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San Diego Premises Liability Attorney

An unsafe building or commercial property creates a substantial risk of injury. From “slip and fall” accidents to dog bites and drownings, accidents happen when a property owner fails to meet their duty of care. If you have been injured on unsafe or improperly maintained property, the San Diego premises liability lawyers at McKenzie Scott PC, are here to help.

Premises liability cases arise when an individual is injured on someone else's property as a result of hazardous conditions or negligence. Common scenarios include:

  • Slip and Fall Accidents. These accidents occur from wet floors, uneven surfaces, poor lighting, or obstacles.
  • Trip and Fall Incidents. Falls down stairs, trips on uneven sidewalks or similar accidents are considered “trip-and-falls.”
  • Inadequate Security. When premises are not adequately secured, occupants are exposed to potential injuries and/or assaults.
  • Dog Bites. When a person fails to control a dangerous animal on their property, they can be liable for a premises liability lawsuit.
  • Swimming Pool Accidents. Unguarded, unsecured pool facilities can lead to serious injury, up to and including drowning.

Did you suffer a fall on government property? Act soon: you only have six (6) months to file your claim. Speak to a San Diego government liability lawyer as soon as possible.

- Call McKenzie Scott PC: (619) 794-0451 -

San Diego Premises Liability Attorney
“Premises liability” is a special kind of personal injury case resulting from injuries occurring on someone’s property. Property owners have a duty to maintain a safe environment for any visitors. “Premises liability” is an area of law that represents the injured person against the property owner or business entity that created the dangerous condition. That person may be found liable for the injury, as well as the medical bills and other costs associated with the accident.

Understanding Duty of Care in a Premises Liability Cases

What is premises liability law? When property owners treat property maintenance and security as a minor, trivial, or insignificant detail, they expose others to harm. In legal terms, we say that the property owner or party responsible for the property has a “duty of care” to maintain a safe environment that avoids preventable injuries. See California Civil Code 1714 for more on liability claims that can be brought against property owners for their negligence. Notably, “the design, distribution, or marketing of firearms and ammunition is not exempt from the duty to use ordinary care and skill that is required by this section.” In layman’s terms, this means that legal firearm sales or use does not indemnify the property owner from responsibility arising from this added risk.

Case Study: Duty of Care in Action

Plaintiff: Elizabeth E. Defendant: PD Real Estate Investments Property owners who fail to address dangerous property conditions or warn occupants about them, are acting negligently if they should have known about the hazards on their property. One such case arose in Elizabeth E. vs. PD Real Estate Investments, a case we took in 2023. The Defendant had a duty of care to provide a safe environment for patrons and other property visitors. We successfully argued that they failed to meet this standard. Watch the video we created and presented on behalf of our injured client:



In this case, the Defendant owned and controlled a commercial property with a dangerous staircase; not only was the flight of steps uneven (and not to code), but it did not have a guardrail. Our 91-year-old client fell on these steps, shattering her femur. She endured weeks of hospitalization and life-threatening surgical complications. Today, she lives with chronic pain and permanent disability from the injury. The stairs in question were illegal from the day they were built. Our research found that both the parking lot and the stairs violated building and safety codes. Our research further showed that the stair landing was not flat; in fact, it was pitched over 14%. California law would call this a “ramp,” not a landing. The Defendant had owned the property since 2005 and did no formal inspections on the safety of the stairs or rectify these safety hazards. Based on Elizabeth E.’s age, and the fact that she “only” suffered a broken femur, the Defendants refused to make any meaningful offer. They blamed Ms. E. for the fall. We were forced to sue. Still the defendants made only a “nuisance” offer. Finally, after vigorous litigation and on the eve of trial, the Defendants agreed to pay $1,450,000.00 in damages.

Ready to pursue justice for your Premise liability case? Contact the experienced and proven attorneys at McKenzie Scott for a case evaluation at 619-794-0451.

What is premises liability?

Premises liability is a legal concept that holds property owners and occupiers responsible for certain injuries and accidents that occur on their property. This liability arises from the duty of care that property owners owe to individuals who enter their premises.

