San Francisco Premises Liability Lawyers
When property owners fail to protect tenants, guests, passersby and visitors from injury, you need attorneys who have experience in the field of property-related injuries.
The premises liability attorneys at Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger have more than 50 years of experience representing clients who have been injured through the fault of property owners, property managers and commercial business owners.
Our team of premises liability professionals has successfully prosecuted claims against the owners of both commercial and private property throughout California. Walkup attorneys work with safety engineers, property management experts, industrial hygienists, architects and engineers to identify and prove fault and to secure compensation on your behalf.
Experienced Bay Area Personal Injury Lawyers
Walkup Melodia's premises liability practice includes representing injured clients against private landowners, government building owners, corporate building owners and others who own and manage real property. We have successfully brought claims on behalf of injured clients for property-related cases involving:
- Rotted steps, stairways and exterior decks
- Slip-and-fall injuries
- Falling objects
- Dog bites
- Unsafe stairwells
- Poor lighting
Securing financial compensation in premises liability cases can be difficult because of the legal requirements for holding owners, builders and occupiers responsible. Those issues include clarifying factual issues of ownership, responsibility and medical causation.
Through the years, we have recovered more than $100 million on behalf of clients injured as a result of property owner or property manager negligence and fault. Our legal team is highly experienced in helping injured Californians navigate the complicated array of legal and evidentiary issues that a premises liability case can pose.
San Francisco Inadequate Security Lawsuit Attorneys
In addition to representing individuals injured by improperly maintained homes, unsafe workplaces, malfunctioning elevators and escalators, trip-and-fall hazards and dog bites, our attorneys handle cases involving inadequate commercial security measures.
You have a right to be safe when you are in a hotel, motel, apartment complex or other public or commercial place. Crime prevention and security, or lack thereof, play an important role in cases where someone is the victim of a crime in a public or commercial place.
Inadequate security claims can arise out of injuries on most any type of property, including:
- Apartment buildings
- Parking lots and ramps
- Amusement parks
- Shopping malls
- Hotels and motels
- Bars and restaurants
All of these places invite the public to be present, and often to spend money, and you have a right to be safe from injury while on the property.
Our legal team handles premises liability cases throughout San Francisco, including South of Market, Mission Bay, Chinatown and the Tenderloin district. If you would like a free consultation to discuss your case, call us at 888-799-3968 or contact the Walkup firm online.
A Long Record Of Successful California Premises Liability Claims
Defective Commercial Building Elevator — $4.5 Million Settlement
Walkup Melodia's premises liability lawyers obtained a $4.5 million settlement on behalf of an 80-year-old woman who attempted to board an elevator and tripped because the floor had "misleveled" and was higher than the floor of the adjacent lobby. She fell forward and struck her head on the back of the elevator and suffered partial paralysis as a result. Despite her age, at the time of her injury she was working as a full-time receptionist. The injury happened at her workplace during her morning break. Discovery revealed that the elevator system was more than 50 years old and there had been a number of problems with it in the past. Rich and Matt also discovered correspondence from an elevator consultant who had warned the building owner several years before the accident that it needed to modernize the elevators or risk passengers getting injured and filing lawsuits. With workers' compensation benefits, our client's total recovery was $5.3 million.
Summer Homeowner Negligence — $3.3 Fire Settlement
Walkup Melodia's premises team represented a 19-year-old who sustained second- and third-degree burns over 85 percent of his body and endured dozens of surgeries following a fire and explosion in a vacation home in the Sierra foothills. The property owners (who were also the sole shareholders of a contracting corporation that had built homes on properties purchased by them) had only $300,000 in liability coverage and had declared personal bankruptcy. Our attorneys brought suit against the contracting corporation under the theory that the bankrupt shareholders and their closed corporation were a joint venture, which, if proved, would render the company vicariously liable for the acts of the individual defendants.
Office Building Trip-And-Fall — $2.1 Million Settlement
Our commercial property premises liability team concluded a premises liability case in the amount of $2.1 million on behalf of a 46-year-old professional who suffered traumatic brain injuries after falling 15 feet into an open elevator shaft.
The fall occurred in a commercial building where the plaintiff rented an office on the second floor.
The building owner locked the passenger elevator on the weekends to prevent ground-floor restaurant patrons from accessing other floors of the building. The plaintiff was not given a key to the passenger elevator and had to use the freight elevator on the weekends. On the day he was injured, he opened the freight elevator expecting the car to be there, but when he stepped inside, the elevator shaft was empty. Suit was brought against both the owner of the building and the company that serviced and maintained the freight elevator.
The elevator was designed so that the doors were not supposed to open unless the elevator car was present. At deposition, it was revealed that the building owner's uncertified "handyman" performed negligent repairs to the elevator in violation of the California Labor Code. Rich and Conor proved that the elevator maintenance company should have recognized problems with the freight elevator and taken remedial action months before the plaintiff's fall.
Fall From Hotel Window – Seven-Figure Confidential Settlement
Walkup's premises liability team represented a hotel guest who fell from a third-floor window, obtaining a major settlement in a confidential seven-figure amount on his behalf. Our client was a visiting 39-year-old CEO who fell in the middle of the night. He sustained a comminuted grade III open fracture of the left ankle, a burst fracture in his spine at L-3 and a compression injury to the right ulnar nerve.
The ankle injury required complex surgery and produced permanent lymphedema and a limp. Our client could remember nothing about the fall. The most reasonable explanation revolved around the probability of an attack of hypoglycemia with resulting fainting.
After obtaining a court order to compel production of the defendant's internal safety and security manuals, our fall specialists demonstrated that the window in the plaintiff's room violated corporate safety standards because it was too close to the floor and could be opened beyond 24 inches. The defendant argued that the design of the windows complied with all applicable building code(s). After mediation, the parties settled for a combination of cash and future tax-free monthly payments.
