How California’s Abandoned Property Laws Can Lead to Personal Injury Claims

by Staff Blogger | December 26th, 2023

Abandoned properties in California have become a prevalent issue, causing concerns for public safety. Due to lack of maintenance, these buildings often deteriorate, leading to unsafe conditions like unstable flooring, exposed sharp objects, and fall hazards.

Even though these buildings are abandoned, the owners still have a responsibility to prevent harm to visitors. If you are hurt in an abandoned property, you can work with a California premises law attorney from Berg Injury Lawyers to seek compensation for your injuries.

Abandoned Properties in California

As of the most recently available data from 2018, California’s expansive terrain boasted around 1.2 million empty homes. The state’s overall vacancy rate is 8.68%, which makes the high number of vacant homes more concerning.

This issue is particularly evident in a 5-mile stretch of homes that extends from East Los Angeles through Pasadena and South Pasadena. This area has 115 deserted homes, which were purchased by the state’s highway authority for a proposed road expansion that never occurred.

This situation highlights the housing challenges in California. Curiosity or the search for shelter often draws people into these vacant properties. However, dilapidated conditions, potential structural issues, and unforeseen hazards make it dangerous for those who venture inside.

Basics of California’s Premises Liability

Premises liability refers to the legal principle where property owners can be held liable for injuries sustained on their property due to negligence or failure to maintain safe conditions.

Under California law, property owners are accountable for injuries caused to another due to a lack of ordinary care in managing their property. If you suffer a premises liability accident because a property owner didn’t maintain a safe environment, you could hold the owner responsible.

Typically, this can be done through a personal injury claim, in which the victim can seek damages like medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering related to their injuries.

Property Owner Duty of Care for Abandoned Properties

A property owner’s duty of care extends to abandoned properties. This legal obligation requires owners to take reasonable steps to ensure that their property, whether in use or not, doesn’t pose foreseeable risks to others.

To fulfill their duty of care, property owners of abandoned properties should take safety precautions such as:

  • Conduct regular safety inspections. Property owners should inspect their property to detect and rectify potential hazards. It ensures the space remains as safe as possible.
  • Enhance lighting around the premises. Installing lighting can deter trespassers and reduce accidents caused by low visibility.
  • Place visible warning signs. Although property owners don’t owe the same duty of care to trespassers as visitors, they cannot know or maliciously harm a trespasser. Marking hazardous zones provides clear warnings to any visitor or trespasser, altering them of the danger.
  • Barricade all unsafe structures. Owners should block off unstable or risky areas with fencing or screening to prevent access and potential harm.
  • Secure open pits and depressions. Open pits present a fall hazard; they should be covered or fenced to ensure safety.
  • Safely remove or store hazardous materials. Dangerous substances on the property should be either safely removed or securely stored away.
  • Display “No Trespassing” signs prominently. These signs act as a deterrent, warning potential intruders to stay away.

Seeking Compensation After an Injury in an Abandoned Property

Injuries in abandoned properties can lead to unexpected medical expenses, time off work, and emotional distress. The legal aspects of premises liability can be complex, especially when determining the responsibility of the owner of an abandoned building.

To help with your case, speak with a skilled attorney from Berg Injury Lawyers. We have experience in this area and can evaluate your case, compile crucial evidence, and represent your interests. We can help you prove that the property owner was negligent so you receive a fair settlement for your injuries.

Hold Negligent Property Owners Accountable in California

California’s abandoned properties are a serious issue in the Golden State. If you suffered injuries on an abandoned property, get the legal representation you deserve.

Our experienced team can accurately assess your damages and help you hold the property owner responsible for their failure to keep the property safe. Reach out to us today for a free consultation and learn your legal options for recovering compensation.