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Who is responsible for vehicular damage in an apartment parking lot that does not have a disclaimer posted?

Capitola, CA |

Several vehicles were damaged in the apartment parking lot on the same evening. The parking lot does not have a disclaimer. Don't the tenants have a reasonable expectation of safety, both to their persons and their cars?

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Attorney answers 4


Yes, the tenants would have a reasonable expectation of safety. You don't indicate the type of damage which occurred, nor the apparent/purported cause of the damage. Was it vandalism or some criminal act?

In California. the landlord is liable for any reasonably foreseeable damage. However, the premises owner is not the absolute insurer of the safety of its patrons; the owner must exercise reasonable care in keeping the premises safe for its invitees. (Girvetz v. Boys Market, Inc. (1949) 91 Cal. App. 2d 827.) To impose liability on the owner, the plaintiff must establish that the owner had actual or constructive knowledge of the dangerous condition or that the owner failed to exercise ordinary care in the maintenance or management of the premise in order to avoid exposing invitees to an unreasonable risk of harm.

Liability arises only upon a showing of actual or constructive knowledge of the danger. (Bridgeman v. Safeway Stores, Inc. (1960) 53 Cal. App. 2d 443, 447.) There must be some evidence, direct or circumstantial, to support the conclusion that the condition existed long enough for the proprietor, in the exercise of reasonable care, to have discovered and remedied it. Girvetz v. The Boy's Market, Inc. (1949) 91 Cal. App. 2d 827, 829. "In the context of a business owner's liability to a customer or invitee, speculation and conjecture with respect to how long a dangerous condition has existed are insufficient to satisfy a plaintiff's burden." Ortega v. Kmart (2001) 26 Cal. 4th 1200, 1209.

The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice. This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author (who is only admitted to practice law in the State of California). For specific advice about your particular situation, consult your own attorney.


It would be helpful to know what forces caused the damage.

The person/entity in control of the property may have some measure of responsibility if, for instance, the damage that ultimately occurred was foreseeable.

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Yes. Whomever caused the damage is responsible. Even a disclaimer sign does not make such person not responsible. Just because there was NO disclaimer sign does not make the apartment building responsible.

This is general legal information, not intended to apply to your specific case. And I may not be licensed to practice in your particular state. Under Federal Law, I am a debt relief agent.


Attorney Chen lays it out well. Bottom line is you report it to your insurance company to cover, which is why we all have insurance.

Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyer.

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