Can I Sue My Landlord for Premises Liability?

Posted on August 16, 2018

Renting a loft in a historic building in Los Angeles may seem like a good idea – until the elevator malfunctions and causes you or a loved one a serious injury. Accidents, injuries, and deaths on rented properties may come down to landlord liability in certain situations. Knowing when you can and cannot sue your landlord for premises liability in Los Angeles or throughout California can help you protect your rights after a personal injury accident.

What are the Premises Liability Laws in California?

The term “premises liability” refers to a property owner or controller’s legal responsibility to visitors. Landlords have certain responsibilities to visitors by law depending on the status of the person. Visitors are either invitees, licensees, or trespassers in the state of California. Invitees deserve the highest standards of care as people the landlord or property owner invites to a property.

Licensees receive slightly lesser standards of care as people who enter the property for their own purposes (with permission). Landlords don’t owe trespassers (those without permission to enter the property) any duties of care unless the trespasser is a child. Tenants in a building a landlord owns and/or manages are invitees under the law. This means that landlords must take due care to ensure the safety of tenants and residents according to the highest standards.

Landlord duties to residents include checking the property for obvious or hidden hazards, making repairs, and posting signs warning residents of potential dangers. Landlords are responsible for remedying hazards such as slip and fall risks, collapsing structures, lax security, dangerous parking lots, etc. Failure to adhere to accepted standards of care as a landlord, resulting in tenant injury or death, is negligence.

When is a Property Landlord Liable for Accidents?

You may need to check your rental agreement to find out if you can sue your landlord for a premises liability accident. Your agreement may include language that protects the landlord from property-related accidents. This does not, however, mean you can’t sue. If the landlord was negligent in his/her duties, even the language in a rental agreement cannot protect him or her from liability. In addition, you will also need to understand state and local laws that may apply to your case.

If you recently suffered an injury as a renter in Los Angeles and are seeking financial compensation, you will need to prove your landlord’s liability to receive compensation through an insurance claim and/or premises liability case. Proving negligence requires showing your status as an invitee and providing evidence that your landlord (and/or another party) failed to provide adequate care according to his/her legal duties. “Negligence” can be anything that falls outside of the realm of duties in a situation, resulting in harm to someone else.

Landlords must properly maintain common areas for tenants, as well as warn of hidden dangers and make premises safe within reasonable expectations. What is reasonable depends on the location of your apartment or home, as well as the dangers involved in the property. To receive compensation, you will need to prove that the landlord breached his/her duty by not preventing an accident, and that your injuries stemmed from the landlord’s negligence. An attorney can help you with your burden of proof.

Discuss Your Premises Liability Claim with a Personal Injury Attorney

It can be difficult to know whether you have a case against your landlord in Los Angeles. A lawyer can help explain the laws involved in your case, as well as your landlord’s specific duties of care based on your living situation. You may be eligible for compensation after a slip and fall, dog attack, criminal assault, robbery, fire, flood, or other situation that causes you injuries or property damage. A conversation with an attorney can help you understand and protect your rights. Contact Panish | Shea | Ravipudi LLP about your case today! (310) 477-1700

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If you have a legal matter you would like to discuss with an attorney from our firm, please call us at (310) 477-1700 or complete and submit the e-mail form below, and we will get back to you.

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