Legal Question in Personal Injury in California

when is a homeowner liable for my injury

last night I had an appointment at a home that I had set up with the homeowner. this was not door to door. As I was walking up the path between two rows of trees waist high. I missed the six to 10 inch step in the middle of the dark path and went right down hurting my knees, sholder and wrists. what should I do next liable?

Asked on 2/19/01, 12:53 pm

3 Answers from Attorneys

Michael Cortson Law Office of Michael D. Cortson, Esq.

Re: when is a homeowner liable for my injury

First go to the doctor. Get yourself fixed. If this was a dangerous condition, the homeowner's insurance company will get involved. The value of your matter depends on the extent of your injury. I don't know that so I have no opinion, yet. The standard of care is what a reasonable homeowner would do under like and similar circumstances. If is was too dark to see this step, you may have a case. Let me know.

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Answered on 4/03/01, 11:08 am
John Bisnar Bisnar & Chase, LLP

Re: when is a homeowner liable for my injury

If you were visiting the home in the course of your employment (other than self employed) you are covered under the "workers' compensation" system. Workers' compensation will cover your medical expenses for the treatment made necessary for a work-related injury, and will pay you temporary and/or permanent loss disability benefits, in addition to other benefits. In this system, you do not need to prove that anyone was legally "at fault" - your employer must pay you worker's compensation benefits if it was a work related injury. If this is the case, you should speak to an experienced worker's compensation attorney will explain your rights and assist you if need be. You should do this right away --- you may lose some rights if you do not pursue this matter immediately. I suggest my wife's Workers Compensation law firm, 714-835-4444.

The other type of claim you may have is a "personal injury" claim against the homeowner. There is no "strict liability" in this type of claim: to be successful, you would need to prove that the homeowner was "negligent" in his conduct. This "premises liability" claim would require you to prove that the property owner had created a "dangerous condition", or knew about a "dangerous condition", on his property, and failed to correct it or warn you about it. To have a good claim, you would have to show that the dangerous condition was not obvious --- was hidden in some way from your ability to perceive its presence. If this is the case, arrange a consultation with a law firm specializing in personal injury. Consultations and case evaluations are usually provided without charge or obligation. Be aware that there are very strick time limits within which cases must be concluded, formal claims made or law suits filed. Don't delay. Get a consultation immediately. It appears that you may have a decent personal injury case.

John Bisnar, Senior Partner, Bisnar & Chase LLP, Personal Injury Attorneys & Counselors at Law, 800-956-0123,, [email protected]

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Answered on 4/04/01, 2:31 am

Re: when is a homeowner liable for my injury

Mr. Bisnar's reply is very complete. I agree that your third party liability claim against the homeowner is viable. You may pursue both actions simultaneaously. Please call me direct (if in San Diego area) at (619) 222-3504.

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Answered on 4/04/01, 10:29 am

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