The basics of California’s premises liability law is clear: A property owner owes other individuals the duty of taking reasonable steps to make sure the property is in a safe condition for those guests. This usually means that the property owner should make a regular and reasonably-detailed inspection of their property in order to uncover any potentially dangerous conditions present.
Typical Limitations on the Property Owner’s Duty of Care
In states other than California, a property owner’s liability for the injuries that occur to others on his or her property is limited in two regards. First, the property owner is usually not liable for injuries that occur to trespassers and others who are not legally entitled to be on the property. For example, a trespasser who jumps a property owner’s fence and hurts him- or herself on a slippery floor in the owner’s building will not have a cause of action against the property owner.
Secondly, the property owner need only take reasonable measures to either warn guests about the dangerous condition or to correct the condition. The operative word here is “reasonable”: depending on the nature of the dangerous condition, its obviousness, and the cost to repair it are but a few of the factors that will dictate whether the dangerous condition must be corrected or whether warning signs will suffice.
Neither of these limitations are implicated where the property owner’s property includes an “attractive nuisance.” An “attractive nuisance” is a condition or feature that is likely to attract the attention of children and, by virtue of their curiosity, lure them onto the property and near the feature. Typical attractive nuisances include caves, pools, and ponds.
“Attractive Nuisances” Increase the Owner’s Duty of Care
For about the past 50 years, California has turned away from traditional “attractive nuisance” doctrine as well as any meaningful differentiation between lawfully-present guests and trespassers. In California, the nature of the dangerous condition (and whether it would qualify as an “attractive nuisance” in another jurisdiction) and the legal status of the person on the owner’s property are just two factors the court examines when determining what “reasonable” steps the property owner needed to take in the situation. A property owner in California can be responsible for damages even if a trespasser was injured on the owner’s property (in some situations). Likewise, an “attractive nuisance” or other highly-dangerous condition may require more action from the property owner, even if the person injured was an adult.
Contact Your Riverside Premise Liability Attorney Today
If you or your child are injured while on the property of another, have the experienced Riverside premises liability and attractive nuisance attorneys of Heiting & Irwin evaluate your case. Where a property owner failed to take reasonable measures to protect you or your child from harm, that property owner may be responsible for your injuries and losses. Contact Heiting & Irwin, personal injury lawyers in Riverside California, today to discuss your case @ (951) 682-6400.