How Investigations Work in Property-Related Accident Cases

How Investigations Work in Property-Related Accident Cases

房地责任允许在他人财产上受到伤害的受害者,在业主或经理未能合理地采取行动辨认时,认为他们有过错, fixing, and / or warning about dangerous conditions.

然而,决定一个业主是否可以对其土地上的伤害负责,取决于 individual facts of a case; in other words, whether a “duty of care” existed and to what degree, 会永远依赖于事故周围独特的环境吗.

因为前提案例取决于将一般的法律理论或法院判决应用于非常具体的事实情况, 一刀切的方法甚至会导致有经验的律师忽略许多不同的可能性和可能存在的责任.

At Biren Law Group, 我们通过调整beat365手机中文官方网站策略来确定错误和责任,通过计算步骤来避免这种类型的隧道视野, and leveraging our experience, reputation, and resources to perform thorough investigations which focus on the key elements of premises liability. That includes an approach consisting of:

  1. Informal Discovery & Client Interviews
  2. Evidence Preservation
  3. Site Inspections
  4. Witnesses
  5. Formal Discovery

Investigations: Steps for a Successful Premises Claim

1. Informal Discovery: Client Interviews

Discovery is the formal legal process of obtaining and sharing evidence, but such work can be done, to some degree, long before discovery formally begins. One of the most important steps of building a premises case, for example, 将客户作为直接信息资源,了解需要评估的基本事实和问题:

  • How the accident occurred and in what context (i.e. lighting conditions, weather conditions, and time of day);
  • 是否有目击者看到发生了什么或者知道危险情况是如何发生的;
  • If there is a known history of prior similar incidents;
  • 客户或其他相关人员是否有与当前事件相关的潜在有价值的证据(i.e. photos, video footage of the scene, documentation, communications, etc.).

In addition to getting critical data points from clients, 早期的探索和讨论可以帮助预测潜在的防御, 比如争论客户的疏忽导致或促成了事故的发生. 在客户面试过程中,个性化的问题可以帮助客户准备共同的防御和创造性的弧线球. For example:

  • What type of clothing / work gear / shoes was the client wearing? Did they pose trip or fall risks? Can they be inspected and preserved as evidence?
  • Was the client distracted, walking while texting, running to catch a bus, 或参与任何可能导致事故的活动?
  • 为什么客户会在那个地方,他们有权利在那个地方吗?
  • 客户是否应该能够很容易地识别危险情况?

2. Evidence Preservation (Demand to Preserve Evidence)

书面要求保存证据是前提案件早期阶段的另一个关键步骤, 因为它们可以作为在业主面前的第一个“出现”, put the defense on notice, and alert them that victims have an intent to pursue damages.

Demands to preserve help accomplish two important objectives:

  1. Evaluating evidence early in a case: Victims and attorneys may request CCTV or surveillance footage, HOA meeting minutes, job safety analyses, incident reports, and other relevant information before 提起任何诉讼,并提供时间来评估证据和制定攻击计划.
  2. Preserving important evidence: By putting a defendant on notice, “要求”还提供了一种手段,可以对败诉的被告实施潜在制裁, alter, or destroy evidence in their custody (Cedars-Sinai Medical Center v. Superior Court (1998) 18 Cal.4th 1).

3. Site Inspections

Attorneys may visit and walk a premises in person, bringing clients or witnesses who are familiar with the scene, when possible, to point out where the incident occurred, 造成或促成该事件的任何危险情况的位置(i.e. puddles in a slip and fall case), and other details relevant to a case. 对事故现场的早期检查可能会引出受害者可能不记得的信息, seen, or viewed as consequential to their claims at the time.

In some cases, attorneys may also bring experts to site inspects. These experts may assist in accident reconstruction, or provide opinions on hazards or liability issues specific to the site, industry, regulations or codes, or the types of issues involved in a case.

早期现场检查提供了评估案件关键部分的机会,例如:

  • Whether a dangerous condition is as dangerous as initially presumed, or to what degree injuries were foreseeable;
  • 责任理论和适用于具体情况的问题, such as trivial defects, open and obvious defects, and actual or constructive notice;
  • 案件的潜在优势,以及可能需要的时间和资源.

根据事故发生的地点,访问事故现场可能需要额外的步骤. In California, state law allows for the following:

  • Public Property: 如处所对公众开放,被告无须获通知查阅(Pullin v. Superior Court (2000) 81 Cal.App.4th 1161).
  • Private Property: If a premises is private property, 被告必须被告知原告进行现场检查的意图, 并通过书面的现场检查通知(包括建议的时间)要求进入, date, and location.

4. Witnesses

During the informal stages of investigation, 重点应该是确定和询问任何可能的证人. 与客户面谈有助于获得已知证人的信息, as can site inspections, 或由调查人员来协助辨认潜在证人. If witnesses do exist, they should be interviewed as soon as possible, as memories can and do fade with time.

5. Formal Discovery

Formal discovery is a time when Inspection and Access demands are made. As the cornerstone of premises liability litigation, 生产请求应该是全面的,并且针对案例中确定的问题. Under the CA Civil Discovery Act, 被告有义务在要求时提供他们所拥有的证据, including:

  • Photos, diagrams, and blueprints of the site and incident area;
  • Video footage of the scene at and around the time of the incident;
  • Safety manuals, company policies, Board / HOA meeting minutes or newsletters, and other internal documents maintained by property owners;
  • Contracts held by property owners with any third parties who manage, clean, or perform work or services on the premises;
  • 业主所持有的维修/检查记录或事故报告;
  • 在事件发生前后,任何类似事件或投诉的报告.

In addition to requesting evidence, 正式的发现还可能包括关键证人的宣誓作证(宣誓后的正式面谈), including:

  • Key personnel with knowledge of the condition of the premises, including any parties identified in interrogatories (i.e. 保安、HOA成员、董事会成员、物业管理、维修人员和其他承包商.)
  • 被告人最了解情况的人、侦查人员或者委托人指认的主要证人;
  • Workers on duty at the time of the accident, those who made incident reports, and any person with the client at the time.

因为被告寻求减轻责任可能会认为原告对自己造成的伤害负有部分责任, they may attempt to introduce comparative negligence evidence. Just as it is import to request, preserve, and secure the admission of evidence which favors victims, 同样重要的是,要反对辩方引入这类证据,特别是如果它误导或混淆了陪审团(《beat365手机中文官方网站》第352节)的职责问题, 而不是他们的任务是评估护理标准.

Biren Law Group: A Proven Father-Son Team

Premises cases 这就是为什么有效的调查策略是如此重要. Investigations built on tactfulness, civility, 在合作中,各方诚信的培养也会给CAM带来好处, and when negotiation settlements or taking a case to trial.

作为一个父子法律团队,优先与客户建立密切的工作关系, colleagues, 和领先的专家Biren Law Group可以有效地导航一系列的场所事故调查横跨L.A. area and Southern California. Contact us to speak confidentially with an attorney.

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