Fall Over Faulty Railing — $1.6 Million Settlement
Our property owner negligence trial lawyers recovered $1.6 million on behalf of a year- Marin resident who fell from a second-story balcony while visiting a friend's cabin near Lake Tahoe. The plaintiff leaned against a deck railing to speak to his friend below and it gave way. He fell more than 20 feet, landing on his feet and sustaining a severely comminuted calcaneus fracture and a spinal compression fracture. During discovery, it was revealed that the defendant had installed the deck railing shortly before the incident, but had not properly secured it. Within days of the fall, the plaintiff underwent surgery to repair the calcaneus fracture. He underwent a second surgery a year later to remove the hardware placed during the first surgery. He claimed past medical expenses and the cost of a future surgery. Medical expense were $140,000. Lost wages were in excess of $200,000.
Residential Fire – $1.5 Million Settlement
Our premises liability team represented the mother and father of a 23-year-old college student who needlessly and tragically died when the rented apartment in which he slept, owned by a Bay Area landlord, burned because the landlord negligently left a sofa over a floor furnace and failed to equip the home with functioning smoke detectors. Our attorneys proved that the landlord, who owned more than 60 properties, had failed to make required and proper inspections and to make certain that smoke detectors were working. After the fire, our attorneys, through investigators, demonstrated that not a single operational smoke detector was present on the second floor of the dwelling where our clients' son perished. The settlement, in the amount of $1.5 million, was paid by the insurance company for the property owner.
Defective Apartment Heater – $1 Million Carbon Monoxide Settlement
Our premises liability attorneys prosecuted an action against a residential landlord for cognitive impairment suffered by a mother and her adolescent son following chronic carbon monoxide exposure in their rented apartment. Our clients experienced daily exposure at injury-producing levels of CO as a result of a malfunctioning gas-fired apartment wall heater. The landlord of the rental dwelling failed to regularly inspect, maintain and repair the heater in the Oakland apartment. The apartment did not have a carbon monoxide detector. While the heater continuously emitted carbon monoxide and soot, the mother and son developed headaches and nausea. Upon discovery of the presence of elevated levels of carbon monoxide by Pacific Gas & Electric, medical providers checked the boy's carboxyhemoglobin level and found that it was excessively high. As a result of the chronic carbon monoxide exposure, our clients suffered mild irreversible brain damage, including deterioration in executive function, concentration and emotional damages. Walkup Melodia's lawyers settled the action prior to trial in the full amount of the landlord's liability insurance of $1 million.
Trip-And-Fall On Sidewalk Defect – $875,000 Settlement
Our trip-and-fall injury specialists obtained a mediated resolution of this fall case in the amount of $875,000 on behalf of a 62-year-old gynecologist who fell at a city parking lot that was under renovation. The defendant city had hired a private contractor to perform construction work at a downtown location. The work included installation of in-ground planting containers adjacent to the pedestrian walkway, which gave egress for the parking area. In-ground excavated planting areas, which incorporated a 3½-inch drop-off, were left unfilled and unplanted during the last phase of construction. Neither of the defendants protected against the hazard. At the time of his injury, the plaintiff was walking toward a restaurant for dinner. In the darkness of evening, there was no warning of the change in elevation. He fell and fractured his right wrist, preventing him from performing standard obstetrical procedures. Past medical bills and lost wages were approximately $200,000. Retired Contra Costa Superior Court Judge Richard Flier mediated the matter.
Mervyn's Department Store Slip-And-Fall – $500,000 Settlement
Our premises team successfully concluded an action against Mervyn's Department Stores on behalf of a 47-year-old woman who slipped and fell at a Mervyn's Store on a piece of discarded cardboard. The packaging, which had been negligently left on the floor in violation of store rules and guidelines, was the same color as the carpeting and could not be seen easily by patrons shopping at the facility. Our premises liability team demonstrated that Mervyn's personnel, responsible for supervising the area, had violated store policy by not making routine and periodic inspections of the sales floor. The settlement, in the amount of $500,000, compensated our client for a herniated lumbar disk and her resulting inability to continue in her occupation.
Falling Store Merchandise – $200,000 Settlement
Our premises liability team negotiated a settlement with a value in excess of $200,000 on behalf of a 3-year-old child who was seriously injured when a display fell on her at the defendant's home center. The child was at the store shopping with her parents when the accident occurred. The managers of the store attempted to claim that the display collapse was the fault of the child or her parents for not supervising the youngster. Our team was able to successfully argue that in California, a child under the age of 5 is incapable of contributory fault. The display, which incorporated a door jamb and was advertising the availability of replacement home doors, weighed more than 100 pounds. The child's injuries included severe lacerations that resulted in permanent scarring, notwithstanding plastic surgery.
Defective Restaurant Chair – $125,000 Settlement
Our premises liability team obtained a settlement exceeding $125,000 on behalf of a 36-year-old woman injured at a Lyon's Restaurant when the seat she was sitting on failed, causing her to spill forward onto the floor. As a result of the fall, our client developed chronic back pain that was ultimately diagnosed as a herniated disk. The herniation was treated with minimally invasive surgery. The defendant restaurant claimed, originally, that the accident never occurred because it had not been reported. After extensive investigation, our team was able to identify a former waitress who confirmed that the bench from which our client fell had been broken for an extended period of time before the injury. Our client's medical bills exceeded $12,000.
Contact Our Premises Liability Law Firm
Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger handles premises liability cases throughout the Bay Area, including San Francisco, Oakland, Fremont and Santa Clara.
If you or a loved one has been injured due to the negligence of a property owner, call us at 888-799-3968 or contact us online. Our consultations are free and confidential.