In a recent California personal injury case, the plaintiff brought a premises liability claim against a restaurant after she was bitten by a spider while eating lunch there. The plaintiff had been eating lunch with a friend on a patio when a spider bit her on her back. She was hospitalized for about six days and suffered from numbness and weakness in her extremities after spider venom reached her spinal fluid. She suffered permanent damage and could not fully use her left hand and leg.
The plaintiff filed a lawsuit alleging general negligence and premises liability. She claimed that the restaurant knew or should have known that spiders were prevalent in the patio area and that they posed a risk to customers. She alleged that the restaurant was negligent in failing to warn of the danger of the spiders and in failing to reasonably prevent spiders from coming into contact with customers. The plaintiff claimed that prior to her injury, there were thirteen reports of spider sightings at the restaurant, and three were identified as black widows.
The restaurant contended that it did not have an absolute duty to ensure the safety of its customers, and that it did not owe the plaintiff a duty to protect her from an alleged black widow spider bite. It claimed that it followed pest control protocols that exceeded industry standards, that it did not know there were any black widow spiders on the dining patio, and that the costs of a duty to protect customers outweighed the benefits.
A trial court dismissed the case, but a California appeals court reinstated the case. The court explained that it was unclear what, if anything, the restaurant did to warn customers about black widow spiders or to control the black widow population. It further explained that black widow spiders were common in the area and that a reasonably careful restaurant owner would foresee the risk to the customers and would take that into account when operating a restaurant. Therefore, the court reinstated the case, allowing it to proceed to trial.
Premises Liability Claims in California
In California, property owners or possessors have to exercise ordinary care in managing properties. Although property owners are not insurers of the public safety, they must keep the premises in good repair and provide warnings about dangerous conditions on the property. A premises liability claim is considered under the same standards of negligence as in general negligence cases. This means that a plaintiff must prove the elements of duty, breach, causation, and damages.
Contact a Los Angeles Personal Injury Lawyer
If you or a loved one has been injured, contact an injury attorney to see if you may be entitled to compensation. At the Sharifi Firm, APC, our injury attorneys provide dedicated representation to Los Angeles residents who have been harmed because of the negligence of others. It is important to get help from an experienced Los Angeles personal injury lawyer who knows how to negotiate with defendants and their insurers and how to take a case to trial if it proves necessary. We handle motor vehicle collisions, slip-and-falls, nursing home abuse cases, and wrongful death cases, among others. Contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation at 1-866-422-7222 or via our online form.
More Blog Posts:
California Supreme Court Explains Sudden Emergency Doctrine in California Car Accident Case, Southern California Injury Lawyer Blog, July 26, 2018
Questions Emerge About Liability in Self-Driving Car Crashes in California, Southern California Injury Lawyer Blog, June 25, 2018
Photo Credit: Christine Bird / Shutterstock.com