Premises Liability

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What Is Premises Liability?

Premise liability is an area of personal injury law that makes a person in possession or control of property responsible for certain injuries sustained by other persons while they are on the property. Put simply, the owner of the property owes a certain duty of care to certain classes of people who enter the property. When that duty is breached and an injury is simply foreseeable, the owner may be liable.

What Are the Elements of a Premises Liability Lawsuit?

An person injured on property owners premises as a result of property owners failure to maintain a safe property must show:

  1. A dangerous condition existed on the property
  2. The property owner knew or should have known about the dangerous condition
  3. The property owner failed to warn, repair, and remedy the dangerous condition
  4. The property entrant was injured as a result

Who is the Landowner Liable for?

The duty of the property owner to the property entrant varies on whether the property entrant is a invitee, licensee, or a trespasser:

Under a traditional approach, each category of person is owed a unique duty of care, with trespassers typically falling by the wayside and only being extended a protection against reckless or intentional harm.

Category of Property

The specific liability of a piece of property will vary by state. Here are some general categories of property and an example of the duty their owner may owe:

Situations Causing the Injury

Premises liability injuries can be caused by:

Can Property Owner be Liable for Criminal Acts Which Occur on Property Owner's Premises?

In many jurisdictions, a property owner may be liable for criminal acts committed by a 3rd party not associated with the property owner if the property owner knew or should have known that the criminal act is likely. The property owner must take a reasonable measures to prevent this type of act if the property owner has had a history of criminal conduct occur on his or her property. This might require the plaintiff to prove that there was a history of criminal activity in the past which put property owner on notice that security measures were necessary to ensure safety for property entrants.

What Kind of Damages Can Be Recovered from Landowner?

When a property owner fails to exercise reasonable care to prevent an accident from occurring on his or her property, he or she may be required to pay the plaintiff damages for the injuries. Victims of premise liability injuries may recover:

Should I Consult with a Lawyer?

If you have been injured on someone else’s property, you should contact a personal injury lawyer immediately. While property owners have a myriad of defenses to liability available, only an attorney can thoroughly evaluate your case, and ensure your rights are protected.

Consult a Lawyer - Present Your Case Now!
Last Modified: 01-16-2015 03:46 PM PST

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