Who is liable if someone falls outside the building I run my business in? 29 Answers as of July 11, 2013

If I have a business, but rent the building my business is in, and someone falls outside, who is liable if they file suit? Me as the business owner, or the person that owns the building and property?

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The Law Office of Stephen R. Chesley, LLC
The Law Office of Stephen R. Chesley, LLC | Stephen R. Chesley
Who is responsible for someone who falls outside a business premises can generally be found within the lease. The lease would be the first place to look to see who has responsibility for the maintenance and care of the premises. Then you can compare those responsibilities with what is claimed as how the accident occurred. There may also be insurance issues such as the landlord requiring him to be an additional insured on your policy.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 10/24/2011
Lombardi Law Firm
Lombardi Law Firm | Steve Lombardi
The answer to that question can change depending on the lease agreement. It can be either the landlord or the tenant; who according to the lease assumed responsibility for the sidewalk? That is one place to start looking for the answer. The next step is to say, who's duty was it to maintain the building? Normally that falls on the landlord.
Answer Applies to: Iowa
Replied: 10/24/2011
Patrick M Lamar Attorney
Patrick M Lamar Attorney | Patrick M Lamar
It depends if the fall was caused by you or the person who owns the lot.
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 10/24/2011
David F. Stoddard
David F. Stoddard | David F. Stoddard
If there is no dangerous condition, no one would be liable. If there is a dangerous condition that causes the fall, whoever was in a position to prevent the dangerous condition would be liable. For example, if the Landlord is responsible for repairs, and a guard rail is loose, the landlord might be liable. If you leave a slippery substance on the ground, you might be liable. As a practical matter, if someone falls and is hurt, the person will likely sue both of you and let the two of you blame each other. You can purchase business liability insurance to protect yourself.
Answer Applies to: South Carolina
Replied: 10/24/2011
Coulter's Law
Coulter's Law | Coulter K. Richardson
Potentially both of you. The property owner because he owns the property and perhaps you for maintaining or failing to maintain the safety outside the store. It depends on what your lease says. Even though you may have done everything right, be prepared to get dragged into it. Your landlord will likely try to pass the buck to you.
Answer Applies to: New Jersey
Replied: 10/24/2011
    Andrew T. Velonis, P.C.
    Andrew T. Velonis, P.C. | Andrew Velonis
    Liability starts with the property owner but, your lease may give you control over that area, and with it, responsibility for maintenance. So, it depends what your lease says.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 10/21/2011
    Law Office of Jared Altman
    Law Office of Jared Altman | Jared Altman
    Possibly both. It depends on how the fall occurred and who caused the problem. If there was no problem, then no one is liable.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 10/21/2011
    Law Offices of Steven A. Fink
    Law Offices of Steven A. Fink | Steven Alan Fink
    Hard to say without knowing why they fell. There may be no liability for you or the owner if accident not caused by condition of property. In addition, there may be language in lease dealing with who is responsible for maintenance of area where injured person fell? You and owner might both be liable. You must report claim to your insurance carrier and let them sort it out.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/21/2011
    Bulman Law Associates PLLC Injury Law Firm
    Bulman Law Associates PLLC Injury Law Firm | Thomas Bulman
    Maybe both of you. Depends on your lease. Typically, the lessee(you) agrees to be responsible for snow removal, ice, etc. If it is a hole in the sidewalk you, the owner, and the city may share responsibility. If you are sued, immediately turn it over to your premises liability insurance company.
    Answer Applies to: Montana
    Replied: 10/21/2011
    The Law Office of Josh Lamborn, P.C.
    The Law Office of Josh Lamborn, P.C. | Josh Lamborn
    As a plaintiff's attorney I would probably sue you both and let a jury sort out who is liable. Maybe neither of you are. It depends on why the plaintiff fell and whether the fall was caused by a condition on the property caused by you or the owner.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 10/21/2011
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A.
    Paul Whitfield and Associates P.A. | Paul L. Whitfield
    Lawsuits are based on fault. Did this person fall because you did something or failed to do something? If so you are at fault. If the owner of the property failed to do something he should have, he would also be at fault. Always fault. Not just happen stance.
    Answer Applies to: North Carolina
    Replied: 10/21/2011
    Law Offices of Kenneth Wincorn P.C.
    Law Offices of Kenneth Wincorn P.C. | Kenneth Wincorn
    It depends on who maintains the premises. Call your insurance company to see if you have coverage.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 10/21/2011
    Oliver Law Office
    Oliver Law Office | Jami Oliver
    The question depends upon who has ownership and control over the property. Which party (owner or renter) is responsible for upkeep on the sidewalk? Is there a rental agreement in place that specifies who has control over the sidewalk and the outside of the building? Usually the answer is the owner of the building, but not always.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 7/11/2013
    Adler Law Group, LLC
    Adler Law Group, LLC | Lawrence Adler
    Both of you could be liable depending on the cause of the accident and the agreement spelled out in your lease. If it is a structural problem your landlord will be primarily responsible. Regardless of who is at fault, your lease may also spell out who was to have the insurance coverage for such an event.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 10/21/2011
    Holzer Edwards
    Holzer Edwards | Kurt Holzer
    Idaho law provides that an owner or occupier can be liable. This issue will be who was responsible for upkeep of an area that caused the fall.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 10/21/2011
    Bernard Huff, Attorney/Mediator
    Bernard Huff, Attorney/Mediator | Bernard Huff
    Either one or both may be liable. It depends on whose negligence caused the accident. Do you and your business renter carry property liability insurance? If not, perhaps you may want to obtain it as well as include it as a required provision in your lease agreement with your renter.
