Injured on Someone Else’s Property?

If you have been injured while you were on someone else's property, there are important steps that you need to take in order to fully protect your legal rights and interests under California personal injury law.  You should also be aware that under personal injury law, both the property owner and the tenant who rents the property (be it a home or a business) can be held responsible for your injuries under certain circumstances. 

What Should I Do If I'm Injured on Someone Else’s Property

Under the rule of premises liability, property owners are required to exercise a reasonable degree of care to ensure that the property is in a reasonably safe condition.   If the property is rented by a tenant who either lives there or runs a business out of the premises, the tenant also has a duty to exercise a reasonable care to make sure the property is in a reasonably safe condition.  The rule of premises liability exists specifically for your protection as a visitor or guest at the property, to minimize and avoid the risk of injuries such as the injury you have suffered.  To hold a property owner or tenant responsible, follow these five (5) simple steps:

Get Treatment

First, the most important thing you need to do is to take care of your health and get prompt medical treatment for your injury.  Depending on the severity of your injury, you may need to go to the hospital or you may need to go to urgent care and be seen by a doctor, and you may need ongoing treatment.  

Find Out Cause

Second, find out what caused the accident or incident that led to your injury.  For example, if you down a staircase, look to see if there were there are any defects or dangerous conditions on the stairs such as loose steps or shaky handrails that may have caused or contributed to your fall.  Make notes of any issues that were due to the carelessness or neglect of the property owner or the tenant occupying the property, such as excessively polished and slipper stairs.   


Third, were there any witnesses to the accident or incident?  Make notes of the names, addresses, and phone numbers of any and all eye witnesses and anyone else present at the scene.  Your personal injury lawyer will later want to interview these witnesses, and having their contact information will be very useful in helping your attorney build up a strong case to present to an insurance company for settlement or a jury at the trial of your case.


Fourth, take as many photographs as possible of the property and the scene of the accident or incident.   In particular, take lots of pictures of the defective or dangerous condition that contributed to your injury.   If you don’t have a camera, use your cell phone or borrow a friend or family member’s cell phone.  Photographs are very powerful evidence that can greatly assist you and your personal injury attorney in building up your case that the property owner or tenant failed to keep the property in a reasonable safe condition.


Fifth, contact a good personal injury attorney San Diego and discuss the circumstances of the incident that caused your injury and whether representation will be needed in your case.  Take to your attorney’s office all your notes regarding the incident, including but not limited to all witness contact information, photographs you have taken, hospital records, doctor’s reports, police reports, and any other documentation you have related to the incident and your injuries suffered therefrom. 

If your injury is severe, go to the fifth step immediately and contact a personal injury lawyer at once.  In cases of severe injuries, it is critical that you have representation as soon as possible.  Insurance companies will be particularly concerned with minimizing their exposure in a severe injury case and may obtain statements from you that they will later use against you to deny or reduce your claim.  A personal injury attorney will be able to protect you and your legal rights and interests.  Having legal representation is absolutely essential in severe injury cases.