Premises Liability

Premises Liability:

A landlord or tenant is required to exercise the requisite degree of care owed to any person who comes onto the property of another with respect to the  management, maintenance, and condition of their property.  In California, every person is responsible, not only for the results of his or her willful acts, but also for any injury occasioned to another by his or her lack of ordinary care or skill in the management of his or her property or person.  Civil Code § 1714(a); See Rowland v. Christian (1968) 69 Cal.2d 108.

A landlord or tenant breaches this duty by maintaining, designing, or managing their property in an unsafe manner or by failing to take adequate precautions to prevent exposing someone to the risks of injury posed by such conditions.  An owner or possessor of premises is under a duty to others by virtue of that possession or ownership to act reasonably to keep the premises safe and prevent persons from being injured.  Williams v. Foster (1989) 216 Cal.App.3d 510.  Thus, a landowner has a duty to exercise ordinary care in management of premises in order to avoid exposing persons to unreasonable risk of harm.  McDaniel v. Sunset Manor Co. (1990) 220 Cal.App.3d 1.

Moreover, the owner or possessor of property has an affirmative duty to warn someone coming onto the property any concealed dangers.  If there are any latent or concealed perils on the land, the possessor is under a duty to exercise ordinary care either to make the condition reasonably safe for those coming onto the land or to give such persons a warning adequate to enable them to avoid the harm.  Florez v. Groom Development Co. (1959) 53 Cal. App.2d 347.

In a high traffic area, such as a super market, a super market has a heightened duty to conduct thorough and frequent inspections of the aisle ways.  In Bridgman v. Safeway Store, Inc. (1960) 53 Cal.2d 433 at 437, the Supreme Court stated:

“The care required must, of course, be commensurate wit the particular risk involved, and the risks may vary with many different factors, including whether the store is wholly or partially of the self-service type or, if not, whether the customers are nevertheless allowed to inspect and handle the things offered for sale.  Where, as here, the owner operates the store on a self-service plan, under which customers are invited to inspect, remove and replace goods on the shelves, the exercise of ordinary care may require the owner to take greater precautions and make more frequent inspections than would otherwise be needed to safeguard against the possibility that such a customer may create a dangerous condition by disarranging the merchandise.”

If you have been injured on the property of another due to the negligent management, maintenance or condition of the property, please contact the Law Offices of Zev Weinstein so that an experienced premises liability attorney can assess your case.