What is a commercial tenant’s liability for an injury suffered on or neartheir premises?

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What is a commercial tenant’s liability for an injury suffered on or neartheir premises?

I own a taxi company and rent a store front; I have no lease or liability insurance on the property. Now both my landlord and my company are being sued because a drunk fell off the stoop outside the door of my office and hurt himself. What are the repercussions of this? Will I be liable in this suit and have to pay out-of-pocket or will the landlord’s insurance company be 100% responsible? The drunk fell off the stoop outside the office door.

Asked on July 4, 2011 under Real Estate Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

It's common for a plaintiff (the person suing) to name everyone who may be liable, to make sure they don't miss a responsible party. Whether or not you would actually be liable depends on whether you did anything which caused or contributed to the injury. For example, was the stoop slippery from something you spilled? Were there any belongings of yours on the stoop the person tripped over? Did you push him? Etc. Liability, or an obligation to pay for another's injuries, generally depends on being at fault in some way. If you were not at fault, you probably would not have to pay--though you should still get an attorney to defend yourself. Note that the absence of a lease means nothing, and your lack of insurance simply makes you more vulnerable, since you have no source of indemnity.


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