real property, from steps, stairs, ramps and decks to hallways, floors and elevators. The duty also extends to sidewalks, driveways, parking ramps and lots. The duty does not extend to trespassers, and anyone legally on the property must use the property for normal purposes or for a purpose reasonably foreseeable by the owner or occupier of the property.

But a key question can focus on just who has the duty, particularly if the property is owned by one party and occupied by another. When there’s a commercial or residential lease, who has the duty to keep the property maintained and safe for visitors? As with most situations, the answer is “it depends.” It’s good practice, though, to notify both the owner and the tenant of any injuries you have suffered on residential or commercial property.

Injuries on Commercial Property

Most commercial leases address the issue of liability for injury on the premises. It’s not your responsibility to determine, however, who has responsibility. If you notify the tenant (business owner), they’ll likely pass the matter on to the building owner if their agreement imposes liability on the owner.

Injuries on Residential Property

One of the key considerations with injuries on residential property is where the accident occurred. As a general rule, the tenant has responsibility for anything moveable inside the apartment and the landlord has responsibility for everything outside the apartment, in common areas and everything immovable inside the apartment. There may be exceptions, though. If the tenant knows of a dangerous condition involving something immovable inside the apartment or something outside the apartment, if the condition is known and the tenant has not notified the landlord.

Contact the Law Offices of J. Lewis & Associates

To discuss your legal needs with an experienced Riverside personal injury lawyer, contact our office online or call us toll-free at 1-800-228-0507. There is no charge for your initial consultation. Se Habla Espanol.

Posted in personal injury lawyer, Premises Liability | Tagged | Leave a comment

Public Transportation Accidents—Are They Treated Differently Than Other Accidents?

Public Transportation AccidentsAre They Treated Differently Than Other AccidentsWhen you take a bus, light rail, commuter train or even a cab, you expect to be riding with professionals, and hope that your travel will be safer than if you were behind the wheel. But that’s not always the case. Every year, thousands of people in California and across the country are injured in accidents involving public transportation. But is it any different than being involved in a motor vehicle accident with a private individual. There is at least one difference that can have a significant impact on your claim for compensation for any injuries suffered—the legal designation of the train, taxi, bus or other mode of transportation as a "common carrier."

Under the law in California, and in other states, a person or company transporting goods or persons on regular routes at set rates is considered a "common carrier." These entities are typically offer services under the authority or licensing power of a governmental body. As common carriers, they have a duty to exercise the highest degree of care and diligence to maximize the safety of passengers. In contrast, a private motorist on the road has a duty to use reasonable care to minimize the risk of injury to others.

Another potential challenge when you have been injured in a mass transit accident—the party at fault may be a governmental entity and may have some degree of tort immunity. Essentially, this means that the governmental entity may be exempt from certain types of lawsuits based on personal injury. Even if you have a right to take legal action against the governmental body, the notice requirements are customarily different from those in a private personal injury lawsuit.

Contact the Law Offices of J. Lewis & Associates

To discuss your legal needs with an experienced Riverside premises liability injury lawyer, contact our office online or call us toll-free at 1-800-228-0507. There is no charge for your initial consultation. Se Habla Espanol.

Posted in personal injury lawyer, Premises Liability | Tagged | Leave a comment

California Court Rules Roundup Can Be Classified as a Carcinogen

California Court Rules Roundup Can Be Classified as a Carcinogen

At least in California, the Monsanto herbicide product Roundup will soon be labeled as a known carcinogen, in light of a ruling in a California state court in Fresno in March. Because of the strict guidelines on carcinogenic chemicals under Proposition 65 in California, Roundup is subject to closer scrutiny in California than in other states.

The ruling came in a lawsuit filed by Monsanto, the manufacturer of Roundup, in January, 2016. The company had challenged the California Environmental Protection Agency’s notice of intent to require that the product be labeled as potentially carcinogenic. The EPA’s decision was base on a report issued in 2015 by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which concluded that glyphosate, a primary component of Roundup, was a “probable carcinogen.”

