Property owners and occupiers may be liable for the injuries incurred by other people who enter the property, depending on the parties’ relationship and the circumstances of the case. Under Arizona premises liability law, a party who owns or controls property has a duty of reasonable care in maintaining the property to invitees who come onto the property. An invitee is a person who enters the property for a purpose connected with the owner’s business or for an activity permitted by the owner on the premises. However, owners and occupiers of property are not insurers of other peoples’ safety on their property. In general, in an Arizona premises liability case, a plaintiff must show that a condition posed an unreasonable risk of harm, the defendant knew or should have known that the condition posed an unreasonable risk of harm, the defendant should have anticipated that people would not recognize the danger or would not be protected from the danger, the defendant acted negligently, the plaintiff suffered an injury, and the condition caused the plaintiff’s injury.
In a recent Arizona premises liability case, the court considered whether two subletters on a commercial lease were liable for an individual’s injuries after he fell through the skylight of the building. The owner of the commercial building leased the building to another company, which was responsible for repairing and maintaining the building. The lessee then subleased portions of the building to two other companies. A manager handled the maintenance of the building for the lessee and hired one of the sublessees to perform repairs. Complicating matters further, according to the facts in the opinion, the other sublessee was responsible for maintaining the roof over its section of the warehouse it was subleasing.
The plaintiff was a friend of the manager of one of the sublessees, who would visit the property. On the day of the injury, based on the evidence presented, repairs were being done on the roof, and the plaintiff went on the roof, apparently to help monitor the situation. When he was on the roof, he stepped onto a skylight and fell through it, causing severe injuries. The plaintiff filed a claim against the owner, lessee, and two sublessees. The plaintiff argued in part that the sublessees were possessors of the roof and had a duty to maintain the roof in a safe condition.
The state’s supreme court explained that the defendants would have a duty to the plaintiff only if they had control over that portion of the roof. In this case, the court held that the sublessees did not have a right to control the roof and did not have control over the roof. They did not have the authority to repair and maintain the roof, as that was the lessee’s responsibility, and even if a sublessee believed he was responsible for repairs, he did not exercise actual control. Accordingly, the sublessees, owed no duty to the plaintiff, and the claims against them were dismissed. The plaintiff had already settled his claims against the owner and lessee of the building.
Contact an Arizona Premises Liability Attorney
If you have been injured on another person’s property, you may be able to seek compensation against negligent property owners or occupiers. The Arizona premises liability lawyers at Abels & Annes, P.C. have helped many accident victims recover compensation for their injuries after an accident. They will do everything they can to protect your interests and get you full and fair compensation for your injuries. Let our experienced attorneys take on the insurance companies for you, so you can focus on your recovery. For a free initial consultation, contact us online or call us at 855-749-5299.