What are some examples of premises liability claims?

Premises liability claims can arise from a number of situations where someone is injured as the result of unsafe conditions on someone else’s property. Common examples include:

Slip and Fall Accidents:

  • Slipping on a wet floor in a grocery store that wasn’t properly marked with warning signs.
  • Tripping over uneven pavement or a cracked sidewalk on a commercial property.

Inadequate Maintenance/Security:

  • Falling down stairs because a handrail was broken or missing.
  • Being injured by falling debris from a poorly maintained building facade.
  • Being assaulted in a parking lot of a shopping mall as the result of inadequate security.
  • Suffering injuries in an apartment complex after a broken security gate led to unauthorized entry.

Defective Conditions:

  • Suffering injuries from a malfunctioning elevator or escalator.
  • Being burned by hot water from a defective water heater.
  • Suffering burns or smoke inhalation from faulty wiring or lack of smoke detectors in a residential or commercial building.
  • Being electrocuted by exposed wires or defective electrical installations.

Swimming Pool Accidents:

  • Drowning/near-drowning incidents resulting from a lack of proper fencing/signage.
  • Injuries from diving into a pool without adequate depth markers or warnings.

Dog Bites/Animal Attacks:

  • Being bitten by a dog on the owner’s property.
  • Being attacked by an aggressive animal in a pet store or other public place.
  • Under California law, many dog-bite cases are “strict liability” – meaning that the owner of the dog is at fault, regardless of whether they acted negligently or not.

Retail Store/Construction Site Accidents:

  • Being struck by falling merchandise in a store where items were improperly stacked or secured.
  • Slipping on spilled products or broken glass in a retail environment that was not promptly cleaned up.
  • Being injured by falling objects, tripping over construction debris, or other hazards present at a construction site.

Toxic Chemical/Mold Exposure:

  • Experiencing health issues from exposure to mold, asbestos, or other hazardous substances in a rented property.
  • Being harmed by chemical leaks or spills in an industrial facility.
No two premises liability cases will be exactly the same, but they must share one commonality: in each case, the injured party must prove that the property owner or occupier was negligent in maintaining a safe environment.

Do you have a premises liability case? Speak to a premises liability lawyer today for a free case evaluation.

What is an attractive nuisance?

An attractive nuisance is a legal term that describes some element of a property that would entice a child into a dangerous situation. Under this doctrine, property owners may be held liable if children are injured by hazards on their property that are likely to attract children. Common examples include swimming pools, trampolines, playground equipment, ladders, abandoned vehicles and animals.

What damages are covered in premises liability lawsuits?

What damages are covered in premises liability lawsuits? Damages from premises liability lawsuits can cover a wide range of categories. This includes:
  • Medical expenses (emergency room visits, hospital stays, surgeries, doctor’s appointments, medications, physical therapy, and any other medical treatments related to the injury)
  • Future medical expenses if the injury requires long-term care or ongoing treatment
  • Lost wages from the inability to work during recovery
  • Future lost wages if the injury results in long-term disability or permanent impairment
  • Property damage
  • Transportation expenses and live-in care
  • Pain and suffering (physical pain and discomfort arising from the injury)
  • Emotional distress (anxiety, depression, trauma, and/or loss of enjoyment of life resulting from the injury)
  • Loss of consortium (changes to the plaintiff’s intimate relationships-loss of companionship, affection, and support and so forth-resulting from the injury)
  • Disfigurement/scarring
  • Loss of enjoyment of life (reduction in quality of life and ability to participate in activities enjoyed prior to the injury)
If the property owner’s conduct was particularly negligent, reckless, or malicious, the court might award punitive damages: additional costs intended to punish the defendant and deter similar conduct.

What is the statute of limitations for premises liability in California?

California laws offer two (2) years from the date of the incident to seek financial recovery in premises liability cases. Importantly, this statute is unaffected by any personal insurance claims you may also file. Your claim must be filed within a California court, within the two-year statute, to be considered valid.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Premise liability cases against the government have an extremely strict statute of limitations; you must file your case within six (6) months of the date of the accident, as per California Government Code 835. Read more below.