The ruling appears to open the door for a number of personal injury lawsuits against Monsanto, similar to legal action filed by Cambia native Teri McCall last year, who alleged that her husband’s use of Roundup on the family farm for decades contributed to or cause a rare, aggressive and eventually fatal form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. During the course of that lawsuit, Monsanto was forced to release internal documents that suggested that the company had been “ghostwriting” papers and other research attributed to independent outside laboratories, a term actually used by a Monsanto chemist. The documents also indicated that the chemical giant had engaged in a massive public relations scheme to convince consumers that Roundup was safe.

Contact the Law Offices of J. Lewis & Associates

To discuss your legal needs with an experienced Riverside personal injury lawyer, contact our office online or call us toll-free at 1-800-228-0507. There is no charge for your initial consultation. Se Habla Espanol.

Posted in personal injury lawyer | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

What Happens If You Are Injured on Vacation?

What Happens If You Are Injured on Vacation

Since gas prices dropped dramatically a couple years ago, the number of injuries and fatalities in motor vehicle accidents nationwide has gone up by about 10%. There’s no secret as to why—cheaper gas means more people are driving, and more people on the road usually translates to more motor vehicle accidents. At no time is that truer than in the summer, when many families hit the roads on vacation. Given California’s popularity as a tourist destination, more and more out-of-state residents find themselves the victims of carelessness or negligence by other motorists in the Golden State. So what do you need to do and what do you need to know if you’re visiting California and are hurt a traffic mishap.

You’ll Want to Get Medical Treatment Immediately

Though you may prefer to be treated by your own doctor (and you can do that when you return from vacation), there are good reasons to seek medical care as soon as possible in California. First, if you delay medical treatment, opposing attorneys and insurance adjusters may argue that your injuries were not that serious. In addition, you run the risk that you’ll either incur another injury before you seek medical treatment, or that defense attorneys will contend that your injuries were caused by some intervening event.

You Will Likely Need California Legal Counsel

Whether you file a lawsuit or not, you will want to hire an attorney as soon as possible. Your first course of action will typically be to contact your insurance provider—either health or auto insurance (or both)—to seek coverage for medical and other expenses. Don’t be surprised if your carrier is less than helpful. It’s in the insurance company’s best interests to try to minimize or avoid payouts on claims. The sooner you hire an attorney, the sooner you’ll have an experienced advocate to make certain the insurers honor their contractual obligations.

In most instances, when you’ve been hurt in an accident in California, the lawsuit you file will be in a California court. Any attorney who represents you will have to be admitted to practice in California. While it’s possible for your personal attorney, located in another state, to be admitted “pro hac vice” or solely for your case in California, it’s likely that, if your attorney has not practiced in California, he or she will not be familiar with the judges, the laws or the rules of procedure in California courts. Accordingly, you’ll want a lawyer with extensive experience in the California legal system.

Contact the Law Offices of J. Lewis & Associates

To discuss your legal needs with an experienced Riverside premises liability injury lawyer, contact our office online or call us toll-free at 1-800-228-0507. There is no charge for your initial consultation. Se Habla Espanol.

Posted in Car Accidents, Motorcycle Accidents | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

The California Statute of Limitations on Personal Injury

man in tension

When you suffered personal injury or property loss because of the careless or wrongful acts of another person, you have a right to pursue legal action to recover compensation for all your losses. Under California law, as in other states, you must initiate legal action within a certain period of time or you can lose the right to seek damages.

There are a number of good reasons for this law, known as the “statute of limitations.” First, the longer you wait to file a claim, the greater the risk that memories will fade or that witnesses will become unavailable. In addition, the law does not favor making a person have to wait for years with a pending lawsuit hanging over their heads.

The statute of limitations is a state law and can vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, and based on the type of lawsuit. In California, the time limit for filing a personal injury lawsuit is two years from the date you sustained the injury. For damage to personal property, the statute of limitations is three years.

So what happens if you are involved in an accident or you’re exposed to toxic substances and it takes months or even years for the injury to become apparent? If the statute of limitations has expired, are you out of luck? The answer is generally no. In California, as in other states, the “discovery” rule applies to the statute of limitations in personal injury claims. The discovery rule holds that the clock does not start to run on the statute of limitations until you either actually discover or, with the exercise of reasonable care, would have discovered the injury.

