Recently, the California Appellate Court reversed a judgment in favor of a defendant hotel after a plaintiff sued the hotel for breaching their duty of care by setting up a stage in a way that created a dangerous gap and eventually led to her falling and injuring herself.  In this California premises liability lawsuit, which alleged claims of negligence and premises liability, the court analyzed whether the defendant had met their burden on summary judgment.  After analyzing the defendant’s supporting evidence, the court held that they had failed to carry their burdfoot injuryen of showing that they had not breached their duty of care.

The plaintiff had attended a banquet at the defendant hotel, and while standing onstage, she stepped behind her and fell into a gap between the stage and the wall. The plaintiff suffered broken bones in her foot and ligament damage. In her legal claim against the hotel, she claimed that hotel employees were negligent in installing the stage and that the hotel breached its duty of care by failing to warn her of the dangerous condition.

After the defendant moved for summary judgment, they submitted the declaration of an architect who had been hired to evaluate whether the stage met safety standards.  The hotel defendant also submitted declarations from employees who stated they had no notice of anyone falling from the back of the stage in previous events.  In opposition, the plaintiff argued there remained triable issues of material fact as to whether there had been a dangerous condition by setting the stage on a diagonal and whether the hotel had breached its duty of care by failing to warn her of the dangers posed by falling.

In an appeal before the Second Appellate District, the California Court of Appeal addressed an appeal brought by the City of Long Beach after the lower court awarded $99,000 in pain and suffering damages to the 81-year-old plaintiff in a Southern California trip and fall case.  After reviewing the jury’s award and supporting evidence, the court affirmed the award in favor of the injured plaintiff.

crosswalk signage
The 81-year-old plaintiff and his daughter were at a boat parade in Long Beach, and while walking to their car after the festivities, the plaintiff’s foot caught a curb, which caused him to fall into a crosswalk in the street. The plaintiff’s injuries included a broken shoulder. He received treatment non-surgically. The plaintiff then brought a complaint for premises liability against Long Beach on the grounds that it was negligent and created a dangerous condition of public property.

After deliberations, the jury found that the City was 51% at fault for the incident, and the plaintiff was 49% at fault.  The jury determined that the plaintiff’s pain and suffering was $194,118. This included $174,706 for past pain and suffering and $19,412 for future pain and suffering. The final judgment awarded the plaintiff $99,000.

After rear-ending another vehicle that had been stopped, an insured individual sought uninsured motorist benefits from his car insurer.  The insurer denied his claim, and the arbitrator denied damages to the appellant.  The appellant petitioned the trial court to vacate the arbitration award, and the California Court of Appeal affirmed the court’s denial of his petitiorear-end collisionn, finding it was not an appealable order.  Specifically, the appellate court turned to California law, which requires that physical contact support an uninsured motorist claim after a Southern California car accident involving allegations of a phantom vehicle.

The appellant in this case argued that he had been hit from behind and pushed into the vehicle in front of him.  He argued that the vehicle that struck him had left the scene immediately.  The insurer argued no evidence supported his position he had been pushed into the vehicle in front.

The insurance company inspected the appellant’s vehicle for repairs, which were estimated to total approximately $7,000.  The front of the vehicle sustained damage, and there was no damage listed to the rear bumper or trunk.  Photographs supported the estimate that the damage focused on the front end of the vehicle.

In a recent decision, the California Court of Appeal held that the trial court erred in granting defendant’s summary judgment motion regarding plaintiff’s claim for dangerous condition of public property.  After suffering serious injuries when a tree branch fell on her while walking through Mission Bay, in San Diego, the plaintiff brought a personal injury claim, alleging that the City negligently maintained the tree.  The City moved for trial immunity, under Government Code section 831.4.  While the lower court granted summary judgment based on this immunity, the appellate court found there had been a disputed issue of material fact as to where plaintiff had been when the branch struck her, and that the claim was based on negligent maintenance of the tree, not the trail.

falling tree liability

Dangerous condition of public property includes conditions that create substantial risk of injury when the property is used with due care, in a manner in which it is reasonably foreseeable it will be used.  There must be a dangerous condition of public property, a foreseeable risk of injury, conduct connected to the condition (such as negligence), causation between the condition and injuries, and finally, damages.  Plaintiff’s allegation is that the City negligently trimmed tree branches, and was aware of the dangerous condition posed by negligently maintaining branches of the eucalyptus tree.  Therefore, the City is liable for harm caused when the branch fell from the tree.

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In an appeal taken in a California swimming pool accident lawsuit following the drowning death of a five-year-old boy, the California Court of Appeal affirmed the judgment in favor of the defendants.  The issue before the appellate court was whether the defendants owed a duty of care and whether there was evidence a dangerous condition on their property contributed to the tragic accident.  The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants, and the plaintiffs appealed.

pool
In this case, the father of the deceased boy brought a general negligence action against the defendants for failing to supervise and pay attention to their child.  In their premises liability claim, the plaintiffs alleged that the defendants ignored or allowed dangerous conditions in and around the pool.  The boy’s mother had left the boy’s grandfather in charge of the boy once he arrived at the party at the defendant’s home. The mother knew that her son did not know how to swim, and her father (the boy’s grandfather) advised the defendant that he would take over supervising the boy. After losing sight of the boy, his grandfather found him underneath the water in the main pool, and efforts to resuscitate him were unsuccessful.

