Liability of Businesses for Earthquake Hazards and Losses

Major earthquakes will strike California again during the next several years. Lives will be lost and property damage will occur. California businesses will be sued for failing to adequately prepare for this earthquake and mitigate hazards. The following resource sections should help your business prepare for and reduce your liability exposure.

How is liability determined?
People are injured and killed, serious property damage occurs, and businesses are disrupted in a hazardous building that was not retrofitted .
Causation and foreseeability
What other key legal principles are important to understand?
What specific measures or strategies can be used by private businesses to reduce liability exposure?

People are injured and killed, serious property damage occurs, and businesses are disrupted and in an unreinforced masonry building that was retrofitted to meet a standard for life-safety retrofit.

Why did ABAG conduct the research that forms the basis for this liability information?
People are injured and killed trying to exit a movie theater with nonstructural hazards.

ABAG, the Association of Bay Area Governments, is the regional planning and services agency for the nine-county San Francisco Bay Area. This information is based on a two-year research effort that resulted in the 1984 ABAG report, "Liability of Private Businesses for Earthquake Hazards and Losses," including an Executive Summary, a Guidebook, and a Background volume. The research effort that forms the basis for this information was funded by the National Science Foundation's Earthquake Hazard Reduction Program, as well as by ABAG. Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors of these reports and do not necessarily reflect the views of the funding agencies. None of these materials constitute legal or engineering advice to the reader. Please consult your own attorney or engineer for advice on a specific situation or facility. The information contained on these pages was reviewed for accuracy based on 2004 laws and case laws in 2004. This page was last updated 4/13/04 by jbp.