Like other states, California's law requires landowners, including homeowners and businesses, to exercise reasonable care to protect guests like customers tenants and the like. Basically, a property owner must be sure the land, and the buildings on the land, are safe and secure. Traditionally, this meant that landowners needed to take steps to prevent people from slipping and falling or from suffering other accidental injuries.
When one thinks about it, the government plays an important role in the daily lives of Californians. The government, whether state or local, owns a lot of buildings and land, both so it can carry on its operations or to directly benefit the public. Moreover, public employees help shape how residents of the Bay Area live and work, and many residents may even have jobs with the state or local government. Finally, the government is also engaging contractors to do work on behalf of the public on a regular basis. The bottom line is that many people in the Bay Area will visit public property run by the state or the federal government, and some will do so quite regularly.
Many of the slip and fall accidents that Californians suffer occur inside the properties of other individuals. A person may trip on a loose rug at a friend's home, or they may slip on a puddle of spilled water at a store. When an accident of this nature occurs within a building, liability for the victim's harm may clearly pass to the owner of the structure.
As readers of this California personal injury blog may know, premises liability is the legal theory that holds property owners liable when a visitor is injured on their land. But under California premises liability law, different types of visitors may have different legal status. A person who is considered an invitee on the premises of another property owner may be afforded the greatest level of protection of all types of individuals.
When a person enters onto the property of another without the property owner's permission, they may be considered a trespasser. A trespasser is someone who elects to go where they are not invited and where there is no guarantee that their safety can be protected. In California trespassers may not be able to collect compensation for the injuries they suffer on other people's land if they entered onto it without authorization.
If readers of this blog have ever spent time with children, then they know that they can be impulsive. Children often follow their whims and not the rules, and sometimes their energetic tendencies lead them into situations where they could face danger. Property owners have a particular duty to keep children safe by ensuring that attractive nuisances on their property are appropriately managed.
Homeowners throughout California may have a laundry list of items that they want to take care of in their own residential properties. For example, they may want to paint the bedrooms in their homes, fix the loose flooring in the bathrooms, and replace exterior lights that just do not work. While some of these projects are purely aesthetic, others may pose safety risks to those who come onto the properties.
Owning property in California brings with it a host of responsibilities. Whether the property is commercial, residential or zoned for a different purpose, its owner must understand and respect the laws that govern how the property should be cared for and maintained. When the property owner allows others to enter onto the property, problems can arise related to premises liability law.
Local headlines feature a great many sad stories of injury and death. One of the most notable this week is the death of a 75-year-old woman on the campus of San Francisco General Hospital. Hospital staff reported her missing May 20, though she had been gone from the premises since the day before. Authorities say an engineering employee came across her body May 30 in the stairwell of a power plant building.