Location. Location. Location.
Generally speaking, business owners do not have a duty to protect people who are not on the property of the business. However, recently California courts have begun to expand the liability of landowners to persons on adjacent property not owned or controlled by the landowner. You have a duty to avoid exposing people to risks of injury that occur off site if you maintain property in such a manner as to expose people to unreasonable risks of injury.
What does this mean? Here is an example: if you own a business and rent out a parking lot across the street for your customers to use, are you liable for injuries in the parking lot? What about if someone gets hit by a car crossing the street? The answer is likely yes to both. Even if someone jaywalks, instead of walking out of the way to an intersection with a cross-walk, you can still be held liable.
What can I do? Mitigate. Mitigate. Mitigate. (i.e., minimize your risk) Put up warning signs, tell customers to use the crosswalk, rent a parking lot on the same side of the road. You must take some affirmative steps to prevent any foreseeable injuries from occurring.
Be sure to understand your obligations. For more information on your premises liability risks, contact the attorneys at Chauvel & Glatt, LLP at (650) 573-9500.