Premises Liability Defenses

Locate a Local Personal Injury Lawyer

Find Lawyers in Other Categories
Most Common Personal Injury Law Issues:

What is Premises Liability?

Premises liability is a type of legal theory which holds the possessor of land responsible for some injuries suffered by visitors who are present on their premises.  A common example of this is business owners who become liable for a slip and fall injury that a customer suffered while shopping at their store.  Depending on the circumstances, the owner or controller of the premises may be legally liable for such injuries.

Premises liability claims are normally based on negligence theories.  In order to hold the premises owner liable, it needs to be shown that they were negligent.  Proof of negligence involves a showing that:

Thus, premises liability claims are usually based on unintentional conduct (i.e., negligence) by the owner of the premises rather than intentionally caused injuries. 

What are Some Premises Liability Defenses?

An owner or controller of land may have different defenses available to them depending on the circumstances.  The most obvious way for an owner to avoid premises liability is to prove that they weren’t negligent.  This means that one or more of the elements of proof listed above aren’t met.  For example, if the owner of the premises never breached their duty of care, they can’t be held liable for injuries suffered by visitors.

Some commonly raised premises liability defenses include:

Note that the application of a contributory or comparative negligence defense will depend on the jurisdiction.  Some jurisdictions only apply contributory negligence theories, while others may enforce a combination of contributory and comparative negligence defenses.   

Does the Type of Visitor Matter in Terms of Liability?

Yes- the premises owner may owe a different duty of care depending on their relation to one each visitor.  Generally, there are three different classes of “visitors” for premises liability purposes:

Thus, property owners owe the highest duty of care to invitees, a lesser degree of care to licensees, and the lowest degree of care towards trespassers.  Therefore, the visitor’s status can greatly affect the liability of the land owner.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Assistance With Premises Liability Defenses?

Premises liability claims can present many challenges for property and business owners.  If you need help in raising a premises liability defense, you should contact a qualified personal injury lawyer immediately.  Your attorney can advise you on the various defenses that may available to you in your jurisdiction.  Experienced personal injury lawyers understand the various factors involved in premises liability lawsuits. 

Consult a Lawyer - Present Your Case Now!
Last Modified: 06-25-2012 02:42 PM PDT

Find the Right Lawyer Now

Link to this page

Law Library Disclaimer

LegalMatch Service Mark