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WHAT IS A DANGEROUS CONDITION OF PUBLIC PROPERTY?

California Government Code, Section 830(a) states that a “dangerous condition” means a condition of property that creates a substantial (as distinguished from a minor, trivial or insignificant) risk of injury when such property or adjacent property is used with due care in a manner in which it is reasonably foreseeable that it will be used. Under the Government Code, the public entity must repair, remedy or correct the dangerous condition, provide safeguards against the dangerous condition, or warn of a dangerous condition. This includes property that is either owned by the public entity or controlled by the public entity.

The essential elements of public entity liability for dangerous condition of public property depends on proof that the public entity created the condition at issue; had actual or constructive notice of its condition; and that the property was being used with due care in a reasonably foreseeable manner.

What is and is not a dangerous condition is a very fact-specific determination, focusing upon the “when used with due care in a reasonably foreseeable manner”. If it can be shown that the property is safe when used with due care and that a risk of harm is created only when the foreseeable user(s) fails to exercise due care, then such property is not “dangerous” within the definition of “dangerous condition” of public property.

Needless to say, traversing the Government Code, the Code of Civil Procedure, and all of the defenses and immunities available to the public entity can be difficult and deceptive. What is clear is that an injured party (plaintiff) is entitled to recover all damages legally caused by the dangerous condition of public property, assuming the plaintiff meets his burden of proving the damages that have flowed from the public entity’s negligence. Once again, the elements of damages, proof of damages, defenses and immunities are familiar issues with the litigation attorneys at Heiting & Irwin.

If you have a claim against a governmental entity for dangerous condition of property or any other form of claim for injuries and damages arising out of the negligent act of an individual or employee, do not delay, and seek an immediate consultation with the attorneys at Heiting & Irwin.

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