Premises Liability—Owner or Occupier?

Premises-Liability-Owner-or-Occupier.jpgIn California, as in other states, the legal concept of premises liability imposes a duty to maintain the premises in such a way as to minimize the risk of injury to anyone legally on the property. This requirement has broad scope, covering all aspects of real property, from steps, stairs, ramps and decks to hallways, floors and elevators. The duty also extends to sidewalks, driveways, parking ramps and lots. The duty does not extend to trespassers, and anyone legally on the property must use the property for normal purposes or for a purpose reasonably foreseeable by the owner or occupier of the property.

But a key question can focus on just who has the duty, particularly if the property is owned by one party and occupied by another. When there’s a commercial or residential lease, who has the duty to keep the property maintained and safe for visitors? As with most situations, the answer is “it depends.” It’s good practice, though, to notify both the owner and the tenant of any injuries you have suffered on residential or commercial property.

Injuries on Commercial Property

Most commercial leases address the issue of liability for injury on the premises. It’s not your responsibility to determine, however, who has responsibility. If you notify the tenant (business owner), they’ll likely pass the matter on to the building owner if their agreement imposes liability on the owner.

Injuries on Residential Property

One of the key considerations with injuries on residential property is where the accident occurred. As a general rule, the tenant has responsibility for anything moveable inside the apartment and the landlord has responsibility for everything outside the apartment, in common areas and everything immovable inside the apartment. There may be exceptions, though. If the tenant knows of a dangerous condition involving something immovable inside the apartment or something outside the apartment, if the condition is known and the tenant has not notified the landlord.

Contact the Law Offices of J. Lewis & Associates

To discuss your legal needs with an experienced Riverside personal injury lawyer, contact our office online or call us toll-free at 1-800-228-0507. There is no charge for your initial consultation. Se Habla Espanol.

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