After submitting evidence in support of their motion for summary judgment, the court found in favor of the defendants, since the boy’s grandfather had explicitly agreed to supervise the boy, and the mother had remained on the premises.  Despite the declaration of a civil engineer and expert in engineering, the court found that there was not a triable issue of material fact regarding whether the pool was in a dangerous condition.  Finally, there had not been evidence that a dangerous condition in the pool caused the boy’s death.

Following a California truck accident, the victim in a recent case before the California Court of Appeal pursued a personal injury claim against the truck driver and his trucking company.  The lower court awarded the plaintiff truck collision$3.3 million for damages, since he suffered serious physical injuries in the collision.  After the appellate court had reversed an earlier decision in the victim’s favor, the jury had found that it was reasonably certain the plaintiff would require four future shoulder surgeries.  The defendant argued that one surgery was reasonably certain, and the evidence did not support a finding that three other surgeries were required.

The appellate court in this opinion restated the facts, which indicate that at the time of the collision, the defendant driver had been crossing the southbound lanes of traffic on Pacific Coast Highway, heading north.  The plaintiff had been driving a minivan southbound when he crashed into the flatbed trailer at about 45 miles per hour.  After being extricated from the vehicle, he suffered an open fracture in his left shoulder.

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The California Court of Appeal recently upheld the trial court’s denial of a county’s motion for summary judgment in a California personal injury lawsuit involving the Government Code “natural condition immunity” claimed by San Mateo County after a 72-foot diseased tree fell on a sleeping child’s tent, causing catastrophic injuries.  The court analyzed whether the campground area had beecampgroundn improved, since that would defeat the natural condition immunity provided to the County by Government Code section 831.2.

Government Code section 831.2 is known as the “natural condition immunity.”  It states that neither a public entity nor a public employee may be held liable for injuries caused by natural conditions of unimproved public property.  The issue in this case was whether there were triable issues of fact regarding whether the property was “unimproved.”

The campground where the child was injured was in San Mateo County Memorial Park, owned by the County.  Over 499 wooded acres make up the park, with trails and campsites that have been cleared of trees. The campground was included in a “developed area” that the County inspected.

The California Court of Appeal recently addressed an appeal brought by a plaintiff who alleged his injuries were caused by a defective elevator.   Southern California injury lawyers understand that in cases like this, there may be legal claims against more than one defendant.  In this case, the plaintiff initially brought legal claims against multiple parties, including the manufacturer and the maintenance company for the elevator.

After stepping ielevatornto an elevator at the CalTrans building in Los Angeles, the plaintiff in this personal injury case pressed the button for the first floor. According to the plaintiff, the elevator quickly dropped and then stopped between the first and second floors.  The plaintiff alleged he was thrown around and landed on his back in the elevator when it abruptly dropped.  The plaintiff claimed he suffered knee injuries due to the incident, and he brought legal claims against the elevator manufacturer and the maintenance company that services the elevator.

The plaintiff eventually dismissed his claims for product liability and negligence against the manufacturer, and the remaining defendant (the maintenance company) moved for summary judgment.  The trial court granted summary judgment, finding that the plaintiff had not met his burden of showing a material dispute of fact remained.

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California personal injury attorneys understand that individuals who participate in certain sports may place themselves at risk of injury. In a recent personal injury lawsuit, the plaintiff had alleged that the defendant’s negligent, reckless, or intentional misconduct harmed her.  She also alleged that the defendant had an animal with a dangerous propensity. The facts indicate that the plaintiff suffered injuries while endurance horseback riding, and the issue before the California appellate court was whether the plaintiff had assumed the risk inherent in horseback riding, which would bar her claim for recovery.  Additionally, the court examined whether the plaintiff had met her burden of showing there was a genuine issue of material fact regarding the defendant’s alleged recklessness.horse racing

Both the plaintiff and the defendant participated in an organized endurance horseback riding event, with approximately 50 other riders.  While stopped at a required checkpoint, the defendant’s horse struck the plaintiff while she was standing on the ground. She suffered injuries and brought this lawsuit against the defendant. After the trial court granted the defendant’s motion for summary judgment, she appealed.

On appeal, the court examined whether the defendant met the burden of persuasion that one or more elements of the plaintiff’s cause of action could not be established, or there was a complete defense to the cause of action. If the defendant meets their burden of production, showing that there is not a triable issue of material fact, the burden of production shifts to the plaintiff to show a remaining triable issue of fact.

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All drivers owe others on the road a duty of care to exercise reasonable caution.  When driving, it is negligent to use any substance that impairs your ability to drive.  Alcohol, marijuana, and other drugs affect the ability of drivers to safely operate their vehicles and may cause harm to others on the road. When a driver’s negligence causes an accident and resulting harm, injured victims may hold the driver accountable in a legal claim.

impaired driving crash

California motor vehicle collision claims involving marijuana use by drivers are rising.  Since marijuana has been legalized, it is likely the state will see an increase in car accidents caused by drivers impaired by smoking or ingesting marijuana.  According to a recent insurance study, crash statistics in Washington, Oregon, and Colorado indicate that after legalizing recreational marijuana, there was an increase in the number of car accident claims in those states. After suffering injuries in an accident with a driver impaired by marijuana, victims may recover damages by filing personal injury civil claims against the at-fault drivers.

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