California and much of the country is currently in the grips of a scorching heat wave. In combination with the state's present drought, it may seem like the heat will never end. It is especially crucial during these times to stay cool and hydrated to avoid heat sickness or even a heat stroke. But when you are in a building, does premises liability come into play?
In short, some building owners and operators could be held liable for heat-related illnesses. There are a few general scenarios in which this may be applicable. Schools have a responsibility to make sure students stay safe and healthy while in the building. This is especially true for institutions educating young children. Teachers and administrators should make sure the children are staying hydrated, particularly if they are playing outside. Hot slides and other equipment that cause burns could also lead to a lawsuit.
Similarly, employers are responsible for their employees’ safety, especially outdoor workers. Employers should ensure their workers are receiving plenty of water breaks and have a cool, shaded spot to rest. They should also have a plan in place to help employees who may have succumbed to heat illness or a heat stroke.
In a landlord-tenant relationship, there is very little premises liability when it comes to heat waves. Tenants are responsible for paying their electricity bills to keep the air conditioning on. However, depending on your contract and local laws, they may be responsible for providing water and fixing broken air conditioning units in a timely manner.
No matter where you are, the best way to fight the heat is to stay hydrated and stay in cool places as often as possible. If you or a loved one suffered from a heat-related injury due to someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. A personal injury attorney may be able to provide more information and advice.