Accidents on Public vs. Private Property

Accidents can occur anywhere for any number of reasons; however, if you were injured as a result of negligence or carelessness, who is liable depends on who owns the location in which you were injured. Slip and fall accidents, for example, can occur on the sidewalk or in a grocery store. In one case, the city or state might be liable for your accident, while in another case the owner of the grocery store might be responsible.

Private property mainly consists of residential homes and commercial establishments, such as restaurants, while public property can include the following:

  • Parking lots
  • Sidewalks
  • Public schools
  • Roadways
  • Freeways
  • Public playgrounds
  • Other city or state government establishments

Private property owners are under a duty of care to prevent harm caused by a property defect or condition that could cause people foreseeable harm. If you can prove the owner was negligent in exercising their duty, and the negligence directly caused your serious injury, you might be eligible for compensation for any medical bills and lost wages that occurred as a result of the injury, in addition to pain and suffering.

Those who are walking on public property are also entitled to recover compensation to pay for any medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering; however, public property suits are more complex. Government entities are likely to fight back, doing whatever it takes to avoid awarding you any money. Additionally, public entities may be protected by various governmental immunities, which make recovering against them for negligence more difficult. These claims can still be successful if you prove that the public entity was negligent and an immunity does not apply. For example, if a state decided to postpone fixing a road until next year despite a number of previous injuries on the road, they might be found negligent and could be held liable for any damages the unfixed street caused.

If you were injured on someone else’s property because of their negligence, don’t hesitate to give our skilled Walnut Creek premises liability attorneys a call. Casper, Meadows, Schwartz & Cook has been helping the victims of personal injury seek justice since 1979. We have prevailed in many high-profile defective property accident cases and have won significant awards for our clients. Let us see what we can do for you.

Contact us at (925) 275-5592 or fill out our online form to schedule a free case consultation today.


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