A guest was injured at my property/business and now I’m being sued
Under California law, property owners and occupiers have a duty of care to keep their property in a reasonably safe condition.
This is known as “premise liability,” which is a form of negligence, which obligates owners, possessors, or those who control the property to use due care and act affirmatively so that the property does not create an unreasonable risk of harm to others. Essentially, all persons are responsible for injuries caused by their lack of ordinary care in managing their property. [Civ.C. § 1714(a); Kinsman v. Unocal Corp. (2005) 37 C4th 659, 672, 36 CR3d 495, 504.] If a property owner or occupier is negligent, the injured party may file a lawsuit for damages. If you are being sued because someone was injured while in possession of property, one of our skilled attorneys at Webb Law Group can help you.
In California, a person who was injured on someone else’s property – whether the property was owned/managed by a business, an apartment complex, a private homeowner, etc., may be entitled to financial compensation for their damages.
California Civil Code § 1714(a) provides in part:
“[e]veryone is responsible, not only for the result of his or her willful acts, but also for an injury occasioned to another by his or her want of ordinary care or skill in the management of his or her property or person, except so far as the latter has, willfully or by want of ordinary care, brought the injury upon himself or herself.”
A plaintiff must establish that he or she was harmed because of the way you managed the property. To establish this claim, a plaintiff must prove all of the following:
- That you owned/leased/occupied/controlled the property;
- That you were negligent in the use or maintenance of the property;
- That plaintiff was harmed;
- That your negligence was a substantial factor in causing plaintiff’s harm.
In determining whether you used reasonable care, a trier of fact may consider, among other factors, the following:
- The location of the property;
- The likelihood that someone would come on to the property in the same manner as Plaintiff did;
- The likelihood of harm;
- The probable seriousness of such harm;
- Whether you knew or should have known of the condition that created the risk of harm;
- The difficulty of protecting against the risk of such harm; and
- The extent of your control over the condition that created the risk of harm.
If you would like to learn more about premises liability in California, please contact experienced attorneys at Webb Law Group.
- Multiple settlements for nominal amounts on behalf of Defendants for premise liability lawsuits.
Frequently Asked Questions
California no longer categorizes duty based whether the injured party is a trespasser, invitee, or licensee. However, these categories come into consideration in evaluating whether a landowner acted reasonably in light of the circumstances. As stated in Beauchamp v. Los Gatos Golf Course (1969) 273 Cal.App.2d 20, 25 [77 Cal.Rptr. 914], factors to consider are:
- whether a possessor of the premises has acted as a reasonable man toward a plaintiff,
- probability of injury,
- the circumstances under which the trespasser came upon defendant’s land,
- the probability of exposure of plaintiff and others of his class to the risk of injury,
- as well as whether the condition itself presented an unreasonable risk of harm, in view of the foreseeable use of the property.
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