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 10/21/2011
    Craig Kelley & Faultless
    Craig Kelley & Faultless | David W. Craig
    Could be both you and the owner of the building. It depends. If there is a written lease it is not unusual for that to be dealt with in the lease. The issue will be what caused the injury. Who was at fault. If the person is hurt as a result of poor maintenance then the issue will be who has the responsibility to do the maintenance. No one is automatically responsible just because someone gets hurt on or outside of your property. But if there is a dangerous condition and you do nothing about it then you may be responsible even if it is the owners ultimate responsibility. As part of your lease there should also be a requirement for you or the owner to carry insurance. If you do not have insurance then you better check to be sure you are a named insured on the owner's policy.
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 10/21/2011
    Broad Law Firm, LLC
    Broad Law Firm, LLC | Donald K. Broad
    It depends upon what the terms of your lease are. Generally, landowners are responsible for any defects on their own property, but landlords often pass that responsibility to their business tenants in the terms of the lease. Also, if the fall occurred on a public sidewalk in a city or town, it is possible that the city or town could have some liability as well. You should consult a local attorney to have them review your commercial lease and should also review the facts of this incident with your Commercial General Liability Insurance agent.
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 2/20/2012
    R. D. Kelly Law Firm, P.L.L.C.
    R. D. Kelly Law Firm, P.L.L.C. | Robert Kelly
    Owners an occupiers of unreasonably hazardous premises can be liable for injuries on the premises under certain circumstances. It is probably a good idea to get insurance for that.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 10/21/2011
    Law Office of Russell D. Gray, PC
    Law Office of Russell D. Gray, PC | Russell D. Gray
    The answer would depend on what kind of business you run, whether the premises is open to the public, and who has control over the area where the slip and fall occurs. If the area is under your control, most likely you would be liable for it. Most business lease agreements require the tenant to acquire liability insurance, and many require the tenant to assume liability. You should check your lease to see if this applies to you.
    Answer Applies to: Utah
    Replied: 10/21/2011
    Joel H. Schwartz, P.C.
    Joel H. Schwartz, P.C. | Steven A. Schwartz
    The simple answer is that the injured party could sue both of you. However, ultimately the responsible party will be the one who is in charge of maintaining the area where the person fell. In addition, the injured plaintiff must be successful showing there was a defect or hazard in that area (through the wrongdoing or negligence of the entity in charge) which caused his/her fall.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 10/21/2011
    Gary Moore, Attorney at Law
    Gary Moore, Attorney at Law | Gary Moore
    You need to read your lease. Your lease may require you to maintain the outside of the building , including the sidewalk and parking lot. It may also require to carry a certain amount of liability insurance coverage. Additionally, if you exercise control over the outside of your buidling as part of your leasing agreement you will be sued, along with the landlord.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 10/21/2011
    Shaw Law Firm
    Shaw Law Firm | Steven L. Shaw
    Read your lease. Typically when you lease property, the least contains some provision taking responsibility for defects which you timely report to the landlord. For example, if the sidewalk becomes damaged due to normal wear and tear and you timely report that defect to the landlord, he is responsible. If the damage was caused by you, or you know about it and fail to report it, you may be responsible. That responsibility, however, can be completely transferred to either party by way of the lease language.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 10/21/2011
    The Carlile Law Firm, LLP
    The Carlile Law Firm, LLP | D. Scott Carlile
    Potentially both you and the renter. You should require the renter to maintain liability insurance. If an accident occurs the renter's insurance would have to pay first before your insurance. Also, if an accident occurs because of the negligence of the renter then it will be fairly difficult to also hold you liable.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 10/21/2011
    Link & Smith, P.C.
    Link & Smith, P.C. | Houston Smith
    Both the owner and occupier of land are responsible for keeping the premises and approaches safe. Why did the person fall? If the person simply tripped over their own feet then you are not liable. If the person tripped over a tripping hazard on the walkway, you may be liable to some degree.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 10/21/2011
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    The Law Office of Harry E. Hudson, Jr. | Harry E. Hudson, Jr.
    If you are legally required to do something that if not done or not do something which you do, then you are probably liable to some degree. The bulding owner is probably liable to some extent.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 10/21/2011
    Tenge Law Firm, LLC
    Tenge Law Firm, LLC | J. Todd Tenge
    The owner is primarily liable to the injured party.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 10/21/2011
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