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Proving liability in a foreclosed property

Getting hurt on someone's property typically results in the owner being held responsible for your injuries. What happens when a property doesn't have an owner on site, though? One problem you could run into is being injured on a foreclosure site, which won't likely be maintained.

With no one at the property to maintain the lawn, pavement or other parts of the home, these vacant properties can become dangerous to the people around it. In fact, according to one article, Bank of America has been in charge of foreclosure properties that resulted in injury, but it has been found to have no legal duty to maintain that property, even though the bank owns the mortgage and apartments.

So, what can a person do when he or she gets hurt on a property like this? There are some things to consider. For instance, is the property commercial or residential? If the property is commercial in nature, the owner, regardless of who it is, is responsible for maintaining the property and sidewalks around the property. If the home is residential, then the homeowner is not responsible for public sidewalks, but it could be held accountable for injuries that take place on the property itself.

If the bank in question has become a mortgagee in possession, which is something you'll need to ask about, then you can prove that it should have maintained the property in the same way as a typical owner would. That means that if a bank is found to own a home that is in disrepair and is also a mortgagee in possession, you could have a case against it for compensation.

Source: New Jersey Law Journal, "Foreclosed Properties Raise Injury Liability Issues," Mary Pat Gallagher, accessed May. 12, 2015

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