Can You Sue Your California Landlord? Premises Liability Claims

September 26, 2018
On behalf of The Law Offices of Howard Craig Kornberg Posted in Premises Liability

If you are a renter in California and you or a loved one are injured due to the landlord’s negligence of the property you’re renting, you may be able to sue. Under California premises liability law, property owners are obligated to maintain their rental properties to a certain standard, especially to prevent injury to tenants or other invitees to the property. However, there may be language in your rental agreement protecting your landlord, though this doesn’t mean you can’t sue. If a landlord failed to keep the rental property in a safe condition, nothing in a rental agreement can protect them from liability.

What Classifies as Landlord Negligence?

According to California law, negligence is defined as the failure of property owners to meet certain standards. Property owners must ensure conditions don’t exist that could result in injury to visitors on their premises. This ranges from the injury of tenants from a residential property rental due to lack of general upkeep of the property, slip-and-fall injuries on commercial properties, or fatal accidents at theme parks.

If someone experiences an injury on another person’s property, certain elements must be established to determine if it was due to the landlord’s negligence. These are:

  • Duty
  • Breach of duty
  • Injury
  • Causation

Landlords have a duty of care which includes:

  • Maintaining their property
  • Inspecting the property
  • Repairing any potentially dangerous conditions
  • Giving an adequate warning of dangerous conditions on the property

It must be proven that the property owner was responsible for taking measures to ensure visitors to the property would not be harmed. The injured person must provide evidence that the property owner failed to fulfill their duty and that their injury was the direct result of the property owner’s negligence. An experienced premises liability lawyer in Los Angeles can help you make your case.

The property owner’s duty is established by the circumstances of the case. On one hand, someone who never invited guests over is not held to the same high standard of care as a business owner who has customers in their store every day; on the other hand, a person who invites guests to their home for just a casual visit is under no obligation to routinely inspect their property, but they can be considered negligent if they know about a danger on the property and fail to fix it or warn visitors about it.

Property owners are not considered responsible for preventing injuries to trespassers; however, there are a few instances when the landowner’s negligence can be blamed for a trespasser’s injury, but that is dependent on whether the landlord created a hazard on the property or knew of a hazard and was aware of trespassers who might be harmed by it.

When Can You Sue?

You can technically sue your landlord anytime you’ve experienced an injury on their property; however, you will be required to provide proof that the injury is a direct result of their negligence. For example, if you break your leg as a result of falling down cracked or damaged stairs and your landlord was aware of the damage, they can be held liable for your injury. However, if you injure yourself from tripping and falling over your own clutter in your home, your landlord will likely not be held responsible. You might want to be mindful of the conditions that resulted in your injury before perusing legal action. When in doubt, an experienced premises liability attorney can always provide their expert opinion on whether or not you have a case.

When Should You Contact a Los Angeles Premises Liability Attorney?

If you’ve experienced an injury on a rental property in California due to your landlord’s negligence, which has resulted in medical bills, physical therapy, continuing medical care, scarring or disfigurement, pain, and suffering, lost wages, or lost earning capacity, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer right away. They will help you with your premises liability lawsuit should you choose to take your landlord to court. Reach out to the Law Offices of Howard Craig Kornberg to discuss your particular case now.


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