Court Discusses Landowner Liability Relating to Injuries Occurring Off Premises

Earlier this month, an appellate court in California issued a written opinion in a personal injury case that required the court to discuss an issue that often arises in Virginia premises liability cases. The case involved a plaintiff who was injured while crossing the street from an off-site parking lot to the church that owned the lot. The court had to determine if the church could be held liable for the plaintiff’s injuries despite the fact that the accident occurred on a public street that was not controlled by the church.

CrosswalkThe Facts of the Case

The plaintiff was a member of the defendant church. One evening, the plaintiff planned on attending an evening service at the church. He drove to the church and upon his arrival found that the church’s regular parking lot was full. A volunteer parking attendant directed the plaintiff to the church’s off-site parking lot across a five-lane road.

The plaintiff entered the off-site lot and parked his car. The parking lot was located mid-block, about 100 feet away from either intersection. The plaintiff exited the parking lot and, rather than walk over to the intersection to cross the street, crossed the street mid-block. As the plaintiff was crossing, he was struck by a passing motorist and seriously injured.

The plaintiff filed a premises liability lawsuit against the church, arguing that by maintaining an off-site parking lot, the church assumed a duty to parishioners to ensure that they were able to safely get from the parking lot to the church. The church argued that it did not have a duty to protect the plaintiff, noting that the plaintiff’s injury occurred off church property and on a public road, and the dangers in crossing the road were obvious.

The court agreed with the church, declining to find a duty of care owed to the plaintiff. The court based its decision on the general rule that landowners generally do not have a duty of care to those who are injured off their property, unless some action of the landowner creates a duty. Here, the court held, merely maintaining an off-site parking lot was insufficient to give rise to a duty of care. The court seemed to imply that had there been any other alleged negligence, the result may have been different.

Have You Been Injured in a Virginia Slip and Fall Accident?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a Virginia slip-and-fall accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. The skilled Virginia personal injury attorneys at the law offices of Charles B. Roberts, P.C. have extensive experience representing victims in a wide range of personal injury cases. Call 703-491-7070 to schedule a free consultation with an attorney to discuss your case today. Calling is free, and we will not bill you for our services unless we are able to help you recover the compensation you deserve.

See More Blog Posts:

Court Mandates Enforcement of Arbitration Clause in Recent Nursing Home Case, Virginia Injury Lawyers Blog, November 13, 2017.

Discovery Sanctions in Virginia Personal Injury Cases, Virginia Injury Lawyers Blog, November 27, 2017.