Landlord Liability in a Personal Injury Property Accident
Can a Landlord be Held Liable for Injuries That Happen on Their Property?
All property owners have a legal duty to keep their premises safe. Therefore, a property owner may be held liable for failing to maintain their premises in safe conditions if someone is injured or killed because of their negligence.
People sustain injuries every year in the city because of hazardous conditions that property owners could or should have prevented. Fortunately, many accidents only result in minor injuries. But some incidents can cause serious injuries or death, and victims may be entitled to receive compensation.
The term “premises liability” refers to a property owner or a controller’s legal responsibility to visitors, which can be invitees, licensees, or even trespassers. By law, landlords have responsibilities they must fulfill based on the status of the visitor.
Invitees are entitled to the greatest duty of care as they have been invited onto the property. A licensee is still owed a duty of care, but not as much as an invitee is. A licensee enters a property for their own reasons, such as a utility worker. Nevertheless, they have permission to be on the property. A trespasser has no reason or right to be on the property and is owed no duty of care whatsoever unless the trespasser is a child.
Under California law, tenants are considered a landlord’s invitees, which means they must take due care to ensure their safety. A landlord owes their renters the highest duty of care. This means regularly checking their property for obvious and not so obvious dangers, repairing damage as it occurs, and if necessary, posting adequate signage to warn residents about any potential hazards. Furthermore, a landlord must address slip and fall risks, damaged structures, security, and more.
Common Premises Liability Cases
A slip and fall injury is the most common accident that can occur due to property owner negligence, but premises liability injuries can happen from more than uneven or slippery surfaces. Premises liability law includes injuries caused by:
- Pool accidents
- Elevator and escalator accidents
- Negligent security
- Swimming pools
- Dog bites
- Falling objects
- Poor construction
- Defective electrical wiring
- Snow or water on walkways
- Building code violations
In essence, a property owner who fails to fulfill their duty of care to a renter — and this negligence causes harm or death — may be held liable for any losses sustained.
Property Owner Liability
It is crucial that you revise your rental agreement for any clauses that attempt to shield the landlord from liability after a premises liability accident. However, the inclusion of such language is not enough to protect a landlord from liability, especially when they were negligent regarding their legally mandated duty of care. Regardless of such exclusionary clauses, a renter is still entitled to file a premises liability claim in the event of an injury.
Property owners or managers cannot completely shield themselves from liability by purchasing premises liability insurance or by delegating the important task of maintaining their property in safe conditions. A property owner or manager is always responsible for the safety of their premises, even if they delegate maintenance tasks to an employee or hire an independent party who is then found guilty of negligence.
You will, however, need to prove that the landlord was guilty of negligence in order to recover damages for your losses. Negligence can be anything that falls outside of the realm of duties in a situation resulting in harm to someone else. For starters, this means proving that you were an invitee and your landlord did not fulfill their legal duty of care to you.
If you have suffered injuries in a premises liability incident, you may be entitled to compensatory damages for:
Furthermore, you may also be entitled to punitive damages if it can be proven that a property owner acted with conscious disregard for safety. Punitive damages are awarded at the court’s discretion and are intended to punish a wrongdoer for deliberate acts of negligence or malice.
West Coast Trial Lawyers Is Here to Help
If you have sustained injuries as a result of a premises liability accident, you have the right to hold the guilty party responsible. A premises liability attorney at West Coast Trial Lawyers can help you recover financial compensation for the losses you have suffered, including medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Call us today at (888) 979-9356 or email [email protected] to schedule a free consultation with our knowledgeable, caring, and compassionate legal team.