Premises liability cases often turn on the responsibility of a property owner or occupier to you if you are injured due to a condition on the property, or because of negligence on the part of an employee of a business.
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No matter how careful a property owner might be, grocery stores throughout California may present hazardous conditions for an unsuspecting customer. Water sprayed on vegetables to keep them fresh, or bottles of liquids that fall from a shelf in an aisle and break, can create a wet floor and the risk of slip-and-fall accidents.
A property owner may owe a duty of care to more people than just those who are invited onto the property by the owner or who are there with permission. In a recent post, we discussed an exception to the usual premises liability rules that would make owners liable when the injured party is a child, even a child who is trespassing.
For many years, the law in California governing a property owner's liability to others, followed the notion that the legal status of the person who was injured had a direct impact on that person's ability to recover for the injuries he or she suffered. The law classed people on the property of another into categories such as "invitees," or "licensees," or "trespassers," depending on what degree of permission, if any, they had to be on the property of the landholder where they were harmed.
The responsibility of a commercial property owner in California for the safety of people injured while shopping at a retail store or at a shopping mall depends on whether the injured person was lawfully on the property and whether the property owner was negligent.
A customer running errands on any given day does not expect to suffer injuries while he or she is out shopping; we tend to assume that businesses will be on the lookout on our behalf for conditions that could cause us harm. But unfortunately, a slip-and-fall accident is a distinct possibility if a negligent property owner does not address possible hazardous conditions at his or her store.
When they think of "shopping injuries," many people may think of wallets and purses bruised by inflation. But the term actually describes serious events that result in thousands of physical injuries annually to customers of retail establishments in California and across the country.