Is a sole proprietor liable for theft?

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Is a sole proprietor liable for theft?

I was staying at an RV resort and
I was allowed by the proprietor to
have a kayak by his docks, it was
stolen and I have found out that
he had his insurance lapse is he
liable for the cost of the theft
because he is a sole proprietor
and did not have his insurance in
place because I was given
permission by him that it could be
there? There is nothing in the
rental agreement of the RV space
that precludes any loss from theft
fire or any other type of
situation.

Asked on June 13, 2016 under Business Law, Washington

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

No, he is NOT liable for theft unless he stole it. Giving someone permission to keep something on your property does not make you liable for the criminal acts of third parties (the law does not make person A liable for the crimes of person B unless A participated in the crime in some way); and he is under no legal obligation to insure your belongings. You should claim under your own insurance; and if you did not have insurance for your belongings, like your kayak, then that is, in the law's eyes (and not to be unsympathetic, but to state the situation clearly), your problem or issue, not the resort proprietor's issue--people should insure their own valuables against loss.


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