Contact the Law Offices of J. Lewis & Associates

To discuss your legal needs with an experienced Riverside personal injury lawyer, contact our office online or call us toll-free at 1-800-228-0507. There is no charge for your initial consultation. Se Habla Espanol.

Posted in personal injury lawyer | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Construction Site Product Liability Claims

man with arm

A construction site is one of the most dangerous places you can work. Falling objects, falls from heights and poorly constructed ladders or scaffolding can cause serious and catastrophic loss. Another common cause of injury is the malfunction of power tools, machinery and heavy equipment on a job site.

When the cause of your injury is caused by a tool, machine or piece of equipment, your claim will typically be in the form of a product liability lawsuit. As a general rule, a product liability claim will be premised on one of three different legal theories:

  • Negligence product design
  • Negligent manufacture of a product
  • Negligent marketing of a product

An allegation of negligence in the design of a product contends that the product was inherently unsafe, regardless of how well it was built or manufactured, and that designers failed to reasonably consider the potential safety risks of the product design. For example, if a motor vehicle or recreational vehicle is designed with a high center of gravity, making it unstable on curves, there may be a claim for negligent design.

A lawsuit based on negligent manufacture alleges carelessness or negligence in the manufacturing process, either through the use of substandard materials, through sloppy assembly or poor supervision during manufacturing.

The last type of product liability claim involves negligent marketing, where the manufacturer fails to provide appropriate instructions or warnings with the product. A manufacturer must provide notice of any known risks, as well as any risks that would have been discovered through the exercise of reasonable care.

As a side note, it’s important to understand that, should your injury be caused by a dangerous or defective product, you may be able to file a lawsuit for damages, in addition to a workers’ compensation claim.

Contact the Law Offices of J. Lewis & Associates

To discuss your legal needs with an experienced Riverside premises liability injury lawyer, contact our office online or call us toll-free at 1-800-228-0507. There is no charge for your initial consultation. Se Habla Espanol.

Posted in construction accident | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

The Different Types of Damages Available in Wrongful Death Claims

sad lady

When your loved one has died because of the wrongful conduct of another person, the emotional devastation can be paralyzing, but it’s important to take timely action to protect your rights. But you’ll also face financial challenges, particularly if your loved one provided most or all of the financial support for your family. What types of damages can you expect to recover in a wrongful death lawsuit?

The California wrongful death laws differentiate between wrongful death claims and survivorship claims. A wrongful death action seeks to compensate individuals who qualify for any losses suffered as a result of the accidental death. A survivorship claim seeks damages for the estate of the deceased.

In a wrongful death claim, an individual may seek compensation for:

  • The loss of financial support that the deceased would have provided. Damages will typically be calculated based on the length of time the person would reasonably have expected to receive support, up to retirement age. Typically, the damage award will represent a present value of the amount of support that would have been provided.
  • The value of household services, such as cooking and cleaning, which would have been received.
  • The value of any other gifts or benefits the decedent would have provided
  • The loss of love, companionship, care, comfort, protection, assistance, affection, moral support and society
  • The loss of guidance and training, if the decedent was a parent
  • The loss of consortium, or intimate relations, if the decedent was a spouse
  • Any funeral or burial expenses incurred

Contact the Law Offices of J. Lewis & Associates

To discuss your legal needs with an experienced Riverside personal injury lawyer, contact our office online or call us toll-free at 1-800-228-0507. There is no charge for your initial consultation. Se Habla Espanol.

Posted in Wrongful Death | Tagged | Leave a comment

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

File a Wrongful Death

In California, as in all states, there are limitations on who may file a lawsuit for damages after an accidental or wrongful death. In essence, you must be what the law refers to as a “real party in interest.” The law then goes on to define a real party in interest to include, in the following order:

  • The spouse or domestic partner of the deceased. The surviving spouse of a marriage determined to be invalid may still have a right to file a wrongful death action, if the surviving reasonably believed the marriage was legitimate and relied on the decedent for support.
  • Any living children of the deceased
  • The children of a child of the deceased (i.e., grandchildren), provided that child of the deceased has also died
  • Stepchildren may file a wrongful death action if they can show that they relied on the deceased for financial support
  • Parents of the deceased can proceed with a wrongful death claim if they can demonstrate that the decedent provided them with support
  • Any minor (related or not) who can prove cohabitation with the decedent for at least six months immediately before the death, and who can show that  he/she received at least half of his or her support from the deceased, may file a wrongful death claim

If the deceased has no surviving spouse or children, the court will allow a lawsuit by anyone who would have received an inheritance if the deceased had died intestate (without a will). Typically, though, potential heirs are precluded from filing a wrongful death claim and must recover through a survivorship lawsuit.

