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Premises Liability and Theft

Are Property Owners Liable for the Theft of Your Belongings on Their Premises?

In California, theft is a recurring issue that thousands of residents face nearly every week. Of all reported property crimes that have taken place in 2019, 68 percent were larceny theft, 17 percent were burglaries, and 15 percent were auto thefts.

Individuals often experience losing irreplaceable belongings and wonder who is liable for their losses. Although this type of situation can be a complicated case to solve, it is still very much possible to catch the culprit(s).

If you had your prized possession(s) stolen and believe that your landlord did not establish enough safety measures to prevent the situation from occurring, you may be eligible to file a claim against them for your losses. At West Coast Trial Lawyers, our experienced Los Angeles premises liability attorneys will assess your case to determine what necessary courses of action should be considered to get you the compensation you deserve. 

If you are interested in using our services, please contact our 24/7 legal team by calling (213) 927-3700 or filling out our quick contact form to schedule a free consultation at our Los Angeles personal injury law firm. 

Can I Sue My Landlord for Theft in California?

Technically, you can sue almost anyone for almost anything. The burden relies on the plaintiff to prove to the court that the defendant’s negligence caused them personal damage or harm. These damages don’t always have to be physical, as many courts will compensate you for other losses, as well. 

If you’ve had property stolen from your home or on your landlord’s property then they may be held liable if they didn’t take basic safety measures. These measures are different depending on the state and city, but most landlords are required to provide: 

  1. Pristine structure, which includes floor, stairs, walls, and rooftops 
  2. Proper locks on doors and mailboxes  
  3. Clean and safe common areas, such as a lobby or hallway
  4. Secured windows and fences 
  5. Reasonable measures against the threat of foreseeable criminal intrusions 

As with most cases, it is the victim’s burden to prove negligence. They must show that the landlord knew about the current conditions and did nothing to change them. For example, if you were robbed because of a broken lock on your front door, you would have to prove that you had repeatedly brought it to the landlord’s attention. In the same fashion, your landlord is responsible if a contract worker steals or damages your property.   

What Are Hotels Liable for?

For the most part, hotels are completely liable for the safety of their guests and their guest’s property. Similar to rental law, hotels have a duty of care to their guests and it is the responsibility of the victim to prove that hotel management was negligent. 

Under premises liability law, a hotel guest is an “invitee” which means they were legally invited on the premises and under those grounds they are owed a greater level of protection. The hotel must conduct routine inspections and readily repair dangerous conditions. 

Some of the hotel’s obligations are to:

  • Install locks on each hotel room.
  • Have enough security, including guards and cameras.
  • Train staff.
  • Maintain the elevators and stairs to ensure they are safe for guests to use.
  • Prevent insect infestations. 

If you can prove that the hotel directly contributed towards your injury or losses then you may have a premises liability case. The hotel is not liable for injuries that occur beyond their foreseeable scope of view, such as an injury caused by another guest or if the victims own negligent actions added to the injury.

Vicarious liability is the legal term used when a company is held liable for its employee’s behavior if it falls under the course of their employment. This includes but is not limited to bullying, harassment, violent, illegal, or sexual acts. Under this legal theory, the hotel is liable for its employee’s actions even if they are unaware of them. Although California hotels have limited liability when it comes to theft in most cases, the law is cut and dry.         

Airbnb’s and Theft  

Generally speaking, both a host and a guest have the right to sue if their property has been stolen or damaged. Again, the burden of proof would be on the accuser. Though it is always recommended to call the police first and get a police report, Airbnb usually handles these situations internally. 

By filing a claim at the Airbnb Resolution Center, you can be refunded for the stolen items through the company’s insurance policy. Payments are usually taken from the guest’s security deposit. 

Contact Us to Find Out How We Can Help

If you have sustained injuries in Los Angeles as a result of a premises liability accident, our Los Angeles premises liability attorneys at West Coast Trial Lawyers will help you recover compensation for the losses you have suffered, including medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering. 

Contact us today by calling (213) 927-3700 or filling out our quick contact form to schedule a free consultation with our experienced, caring, and compassionate legal team.

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