Articles Posted in Premises Accidents

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fire-photo-2-300x193The tragic Ghost Ship warehouse fire in Oakland, California resulted in the deaths of 36 people. The warehouse had been illegally converted into living and working spaces for artists, and the victims of the fire died during a music concert that was being held in the building. The fire demonstrates the problems that can happen when buildings are used for purposes for which they were not intended. Unfortunately, the high real estate prices and rents in cities such as San Francisco, Oakland and Los Angeles has contributed to people using these spaces to work and live even though the buildings are not intended for doing so. Experienced personal injury attorneys may hold the landowners liable by filing lawsuits against them, helping to deter the negligent conduct even when code enforcement may be difficult.

Use of illegally converted buildings

The illegal conversion of buildings into spaces for entertainment, work and living quarters has been a growing problem in Southern California and in the Bay Area. This is because the real estate prices and rents are high enough that some people, including artists, have trouble finding affordable places to live. Some building owners have reacted by allowing people to rent and use the spaces as living quarters despite the fact that the buildings are not zoned for residential purposes. The state legislature is now trying to determine how to handle the growing problem through stepped-up enforcement of codes and zoning laws. Unfortunately, the resources are not available to cities and municipalities to adequately investigate all potential zoning and code violations. The civil justice system may provide an alternative means to deter landlords and leaseholders from committing code and zoning violations by holding them liable for negligence under the state’s tort law.

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People who are injured while they are working are allowed to file claims for workers’ compensation benefits through their employers. When a worker is injured while working at a site that his or her employer does not own or control, the worker may also have a claim that he or she may file against the property owner in certain cases. A recent California case in San Luis Obispo County demonstrates how property owners may be liable when a worker is injured while working on their properties.

Factual background of the case

A 54-year-old fire alarm technician was working as a part of a two-man crew to inspect the fire alarms at the Bella Vista Transitional Care Center. While he was conducting the inspection, the care center provided him with an extension ladder to use. He fell off of the ladder 12 feet to the ground, breaking both of his feet and suffering orthopedic injuries. He also suffered a compression fracture in the lumbar area of his spine that could not be corrected with surgery. He filed a premises liability lawsuit against the care center in June 2014, and the case reached a verdict following a trial in May 2016.

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Target Stores, Accidents, Injuries, Attorneys, CaliforniaA recent California case involving a woman who was injured when she tripped over an unattended ladder in Target demonstrates both the business’s knowledge requirement as well as its duty to remove hazards, keeping the premises reasonably safe. In the case, an 83-year-old woman tripped over the ladder, fracturing her hip.

Factual background

An 83-year-old woman was shopping at a Target in Escondido, California, on Dec. 8, 2014. As she was walking down one aisle, she tripped over a 23-inch-tall stepladder that had a 4-foot handle. A worker had left the stepladder unattended. The fall caused her hip to fracture. She filed a lawsuit against Target based on a theory of premises liability on Feb. 11, 2015.

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Construction Site, Accidents, Injury, Death, Attorney, CaliforniaA recent construction site accident wrongful death Los Angeles County case and jury verdict illustrate several important topics, including cases in which several parties share liability in causing workplace accidents, workers’ compensation and the liability of third parties in workplace accidents. The case (Rosa Gonzalez, v. Atlas Construction Supply – L.A. Superior Court Case No. BC 507755) involved a man who was killed while working on a construction site in 2011.

Factual background of the case

On Aug. 2, 2011, a 30-year-old man was working at the Hyperion Treatment Plant, a wastewater facility located in Playa del Rey that handles the municipal water for the City of Los Angeles. The city commissioned a construction project at the facility, hiring USS Cal Builders as the general contractor for the work to replace a gas compressor facility that was 60 years old. USS Cal Builders hired Atlas Construction Supply, Inc. to build the concrete walls using concrete forms. The man, who was employed by USS Cal Builders, was standing on top of one of the forms when it collapsed, causing him to fall 30 feet to the ground. A portion of the wall collapsed on top of him, causing a catastrophic head injury. He was killed in the accident, and his family filed a lawsuit against Atlas Construction Supply, Inc.

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grocery store accident attorney, CaliforniaA recent case in California demonstrates how the extent and cause of a plaintiff’s injuries may be disputed even when liability itself is not in dispute. In the case, Plent v. Anheuser-Busch, LLC, Los Angeles Superior Court / BC551113, the injured plaintiff received far more at trial than she would have received if she had accepted the defendant’s final settlement offer.