Contact the Law Offices of J. Lewis & Associates

To discuss your legal needs with an experienced Riverside premises liability injury lawyer, contact our office online or call us toll-free at 1-800-228-0507. There is no charge for your initial consultation. Se Habla Espanol.

Posted in Wrongful Death | Tagged | Leave a comment

The Types of Injuries You Can Expect to Recover in a Personal Injury Lawsuit

Recover Personal Injury

If you have been hurt because of someone else’s wrongful act, and you’ve never been a party to a personal injury lawsuit before, you may be uncertain exactly what type of financial recovery you can expect. Here’s an overview of the different types of damages available in a personal injury action.

Compensatory Damages

Most of the damages available to personal injury victims are what are known as “compensatory” damages, designed to compensate you for some actual or measurable loss. Compensatory damages are further subdivided between economic and non-economic damages:

  • Economic damages— These are essentially out-of-pocket expenses, either costs you have incurred or lost opportunities caused by the injury. Examples of economic damages include lost wages and income, unreimbursed medical expenses and damages to personal property.
  • Non-economic damages— These are less tangible types of losses, often more difficult to determine—they are usually established through the testimony of an expert witness. Examples of non-economic damages include physical pain and suffering, loss of companionship or consortium, and mental distress.

Punitive Damages

In limited situations, an injured person may be able to pursue punitive damages. These are not designed to compensate the victim for any loss or injury, but are instead intended to sanction or punish the wrongdoer. They are typically restricted to situations where the defendant’s conduct was egregious or with wanton disrespect for the value of life. Most states, including California, set specific limits on the measure of punitive damages that may be recovered.

Contact the Law Offices of J. Lewis & Associates

To discuss your legal needs with an experienced Riverside personal injury lawyer, contact our office online or call us toll-free at 1-800-228-0507. There is no charge for your initial consultation. Se Habla Espanol.

Posted in personal injury lawyer | Tagged | Leave a comment

Why It’s Important to Contact an Attorney Immediately after a Personal Injury

Contact-an Attorney Immediately

In the aftermath of a personal injury, you can find it difficult to do anything. The injuries may make it difficult to sit, stand, walk or sleep, and you may have challenges staying focused on the tasks in front of you. But one of the most important things you can do is retain legal counsel as soon as possible. Here are some of the reasons why.

Evidence Can Be Lost

With respect to any type of accident, evidence can be jeopardized if you wait too long. In some instances, it may be simple business practices. The longer you wait, the greater the risk that something will happen to critical evidence before your lawyer can take legal steps to safeguard and preserve it. The sooner you hire an attorney, the sooner your lawyer can request that potential defendants produce records, videos, pictures and other evidence.

Memories Can Fade

The memories of witnesses will fade with every passing day. Under the best of circumstances, you should try to get a written or videotaped statement from all witnesses as soon as possible. If you are in a car accident, ask witnesses if you can take a statement using your phone. With every day you wait, you can expect that witnesses will recall less and less.

Witnesses Can Move

The longer you wait, the more challenges you may find simply locating witnesses. Our society is extremely mobile and people often move without leaving forwarding information. You don’t want your case to fail because a critical witness can’t be located.

Your Injuries May Become Less Clear Cut

When you hire a lawyer, one of the first things he or she will do is have you submit to a thorough medical examination, so that your injuries can be documented. The longer you wait to do that, the greater the risk that defense attorneys will argue that intervening events caused some or all of your injuries.

Contact the Law Offices of J. Lewis & Associates

To discuss your legal needs with an experienced Riverside premises liability injury lawyer, contact our office online or call us toll-free at 1-800-228-0507. There is no charge for your initial consultation. Se Habla Espanol.

Posted in Car Accidents, personal injury lawyer | Tagged , | Leave a comment