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Can You Sue the City for Injuries at the Oxnard Transit Center?

The Oxnard Transit Center (OTC) has been the major transit hub in town since it opened in 1986. Occupying more than five acres, the OTC grounds include parking facilities, partially enclosed outdoor waiting areas, an indoor waiting area, concessions, public telephones and restrooms, and bus and rail loading facilities for various public and private transit companies.

But if you are injured at the Oxnard Transit Center, is the city responsible? Perhaps, but not necessarily. It depends on the facts of your injury.

Premises liability law requires that landlords take reasonable steps to make their grounds safe for lawful visitors. At the Oxnard Transit Center, the City of Oxnard is the landlord, but there are a number of tenants:

  • Gold Coast Transit District
  • Amtrak
  • Greyhound
  • Metrolink
  • Amadeus Shuttle
  • Airporter Shuttle

There are also commercial businesses that occupy space at the OTC and countless passengers who come through the center on a daily basis. The City of Oxnard would generally not be responsible for negligent acts by tenants and individuals that cause injuries to visitors at the center.

Let’s assume it wasn’t another passenger who knocked you down, causing your injury. Rather, it was a slip and fall accident caused by a dangerous hidden condition you encountered at the center. There are then two questions that must be asked:

  • Who caused the condition?
  • Who was responsible for remedying the condition?

In transportation facilities, dangerous conditions “pop up” as people use the area. Newspapers get discarded; food and drinks get spilled. Immediately after the condition appears, the person who caused the condition is responsible for cleaning it up and liable for any injuries if he doesn’t. But as time goes by, the law assumes the landlord, exercising reasonable control over the grounds, would have cleaned up the mess. The important question is whether the landlord had ample time to clean up the mess before the accident occurred.

Other accidents occur because of poor maintenance. Loose tiles, potholes, and uneven surfaces can cause a visitor to trip or slip and fall. Depending on where the hazard is, it could be the responsibility of a tenant or the landlord to fix it. A commercial tenant who is aware of a defect on the property he controls cannot pass the blame onto a landlord who might not even know the defect exists. However, in common areas of a facility, the landlord — not the tenant — is generally responsible. If you are hurt getting on or off of transit equipment, or while riding, the transit company could be liable.

Premises liability cases can be difficult to prove, and if your case is against a government entity, you have a limited time to act. An experienced Oxnard personal injury lawyer at Crane Flores, LLP can answer your questions and advise you of your rights. Call us today at (805) 628-4967 or contact our offices online to schedule a free consultation.