Under California premises liability law, landowners and public entities can be held responsible for dangerous conditions that result in injuries or death to another person. In order to successfully hold a property owner accountable for an injury-causing hazard, however, certain requirements must be met. In a recently published decision, the California Court of Appeals affirmed a lower court’s judgment in favor of the defendant in a lawsuit filed by a plaintiff who was injured in a Southern California trip and fall accident.
The plaintiff in the recently decided case was injured when she walked into a concrete pillar near the Los Angeles Convention Center. The plaintiff’s lawsuit alleged that the pillar, which was placed in front of the convention center to prevent vehicles from driving into a pedestrian zone, was a dangerous condition negligently constructed in a public thoroughfare.
The City of Los Angeles, which was the defendant in the case, claimed that it was immune from liability under a doctrine known as design immunity. Design immunity is a defense available to public entities that shields these entities from liability if they can demonstrate that a public authority reasonably exercised discretionary authority when approving the design at issue. The trial court granted the city’s summary judgment motion and disposed of the plaintiff’s claim, resulting in the plaintiff’s appeal.
On appeal, the high court discussed the elements of design immunity, and it found that the city employee who approved the pillars’ design and placement had a reasonable basis to determine that they were safe. The court specifically noted that any reasonable pedestrian who was looking where they were going would have noticed the pillar and avoided it, and the design was therefore reasonably safe. After finding that the defendant successfully met all the elements of the design immunity defense, the appellate court affirmed the trial court’s ruling.
Filing a personal injury claim against a government entity is generally more difficult than against a private property owner, since immunities and defenses are available to public entities that are not applicable to private property owners. That said, obtaining compensation from a public entity is not impossible, and it can be done with the help of a knowledgeable and skilled California personal injury attorney who is familiar with the tactics used by government entities to avoid taking responsibility for injuries that occur on public property.
Have You Been Injured in a Trip and Fall?
If you or a loved one has been injured in a California trip and fall accident, you may have a case for damages. Whether your injury occurred on public or private property, the owner or entity in charge of the property may be financially responsible for the hazard that caused your injuries. At Sharifi Firm, we handle all types of California personal injury cases, including slip and fall claims. With the representation of a qualified California premises liability attorney at Sharifi Firm, you can be confident that your case is being handled properly. Contact our office at 866-422-7222 to schedule your free initial consultation with an attorney on our team.