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Premises Liability

Premises Liability

Injured Due to a Property or Premises Liability Issue? Call 1-800-ATTORNEY.

The concept of premises liability is important to understand. As consumers, we need to be aware of the different caveats of premises liability law and how they apply to different situations. Premises liability is also not limited to stores and commercial property; residential owners also have a responsibility to protect visitors from harm.

There are many types of personal injuries that may fall under the umbrella of premises liability. Some of the most common examples include but are not limited to the following:
Premises Liability Lawyers

  • Slip, trip and fall accidents
  • Dog bites and other animal attacks
  • Injuries due to a premises defect (uneven floors or stairs, blocked aisles and exits, etc)
  • Unsecured property and “attractive nuisances”
  • Failure to come to the rescue of an injured party
  • And more…

While injuries are generally the result of an accident, many accidents related to premises liability are 100% preventable. Property owners have a legal duty to keep visitors from unnecessary harm, and there are very specific rules they must follow with relation to premises liability. If the owner or manager of the property takes proper precautions to ensure all hazards are removed, the majority of these type of accidents can be avoided. When they don’t, an injured party has the right to sue for damages related to the incident.

If a person is injured on the property of another, a court will impose liability on the property owner or possessor under premises liability law if:

  1. The property owner or possessor owed the injured person a duty of care, and
  2. The property owner or possessor breached that duty of care.

Whether the property owner or possessor owed the injured person a duty of care (as well as the extent of care owed) depends on the relationship between the person owning or holding the property and the injured person.

Responsibilities of a Property Owner

The term “premises liability” is a broad term that defines many different types of cases. It’s important for building managers as well as consumers to understand how the level of responsibility owed depends on the classification of the visitor. All visitors fall into one of the following three categories:

  • Invitee
    An invitee is a person who is on the premises by invitation (either direct or implied) in order to conduct business which benefits the property owner or company (e.g. customers, event attendees, etc). Property owners owe the highest duty of care to invitees. Premises liability law actually requires property owners to routinely inspect the property for known and unknown dangers in order to make sure there are no unsafe conditions, and if so, to immediately repair them or warn invitees of the presence of these unsafe conditions.
  • Licensee
    A licensee is a person who visits a building at the invitation of the possessor of the property for non-commercial and non-business purposes (e.g. social guests). Property owners have a duty to warn licensees of known dangers, but are not required to seek out unknown dangers.
  • Trespasser
    Property owners are not obligated to provide the same duty of care to trespassers as they do to invitees and licensees. They also have no obligation to warn them of dangers that may naturally occur on the premises, but if the property possessor is aware of the trespasser, then he or she owes the visitor a “duty of common humanity.” Essentially, this means that the property owner has an obligation to warn the known trespasser of any known, hidden dangers such as the presence of an electric fence that produces a lethal shock. Property owners also have an obligation not to “trap” or willfully injure trespassers.

On the other hand, if the trespasser is a child, things get even more complicated under the attractive nuisance doctrine.

Slip and Fall Accidents

Slip and fall accidents are the most common type of premises liability cases, but they can also be the most difficult ones to prove. This is why it is important for anyone who is injured in a slip and fall accident to document everything before and after the incident (wet floors, obstacles in the aisles, etc.). If you are able to take pictures, that will only help make your case stronger.

If you have been injured on someone else’s property and think you may have a potential premises liability claim, our attorneys can help you. Please fill out the contact form on this page or call 1-800-ATTORNEY for your FREE consultation.

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