When a person is injured on someone else’s property, California law may impose a duty of care on the owner to maintain the safety of their property. This is especially true when a property owner stands to benefit from other people’s use of their property. The classic example is a business that owns a parking lot so that customers can easily drive to and patronize their store. When an accident happens in a commercial parking lot, questions of liability for a victim’s injuries may be complex.
As a recent news article reported, one person died and several others suffered injuries after a car ran into a taco stand in Pomona, California. The taco stand was situated in a grocery store parking lot. As a driver entered the parking lot, she ran through the taco stand, scattering glass and taco supplies along the parking lot and flipping tables on the sidewalk. The crash injured twelve people and left at least one person dead. The driver fled the scene before later turning herself into authorities.
Can a Person Sue a Parking Lot Owner in California?
In California, a person can sue a parking lot owner for injuries suffered in a parking lot on certain conditions. To pursue a negligence claim against a parking lot owner, the owner must have a duty of care to the injured person. Typically, parking lot owners have a duty of care to maintain safe conditions in the parking lot for pedestrians and vehicles who patronize the parking lot. California also imposes a duty of care on property owners to warn guests of any potentially dangerous conditions that are not open and obvious. On the other hand, a parking lot owner can escape liability if the cause of the plaintiff’s injuries was so open and obvious that a reasonable person would have easily avoided it. The rationale behind this bar to recovery is that certain hazards should serve as warnings in and of themselves.