California Law in Cases Involving the Victim’s Death – Premises Liability

Premises Liability is a form of negligence. Brooks v. Eugene Burger Mgmt. Corp., (1989) 215 Cal. App. 3d 1611, 1619. Premises liability actions generally focus on the property owner’s duty to use due care and to act affirmatively so that his or her property does not create an unreasonable risk of harm to others. Ericson v. Federal Express Corp., (2008) 162 Cal. App. 4th 1291, 129901300. In addition to arising from a party’s ownership of the premises, a duty may arise out of a party’s possession or control of the subject premises. Alcaraz v. Vece, (1997) 14 Cal.4th 1149, 1162.

In determining whether a Defendant owes a duty to Plaintiff, Courts typically consider the factors outlined in Rowland v. Christian, (1968) 69 Cal.2d 108, 112-113, which include the: (i) foreseeability of harm to Plaintiff, (ii) degree of certainty that Plaintiff suffered injury, (iii) closeness of the connection between Defendant’s conduct and the injury, (iv) moral blameworthiness of Defendant’s conduct, (v) policy of preventing future harm, (vi) burden on Defendant and consequences to the community if a duty is imposed and (vii) availability, cost and prevalence of insurance against the risk of harm. 

Notably, in order to establish a claim for Premises Liability, Plaintiff must demonstrate that (1) Defendant owned, leased, occupied or controlled the subject property, (2) Defendant was negligent in the use or maintenance of the subject property, (3) Plaintiff was harmed and (4) Defendant’s negligence was a substantial factor in causing Plaintiff’s harm. California Civil Jury Instruction No. 1000.

Contact an Orange County personal injury lawyer today to discuss the application of the pertinent legal principles to your personal injury lawsuit or pre-litigation claim today.

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