You’re already taking plenty of precautions to protect yourself and others against COVID-19, and you should be able to trust others to do the same.
As businesses in California continue to re-open their doors to customers, they have a responsibility to protect consumers from the dangers presented by the coronavirus.
Premises liability laws require property owners to take reasonable precautions to protect visitors from harm. If you contract COVID-19 and believe it to be due to the negligence of a property owner, you may be able to make a claim.
Let’s take a look at what you need to know about California’s premises liability laws during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Premises Liability in California: The Basics
Premises liability laws in California are designed to protect individuals from injury and financial damages caused by a premise owner’s negligence
A person who owns, occupies, controls, or leases a property may be held liable and considered negligent if they do not use reasonable care to maintain the safety of a property and uncover and repair any potentially unsafe conditions. Keep in mind that this does not only apply to businesses, but also to homeowners, renters, etc.
If a premises liability claim is filed, the court may consider a number of factors to determine liability, including:
- Location of the property
- Precautions taken by the defendant
- The likelihood of personal harm or injury
- Whether or not the property owner should have been able to identify the risk of harm
- Potential misuse of property
Essentially, if someone is harmed due to something that could have reasonably been prevented by a responsible property owner, then the owner may be held liable for the damages caused by the incident.
Slip and fall accidents are some of the most common premises liability cases in California. For example, if a store neglects to put up a ‘Wet Floor’ sign after mopping, and a customer slips and is injured, the property owner may be required to pay damages.
Who Can File a Premises Liability Claim?
Generally, any person harmed on another person’s property can file a premises liability claim against the property owner. If you believe the accident was caused by the owner’s negligence, you can make a claim — even if you were a trespasser on the property.
If a person is killed while on another person’s property, their family members may file a wrongful death suit to secure damages.
Premises Liability & COVID-19
As businesses continue to re-open and people continue to get back to their daily lives, it’s important to know your rights as a consumer as they relate to premises liability.
If you become ill with COVID-19 and believe it was contracted while at someone else’s property due to their own negligence, you may be entitled to damages.
Understanding Reasonable Care
The federal government has yet to pass legislation granting immunity against COVID-19 claims, and while some states have passed such legislation, California is not one of them.
What does this mean for you?
This means that California residents can hold property owners responsible if they neglect to do their part to prevent the spread of this deadly virus.
As mentioned previously, premise owners must take reasonable care to protect visitors against COVID-19. Examples of reasonable care in this instance might include:
- Posting and enforcing written coronavirus safety guidelines in clearly visible locations
- Requiring visitors to comply with federal and state health guidelines, e.g. social distancing and wearing masks
- Creating COVID-19 exposure response procedures
- Cleaning and sanitizing the premise on a frequent basis
- Offering hand sanitizer and handwashing stations to visitors
If you visit a business or property and notice that precautionary measures like these have not been taken, you might be entitled to damages if you contract COVID-19.
Get Professional Legal Assistance
Irresponsible property owners endanger their visitors and customers by neglecting to abide by health guidelines and implement reasonable measures to protect against the novel coronavirus.
If you believe you have become infected with COVID-19 due to such negligence, we encourage you to consult with an experienced attorney to explore your options as they relate to making a premises liability claim.
Contact us today to consult with an attorney and determine what your next steps should be.