When asked to defend a commercial landlord or tenant in a premise liability case, the first questions that most attorneys will ask are, "Where did the accident take place?" and "What are the maintenance responsibilities under the lease?" Someone might assumes that the ideal client response would be that the accident occurred either somewhere other than on the property or in an area of the property established by the lease for which a different party has responsibility, which logically would imply that the client has no liability for the incident. However, the ever-changing scope of commercial liability gives pause to the conclusion that an accident location or unambiguous lease language would determine a client's liability for injuries suffered beyond the property's boundaries or in an area of the property for which the client does not have a contractual obligation to maintain.
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