One of the most common questions among property owners is “if someone gets hurt on your property can they sue?” By law, property owners are mandated to maintain a safe environment for people on their premises. This duty is known as premises liability. It holds landowners liable for any accidents that occur on their property.
The laws regulating premises liability cases are generally governed by the landowner’s legal relationship to the entrant. If you have further questions, contact the law offices of El Dabe Ritter Trial Lawyers to consult an expert Huntington Beach Personal Injury Attorney.
Duty of Care in California
As a property owner in California, you have a duty of care. You are obligated to maintain safety on your property by inspecting and repairing any potentially dangerous conditions. If this is not possible, you are expected to provide adequate warning of these conditions.
Failing to maintain safety on your property exposes you to unwanted consequences. For instance, someone could sue you for damages if they slipped and fell on your porch. They have the responsibility to prove that:
- You own, occupy, lease, or control the property.
- You were negligent in the property’s maintenance.
- They were harmed due to your negligence.
That said, your duty of care often depends on several factors. A deciding power — such as a jury — much consider factors such as:
- Your property’s location
- The likelihood that someone would come onto your property in the same manner as the plaintiff
- The possibility of injury
- Whether you knew or should have known of the dangerous condition
- Whether you tried to reduce or avoid the risk
- Your degree of control over the dangerous condition
Who Can Be Sued If Someone Is Injured on a Property?
The property owner is not always liable for accidents that happen on their property. Generally, a plaintiff can bring a lawsuit or claim against an individual or company that owns, occupies, leases, or controls a property.
That said, property owners cannot delegate away the duty to maintain their property in a reasonably safe condition. Say the property owner hires an independent contractor to fix a dangerous condition, but they fail to. The property owner would still be liable if the unfixed condition resulted in an accident.
In the same way, an employer is liable for damages caused by an employee’s negligence. This is even if the employee failed to warn the employer of the unsafe conditions on the property.
Fighting a Premises Liability Case
As already established, the answer to ‘if someone gets hurt on your property can they sue’ is yes. However, you can fight the case. Common defenses employed by property owners include:
- The plaintiff wad not paying attention to their surroundings
- They entered an off-limits area
- They were wearing footwear that could lead to a fall
- The cause of the accident was not present long enough for the property owner to address it.
Contact a Huntington Beach Personal Injury Attorney
Premises liability cases can be complicated. They are often regulated by a number of state and federal laws that could easily confuse you.
If someone has been injured on your property and you are worried about a lawsuit, contact us to schedule a consultation. The Huntington Beach Personal Injury Attorneys at El Dabe Ritter Trial Lawyers will evaluate your situation and advise you accordingly.