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San Francisco, CA 94104
Phone: 415.835.6777
San Francisco Personal Injury

When Landlords Can Be Sued For Injuries Sustained On The Premises

Prior to 1968, landlords were generally immune from injuries sustained by tenants or their guests. The Courts usually held that tenants were deemed to have accepted the risks when they rented the premises. However, this changed in 1968 when the California Supreme Court held that landlord premises liability should be based on ordinary negligence principles. Rowland v. Christian, 69 Cal. 2d 108 (1968). As a result, landlords were required to “use reasonable care to protect people who come onto their property.” Stone v. Ctr. Trust Retail Properties, Inc., 163 Cal. App. 4th 608, 612 (2008).

The ‘Reasonable Care’ A Landlord Owes Tenants

“Reasonable care ordinarily involves making sure the property is safe at the beginning of the tenancy, and repairing any hazards the landlord learns about later.” Stone, supra, 163 Cal. App. 4th at 612. However, a landlord is not liable for every injury that occurs on the premises. The landlord is only liable if a court finds that the landlord owes a duty to the injured person, and that the landlord breached the duty. A landlord’s duty is determined on a case-by-case basis through an analysis of the following factors:

  • Foreseeability of harm to the injured person;
  • The degree of certainty that the person suffered an injury;
  • The closeness of the connection between the landlord’s conduct and the injury suffered;
  • The moral blame attached to the landlord’s conduct;
  • The policy of preventing future harm;
  • The extent of the burden to the landlord;
  • The consequences to the community of imposing a duty to exercise care;
  • The availability, cost, and prevalence of insurance for the risk involved.

The court must balance these factors to determine if a duty exists. If the court finds that the landlord owed the injured party a duty, the injured party must prove that the landlord breached that duty by failing to exercise “due care.”

Fortunately, past decisions offer us guidance. For instance, landlords have been held liable for injuries caused by defective electrical wiring, children falling out of windows, defective stairs, and criminal activity on the premises.

We help clients recover damages for medical care, physical disability, lost income and personal property loss, as well as pain and suffering, and emotional distress.

Investigating Your Premises Liability Claim

Prompt investigation is important. When our attorneys are involved early, we can take steps to document and analyze the dangerous condition before it might be altered, work with our consultants to inspect the premises, interview witnesses, and preserve any physical evidence. We will also ensure to document the physical and emotional injuries you or your guests sustained, and help identify a suitable health care provider.

At BV Law, we are familiar with premises liability law, landlord-tenant law, Personal Injury, building codes, health and safety regulations, and other legal standards. This enables us to provide tailored strategies and vigorous representation, up to and including a trial, in order to secure the compensation our clients deserve. Call a San Francisco landlord liability lawyer at BV Law today for a free consultation at 415.835.6777 or Contact us online.

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