Determining who is responsible for your injuries after an accident can be confusing.
When the accident location involves an easement, it can become even more complex.
An easement is an area surrounding a piece of property where someone other than the property owner has rights to the land.
Answers to the question of who is liable for an accident on an easement will vary.
What Is an Easement?
An easement means the title of the property grants rights to non-property owners to use the land for a specific purpose.
Titles can grant easements to anyone, including other property owners, private companies, utility companies, and government agencies. A parcel that backs up to a major street could have an easement for public access too.
When determining whether a party has any liability, you must first look at whether they had a duty of care or not.
Claims involving California easements differ from other premises liability cases where the property owner is almost always responsible. In an accident on an easement, the property owner may not be liable since another party has the legal right to use the land.
Parties responsible for the maintenance and safety of the easement could be accountable for your injuries in certain situations.
Easements in California Involving Public Utilities
A typical example of an easement is one involving public utilities. The public utility company or government agency could be legally responsible for maintaining the easement.
In this case, the company or agency may be accountable for your injuries. The utility company or government is responsible for keeping the area reasonably safe from hazardous conditions, such as tree branches hitting power lines.
However, government entities are protected from liability for certain actions by sovereign immunity laws, so it’s important to consult a lawyer regarding your options.
California Easements and Private Property
Other easement types involve private properties, such as usage rights granted to a neighbor. In this situation, the property owner still maintains legal responsibility for maintenance and safety.
Cases not involving public utilities typically default to the property owner as the liable party. However, some property owners may have contracts with the easement holder about who has legal responsibility for maintenance and safety issues.
Some easements may have more than one owner if the easement is attached to multiple parcels of land owned by different owners.
California law says each easement owner or landowner shares the maintenance cost unless they have a contract that specifies otherwise.
Contact a California Personal Injury Lawyer
If you have questions about who is liable for an accident on an easement, speak with the experienced legal team at Weinberg Law Offices.
We have years of experience assisting injured victims in fighting for the compensation they deserve.
Accidents involving easements are complicated. It’s best if you only have to worry about recovering from your injuries, not dealing with the added stress of complex legal issues.
If you or someone you love sustained injuries from an accident on an easement, contact Weinberg Law Offices to schedule an initial consultation.
Disclaimer: This content should not be construed as legal advice.