Slip and fall injuries are one of the most common injuries leading to a premises liability claim. California premises liability laws allow victims who suffer a fall, or other injury on property, to make a case for compensation. As a slip and fall lawyer it is my job to determine if negligence was the direct cause of a fall injury. When it is, victims should be compensated for current and future medical costs, lost wages, pain, emotional distress, and other economic and non-financial damages.
In some cases, it is easy to determine who was responsible for failing to maintain the property and thus causing a fall. For example, if a victim visits a building owned by a business or an individual and gets hurt due to unsafe conditions, it is clearly the building owner (who owns and operates it) who is responsible for the victim’s damages.
What happens when a victim gets hurt visiting a rental property, like an apartment, or a commercial rental property? In these circumstances, it is necessary to determine whether it is the landlord or the tenant – or both – who is accountable for losses caused by a slip and fall.
Is the Landlord or Tenant Responsible for a Slip and Fall Accident?
California Jury Instruction 1000 explains the circumstances under which the victim is able to make a claim against the property owner and/or the tenant. A plaintiff can recover compensation for a slip and fall if the harm happened because of the way the defendant managed the property. The victim must prove all of the following:
- The defendant owned the property or leased, occupied, or controlled it;
- The defendant was negligent in the manner in which the property was being used or the manner in which the property was maintained;
- The victim was harmed; and
- The negligence of the defendant was a substantial reason why the plaintiff was harmed.
A commercial lease agreement should specify who is responsible for maintaining the property. In some cases, the landlord maintains control over the property conditions and will make repairs when tenants complain of problems. In others, the tenant has responsibility for maintaining and repairing the commercial space.
If maintenance issues were not corrected by the landlord or the slip and fall was otherwise caused by the landlord’s failure to fulfill an obligation, the plaintiff can make a claim against the landlord. However, if the landlord does not know about existing problems and therefore was not given the chance to correct them, the landlord would not be to blame. In addition, if the tenant is vested with the responsibility of upkeep according to the lease terms, the landlord can not be held accountable for injuries occurring on the property due to poor maintenance.
In residential rental environments, the question of whether a landlord or tenant is responsible is also going to be based on whether the landlord was notified of the need for repairs and was responsive to requests to fix safety hazards.
Another key factor in determining whether the landlord or the tenant is responsible for a slip and fall is where the fall happened. If the fall occurred in a common area, like a lobby or an outdoor courtyard, the landlord would be held accountable for a maintenance failure. If the fall occurred in the tenant’s unit and was caused by conditions that the tenant created – like debris on the floor – then it would be the tenant who is responsible for causing the fall and whose renter’s insurance should provide compensation for victims.
Getting Help from a Long Beach Slip and Fall Lawyer
Your Injuries are Personal to Me
An experienced Long Beach slip and fall lawyer will be able to determine whether a landlord or a tenant is to blame for your accident injury, and will prove the claim against the responsible parties.
Call the Law Office of Michael D. Waks at 888-394-1174 or use the convenient online contact form to schedule a free consultation to speak with a Long Beach slip and fall lawyer to learn how I can help you if you’ve suffered a fall injury. You will be under no obligation and you will never pay any money unless you recover compensation for your losses.
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