Visitor Question

Is a property owner liable for not having “Warning” signs posted on the roof?

Submitted By: Stephania (Turlock, CA)

I was on the roof of a building looking at the stars. To get a better look at the sky I walked across to the next roof where I still didn’t have a clear view. Then I went to the next roof where I fell and was injured. I broke both legs and displaced a vertebrae in my back.

There was a total lack of signs posted, warning that there was no roof, or that the next roof was a courtyard, or keep off, “Danger!”, etc. Had there been a sign I would have never went towards that area of the roof. I’m just wondering if I have a case for the lack of signage? Is the property owner responsible for paying my medical bills? Thanks.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.


Dear Stephania,

The first consideration is whether you had a right to be on any of the roofs. The second consideration is the issue of contributory negligence. If you didn’t have permission to be on the roof from which you fell, you may not have a legitimate claim. Under most conditions building codes do not require building owners to have signage admonishing people not to walk on the roof when it’s dark. Common sense would tell a person it’s dangerous to walk on a roof during the dark.

It’s highly unlikely the building owner will be liable for your medical bills. In the remote chance the owner might be, your claim will be severely compromised by your contributory negligence. To pursue a successful claim you will probably have to file a lawsuit. It’s unlikely any insurance company would agree to pay your claim without litigation. Under the circumstances your chances of success appear quite limited.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: May 11, 2013

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