Premises Liability Lawyers
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What Is Premises Liability?
Premises liability basically reflects the notion that to varying degrees, those who are in control of a property are responsible for safety of the people who come into contact with it. The "duty of care" owed varies with the type of property, the use of the property and the relationship between the person who is responsible for the property and those who enter it. In some jurisdictions the forseeablilty of the injury will determine negligence and, therefore, the liability of the landowner.
Who Can Be Liable for a Premises Liability Injury?
The liability of a landowner may face for injuries that occur on their premises depends on the status level of the victim:
- Invitee: An invitee is a guest that is owed the highest standard of care. The owner of the land must ensure that the premises is safe for the guest and take all reasonable steps to ensure that the premises are safe.
- Licensee: Any individual who enters the land with the owner's permission, whether express or implied, for non-commercial purpose. The most common example is a social guest. In order to recover as a licensee, a plaintiff must establish:
- The owner knew or should have known of the dangerous condition, that it created an unreasonable risk of harm, and that the plaintiff would not discover the dangerous condition
- The landowner did not make the dangerous condition safe or failed to warn the licensee of the condition
- The licensee did not know of the dangerous condition or the risks involved prior to being injured
- Trespassers: An owner or possessor of land can be held liable for injuries that occur to trespassers if they are known trespassers and the owner of the land knew that trespassers would come onto their land, but did nothing to prevent the injury, such as placing warnings or fixing the dangerous condition.
How Do You Prove Premises Liability?
A plaintiff must prove in court in a premises liability case that:
- A dangerous condition or defect existed on the owners land and premises.
- The owner or property owner had actual or constructive notice of the dangerous condition or defect.
- The owner or property owner failed to exercise the duty of care in remedying the situation.
- The victim was injured because of this breach of the duty of care.
Types of Premises Liability
- The owner of a home has the duty to make their home safe for visitors and for those who may come to the house to make repairs or for other business purposes. A homeowner must not create risk of injury by falling debris, slippery floors, dangerous railings, faulty stairs, etc.
- The owner of a store has the duty to keep the building structurally sound, to make sure that the doors, windows, plumbing, elevators, escalators, fixtures, etc. work properly and do not cause injury.
- The owner of the business that leases the space may have the duty to make sure that the isles remain clear and that the products are not stored dangerously, i.e., stacked too high.
- The owner of land has a duty to keep the land safe for the purpose for which it was intended. This applies to the owner of a private land such as a ski resort, country club or private lake and the owner of land with public access.
- Depending on who had control of the injurious element of the property, liability may also extend from owners to those who rent or lease property. For example, the leaser of an apartment may be liable for an injury caused by a free-standing bookshelf that falls on a cable repair man. (Note that this does not preclude the liability of the owner. More than one party may be liable.)
The exact liability in a premise liability case will vary by situation and by state. A personal injury lawyer will be able to determine to what degree an injured person may be able to recover for his or her loss.
Limitations on Recovery
- Time Limitations - Statutes may limit the amount of time that you have to bring a premises liability state. If you wait too long to file, you may forfeit your right to bring a claim. Statutes of limitation vary by state and by the nature of the incident.
- Fault - Many states reduce the amount of recovery based on the respective fault of each party. Not all injuries are caused by the fault of others. Often people are injured by their own carelessness in which case there can be no, or limited, recovery.
- Injury on Public Property - Special notice requirements limit recoveries for people injured on public property because they drastically shorten the time limits for filing a lawsuit. Often, the notice of a claim must be brought against public entity within 30 days of the incident.
Common Examples of Premises Liability
Premises liability is common at the following types of destinations:
Do I Need an Attorney for a Premises Liability Lawsuit?
Premises liability lawsuits are difficult to navigate and involve very complex statutes, cases, and defenses. If you are being sued in a premises liability case, you need a personal injury lawyer to help you fight the negligence claims, negotiate a settlement, and raise any affirmative defenses.
Consult a Lawyer - Present Your Case Now!
Last Modified: 10-19-2015 09:18 AM PDT
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