Premises liability cases can occasionally become complicated if the property owner is different than the occupier, such as in residential and commercial rental properties. So who is liable if there is an accident on a property owned by someone other than the occupier?
There are varying rules to determine potential liability based on the type of property in question:
- Commercial property — If you are injured at a store, office, warehouse or other business, the factors affecting liability include where the accident occurred and what the lease and business contracts at the property say about liability. Begin by informing the business about your injury, and you will work directly with the insurance company, the business or the insurance provider for the building owner.
- Apartment complexes — The person or people responsible for maintaining the area or apartment in which you were injured may be liable for the accident. So a tenant could be responsible for his or her personal, movable items inside the apartment, while the landlord is responsible for everything outside the apartment, in common areas and immovable items within the apartments themselves, such as floors, walls, appliances and light fixtures.
- Private homes — The owner of the home is liable for any accidents result from dangerous conditions within the home, but if the entire home is rented out, the tenant may share liability depending on the circumstances of the accident.
A good rule of thumb to follow is that you should notify both the owner of the property and the occupier of the property about your claim, whether it’s a residential or commercial property. The insurance companies involved will determine who bears the brunt of the liability in your case.
If you are considering taking legal action after suffering an injury at a store, rental property or other dangerous premises in New York City, consult an attorney to review your potential case.