Can I Sue the Landlord for Flat Tires from Nails in the Parking Lot?

Full Question:

I rent an apt in CA. (An unincorporated city). I park my motorcycle in my garage, and my van in my assigned parking space. My son, who is also on the lease, parks his truck in guest parking, as per the lease. I got a screw in the tire of my van, another in my motorcycle, and another in my sons truck, as well as at least one neighbors car. The apartment maintenance guys work out of two garages in the parking area near us. They admitted to sweeping out the maintenance vehicles beds onto the parking lot. I did a magnetic sweep to pick up the steel trash and found at least two dozen screws, nails, staples. I still have the bag full of metallic trash. Can we charge the tire repair, replacement to the property owners? One tire (van) was repaired free, (plugged) as part of the purchase agreement, the motorcycle was temp. plugged by me, then replaced, the truck tire was temp. plugged by my son and will be replaced when he can afford it. The neighbors status is unknown. Value of the van tire is approx $200, Truck tire is $214.31, motorcycle tire was 162.91, for a total of $363.00. What about the van tire? It was plugged for free, but it is still damaged, and should be replaced. This occurred earlier in the year, the other damages occurred within the last few weeks.
08/12/2011   |   Category: Negligence   |   State: California   |   #25322

Answer:

When a person fails to fails to uphold a duty of care and that lack of care is the cause of foreseeable harm to another, that person may be found liable for damages due to negligence. Negligence claims require the plaintiff to show the defendant owed a duty of care, that duty was not upheld, and that failure of care caused a foreseeable harm. The answer will depend on all the circumstances involved, such as the applicable school policy and whether the infected person was being treated. We are prohibited from giving a legal opinion, as this service provides information of a general legal nature. I suggest contacting a local attorney who can review all the facts and documents involved.

In negligence cases, the most difficult issue to prove is often causation. It would need to be shown that the damage was the result of the defendant's actions or lack of care, and that there were not other causes or contributing factors which would entirely or partly relieve the defendant of liability.

It will be a matter of subjective determination for the court whether there was negligence, based on all the facts and evidence in your situation. Some of the factors, among others the court may consider include whether other contractors use the area and may have dropped the items and whether you are able to obtain litterer’s testimony linking them to the objects that damaged the tires, and whether notice was provided to the landlord to clean up the litter.