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Am I Liable If Someone Gets Hurt on My Property?

Premises liability is a realm within the legal framework that places the onus on property owners for injuries sustained within their premises. This obligation encompasses both private domains, such as homes and stores, as well as public spaces like parks. Property owners bear the responsibility of maintaining a safe environment and taking reasonable measures to safeguard visitors. Failing to do so, leading to harm, may result in liability for the resulting damages.

What are Examples of Premises Liability Claims? 

The realm of premises liability is pivotal, as it aids in ascertaining accountability for injuries sustained on another individual’s property. The following outlines some of the recurrent premises liability claims.

    Among the most prevalent premises liability scenarios are slip and fall incidents. These accidents arise when individuals slip or trip due to negligence or substandard maintenance on someone else’s property. Common hazards encompass slippery floors, loose rugs or carpets, insufficient lighting, icy walkways, or obstructed pathways.
    Negligent security claims can be directed at various establishments, including apartment complexes, hotels, shopping malls, restaurants, schools, hospitals, and, in some instances, private homes. These cases involve situations where visitors endure injuries due to inadequate security measures, such as malfunctioning locks or improperly activated alarms.
    If an individual is bitten or harmed by someone’s dog, they may initiate a premises liability claim. In California, pet owners are held strictly liable for their pets’ actions, regardless of prior knowledge regarding their animal’s potential danger. There is no “one free bite” rule in this context.

What is the Duty of Care to Different Visitors on the Property? 

The level of care owed to an injured party hinges on their relationship with the property owner and the specific circumstances. Individuals may fall into the categories of invitee, licensee, or trespasser, which determines the corresponding duty of care.

  • INVITEES AND LICENSEES: Invitees possess explicit permission from property owners to access the premises for business or commercial purposes, such as shoppers in a supermarket or patrons in a restaurant. Licensees are also invited onto the property, but their presence cannot be for the property owner’s financial gain, such as guests at a party. Both invitees and licensees can file premises liability claims if they sustain injuries due to preventable hazardous conditions on the property.
  • TRESPASSERS: In contrast to invitees and licensees, trespassers do not possess consent or permission to be on the property. In California, property owners usually do not owe a duty of care to trespassers. Their only requirement is to avoid causing intentional harm or exhibiting reckless disregard for safety.

What is California’s Premises Liability Legislation? 

Individuals who own, possess, or control property must exercise reasonable care in property maintenance, regular inspection, repairs of any hazardous conditions, and adequate warning regarding potential dangers. Thus, if an individual sustains injuries on your property, you might be held liable. To establish liability, the plaintiff must prove:

  • Ownership, lease, occupancy, or control of the property.
  • Negligence in property use and maintenance.
  • Suffering harm.
  • Causation of harm by the owner’s negligence.

Adherence to these legal obligations is essential for property owners to ensure safety. Regular property inspections and prompt rectification of potential dangers can minimize the likelihood of incidents. Furthermore, posting conspicuous warnings when necessary can serve as a protective measure against lawsuits.

If someone incurs an injury on your property, especially in California, it is imperative to grasp your responsibilities under premises liability law. Whether the individual was invited or uninvited, seeking legal guidance from a personal injury attorney is paramount. For assistance, reach out to HHJ Trial Attorneys.


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