Actual & Constructive Notice: Did Owners Know About Unsafe Conditions?

Actual & Constructive Notice: Did Owners Know About Unsafe Conditions?

When it comes to litigating premises liability claims in California, 律师需要非常熟悉客户受伤的情况, and the nuances of California laws regarding the key elements of these cases.

That includes not only the duty of care 土地所有人采取合理措施,使其财产处于安全状态(并需要证明其违反了义务), 还要求原告证明被告是知情的, in some form, of the unsafe condition.

This is known as notice, and it’s an important concept in premises cases:

Notice Requirement in Premises Liability Cases

In premises cases, 业主不能仅仅因为不知道有危险的情况,就声称他们不对客人的伤害负责. However, they’re usually not going to admit they did. Therefore, Plaintiffs have the burden of proving:

  1. The existence of a dangerous condition; and
  2. That the landowner had notice of the dangerous condition which caused their injury.

众所周知,业主并不是客人安全的“保险公司”, 加州法律确实要求土地所有者“在保持房屋合理安全方面采取合理的谨慎”.” (Ortega v. Kmart Corp.).

因此,业主可以对受害者的损害承担经济责任(i.e. their medical bills, lost income, 和痛苦)当这些损害由伤害引起的危险条件的所有者 knew about, or should have known about.

Actual & Constructive Knowledge

Knowledge means knowing something, and for legal purposes, it can be broken down into two categories: actual and constructive.

  • Actual knowledge means actually knowing something. If you actually know or knew 你的车道上有个洞,因为你每天都开车经过或者看到它, you have a duty to take steps to warn of that danger, or protect people from stepping into it.
  • Constructive knowledge means something a person could reasonably be expected to know; in other words, something they should have known. 如果一个你雇来重新做景观美化的承包商在你的车道上挖了个洞,你会的 constructively know 因为是你雇他们在你的地盘上干活的. Even if you didn’t actually know about the hole (i.e. see it or were told about it), 如果你真的知道这个洞,你对它的责任是一样的.

实体性知识和建构性知识是侵权行为中的重要概念, as they can form the basis for liability. Plaintiffs who bring premises liability claims, for example, 必须证明业主有实际或推定的危险情况通知.

Actual Notice

Plaintiffs may prove a property owner had actual notice 危险的情况,危险的情况是由:

  1. The owner themselves; or
  2. An employee of the owner in the course of their employment;

Per California case law and the California Civil Jury Instructions (CACI 1012), 如该危险情况是由雇员在其受雇范围内行事而引致的,业主已接获该危险情况的实际通知(Hatfield v. Levy Bros). This is known as imputed notice, 哪一种合法的说法是假设一方当事人拥有信息是因为他们与实际知晓该信息的其他人之间的关系.

一个场所所有人将有一个危险的条件的实际通知,无论他们疏忽地创造了它自己或其中一个雇员疏忽地创造了它在执行与工作相关的职责. For example, actual notice exists when:

  • An owner leaves a stack of large boxes in the middle of an aisle;
  • An employee spills liquid on the floor of a business;
  • 一个工人移走了一件设备,但留下了它的碎片或部分.

Constructive Notice

Plaintiffs in premises cases may also establish notice as constructive notice. This can be done in various ways, such as by arguing:

  • The dangerous condition existed long enough for a property owner, using reasonable care, to have discovered the hazard and repair it, protect against it, or adequately warn guests about it (CACI 1011). For example, 原告可能会争辩说,店主没有对他们的财产进行定期或充分的检查, 导致他们错过了地板上已经存在好几个小时的一个大水坑. Generally, 业主有义务不断地、频繁地检查其房地对公众开放的区域(奥尔特加五. K-Mart). 在危险情况持续很长时间的情况下, regardless of who created them, 原告和他们的律师可以收集诸如检查日志之类的证据, video surveillance, and company policies regarding inspection frequency as part of their property accident investigations 以证明被告未能遵守他们自己的程序或规则, 以及/或一个简单的检查如何避免原告的伤害.
  • A property owner had constructive notice through prior incidents, 意思是过去曾发生过涉及相同或类似危险情况的事故,造成原告的伤害. 例如,投诉记录、关于受伤客户的事故报告和 slip and fall lawsuits 反对业主可以用来证明地主有建设性的通知. To be admissible as evidence, however, 先前有关事件的情况必须与案件中有争议的情况大致相似(Simmons v. Southern Pac. Transportation Co.).

Other Issues: Subsequent Incidents & Mode of Operation

在调查通知和过失时,可能会提出其他密切相关的问题. For example, Plaintiffs may find:

  • There are other similar subsequent incidents. 原告可能会使用随后类似事件的证据作为一种手段来证明正在发生的危险情况和业主的疏忽. Just as with prior incidents, 这些案件必须涉及与原告案件中所争论的相同或实质上相似的情况,才能作为证据.
  • The property owner’s mode of operation, or how a business operates, impacts their duty. For example, 原告可能会争辩说,他们的伤害是由一种危险状况造成的,考虑到企业的性质,这种危险状况是可以合理预见的, such as premises owner having a smoothie bar in its department store, which would enable customers to carry drinks with them as they shop. In California, Courts have ruled that 业主的经营方式并不能减轻原告举证的负担 (Moore v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.). 然而,它会影响关于他们是否疏忽的决定. 如果一个店主的商业行为使其更有可能存在危险的情况, for example, 他们采取预防措施的责任将相应增加. For a store with a smoothie bar inside of it, 这可能意味着更频繁的检查是合理的.

Legal Help From a Boutique Father-Son Law Firm

Biren Law Group是一家精品父子律师事务所,数十年来专注于代表洛杉矶各地的受伤受害者和家属. If you have questions about a potential premises liability case, our award-winning attorneys are available to help. 我们为客户服务,并在整个南加州接受买球软件下载. Contact us to speak with a lawyer.


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