Background of the case

The plaintiff, an 86-year-old woman, was shopping at an Albertson’s grocery store on May 14, 2013. While she was shopping, an Anheuser-Busch, LLC employee struck the woman with a loaded merchandise cart from behind. The woman fell to the ground and was injured. The incident was captured on the store’s surveillance videotape system. While Anheuser-Busch admitted liability, the extent of the woman’s injuries was at issue at trial. The injured woman filed a personal injury lawsuit against the defendant on July 9, 2014, alleging her injuries resulted from the defendant’s negligence. She asked for compensation for her future medical expenses, for her pain and suffering and for the loss of enjoyment of her life that the accident had caused.

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Lowes Hardware, Accidents, Injury, Attorney, California

Lowe’s Home Improvement Warehouse exterior. Lowe’s is an American chain of retail home improvement stores in the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

As a Lowes hardware accident attorney in California, I know that Lowes Companies, Inc. is big business in the Golden State. The hardware, appliance and home improvement store operator has 1,140 stores in the United States, 40 stores in Canada and another 10 in Mexico. The company has plans to open another 150 stores in Australia under a different name. Lowes is number 50 on the Fortune 500 list, and only Home Depot sells more hardware, appliance and home improvement products than Lowes.

Lowes operates 111 stores in California. Only Texas and Florida have more. As a majority shareholder, the company also operates more than 70 neighborhood hardware and backyard stores known as Orchard Supply Hardware that it acquired in 2013. Nearly all of those stores are in California too.

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Construction Site, Accident, Injury, Attorney, Los Angeles, CaliforniaOn October 20, 2011, a young California man, who was employed as a union carpenter for Ghilotti Construction, fell and injured his back while working on a bridge. The incident occurred as the result of a piece of uncapped rebar snagging the worker’s pant leg and causing him to fall. He was wearing a 50 pound utility belt at the time of the fall, and his leg remained about two feet in the air, both of which exacerbated the injury he sustained.

The carpenter (plaintiff) did not report that he was injured at that time, but his foreman observed the fall and remarked that it looked like it hurt, although he denied making the comment later at trial. The plaintiff and the foreman both testified at trial that workers did not like to report workplace injuries for fear of reprimand and/or losing their jobs.

The plaintiff returned to work the day following the incident, but became concerned when he was unable to lift a 20-pound pipe, an action that he normally could complete with ease. The plaintiff’s foreman claimed that the plaintiff said that he had been hurt at home and that he was not aware of any injury sustained at the job, but that claim was negated when the foreman’s friend and neighbor testified that the foreman knew of the injury and was concerned about losing his job for letting it occur on his shift.

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eye injury, lawyer, attorney, California, Los AngelesInjuries to the eyes are very serious and often can be hard to treat. The eye is a very delicate organ and the bone and muscle structure around the eye can easily be damaged. Injuries to the eyes can lead to changes in physical appearance of the face, changes to vision, and possibly blindness.

Types Of Eye Injuries And Their Causes

The most common injuries that occur to an eye are objects that pierce the eye during a fall or in an accident. The second leading cause of eye injuries is blunt trauma that causes damage to the eyes or the orbital socket area surrounding the eyeball. Blunt trauma to the eye is commonly associated with a slip and fall incident or being hit in the face during an altercation.

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Bus Stop, Accident, Claims, CaliforniaOn July 30, 2015 a verdict was finally given regarding a case of a 15 year old boy who died after being hit by a car at a dangerous crossing while heading for the school bus stop in San Bernardino County California. The jury awarded the adoptive mother of the boy $20,000,000.00 for her losses.

Summary Of Facts In The Case

In December of 2010, the 15 year old high school sophomore was on his way to his designated school bus stop which required him to cross an uncontrolled five-lane highway. This bus stop was designated by the school system and was the only stop that the young man could use to get to school. During his attempt to cross the highway, the boy was struck by a vehicle and suffered catastrophic injuries. This young man slipped into a coma and died from his injuries 15 days later.

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Dangerous Property, Death Claims, CaliforniaAccording to the latest investigation, rotted wood beams were the cause of a balcony collapse that killed six college students in Berkeley California.  The students were having a party and many were gathered on the upper floor of a 176 unit apartment building.  A probe was launched by the Building and Safety Division into the cause of the collapse.  It was noted that the joists that were supposed to be supporting the balconies, which extended out of the side of the building were completely dry rotted.

What is the duty of an apartment owner in California to inspect their property and make it safe?

This tragic incident raises the question of what legal duty the owner and/or maintenance company for an apartment building has to inspect their property and make it safe.  California law on this issue is as follows:

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