If you believe you have a case against a government entity, it is important to speak to a premises liability lawyer as soon as possible. Call us at 619-794-0451 to discuss your claim.

Who is responsible if someone gets hurt on your property in CA?

The property owner is responsible for providing reasonably safe conditions on their property, as well as any tenant or other person who has possession and/or control of the property. No element of their property should pose “unreasonable risk of injury to a guest or visitor,” as per the California premises liability law. This rule applies to businesses, private residences, and government property for all personal injury claims.

What is “strict liability law” in California?

Strict liability law simply means that the plaintiff (or injured person) does not need to prove the defendant’s negligence to bring a suit against them. Strict liability often applies to premises liability cases involving dog bites; it is enough that the plaintiff got bitten on the property, regardless of whether or not the responsible party was aware of the dog’s aggressive tendencies.

How do I file a lawsuit on my premises liability claim?

The first step in filing a premises liability lawsuit is getting a free case evaluation from a personal injury lawyer who specializes in these cases. They will review your case, determine if any negligent or wrongful acts contributed to your accident, and advocate with the property owner and/or insurance company to resolve your case.

Need to speak to a Premises Liability lawyer?
Contact us for a case evaluation at 619-794-0451.

Looking for a Los Angeles Government Liability Lawyer?

Premises liability claims involving dangerous conditions on public property are one of our law firm’s specialties. McKenzie Scott PC serves the state of California in cases involving government defendants. Contact us today to learn more.

Case Study: Veronica D. v. Vault PK

In 2017, a platform holding nearly 40 people collapsed inside of a Barrio Logan warehouse owned by the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS). During peak use hours, the subtenant was running a Groupon special-the uninspected structure crumbled under the weight, taking a staircase with it. Twenty-one children and two adults received hospital care for minor or moderate injuries; at least three victims suffered spinal injuries as a result of the collapse. Security video capturing the Vault PK platform collapsing clearly shows the distance of the fall, as well as the magnitude of the injuries. Please note that this video is graphic, and we strongly advise discretion when viewing. MTS received several code violations after the collapse, and plaintiffs learned that both San Diego Sports Entertainment Center (their tenant) and Vault PK (the business subleasing the space) failed to get the required permits. The evidence clearly showed that MTS had prior knowledge of how their tenants were going to use the storage warehouse and that the business owner failed to secure the appropriate permitting and inspection clearance required to do so. We believe that MTS, the property owner, owes the victims of this catastrophe compensation for failing to adequately oversee the uses of their space.

Because this was a case brought against a government entity, we had to act fast: the statute of limitations on government liability cases is just six (6) months from the date of the incident. This is in accordance with the procedural rules put forth in California’s Government Claims Act. (Read More: Cal. Gov. Code § 835) We also brought a suit against both the tenant (San Diego Sports Entertainment Center) and their subtenant (Vault PK) for their negligence. At trial, we showed that no defendant ever got any permit for inspection. This disaster only occurred because MTS negligently permitted a “storage-only” warehouse to be transformed into a movement space, in violation of numerous safety codes. The court ruled against both the tenant and subtenant in substantial verdicts but erred in ruling that the MTS warehouse was not sufficiently dangerous to implicate MTS under Cal. Gov. Code § 835. Our team got the case reversed on appeal and will be retrying the case against MTS soon.

NOTE: Do you have a case concerning dangerous conditions on public land? Premise liability cases against the government have an extremely strict statute of limitations; you must file your case within six (6) months of the date of the accident. Talk to a government liability lawyer as soon as possible if you have a similar case.

Call us at (619) 794-0451 or fill out our online contact form to schedule your free consultation. We work on a contingency fee basis, meaning you pay nothing unless we win your case. Let us help you take the first step towards recovery and justice.

Our experienced San Diego premises liability attorneys are committed to helping you navigate the legal complexities in cases against government entities. We’re here to ensure that your rights are protected—while fighting for the compensation you deserve.

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    Ready to pursue justice for your Premise liability case? Contact the experienced and proven attorneys at McKenzie Scott for a case evaluation at 619-794-0451.


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