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Premises Liability Laws for Residential Property Owners

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Premises Liability for Residential Property Owners

Premises liability is civil liability for negligence that occurs on property owned by someone other than the victim. The person or company that owns or controls the property is responsible for foreseeable injuries that occur to guests on the property.

State laws dictate that residential property owners have a duty of care towards most individuals who enter their property. If the residential property owner does not exercise this duty of care, then the owner will be liable for negligence.

How Do You Prove Premises Liability?

A plaintiff must prove in court in a premises liability case that:

  1. A dangerous condition or defect existed on the premises.
  2. The residential property owner had actual or constructive notice of the dangerous condition or defect.
  3. The residential property owner failed to exercise the duty of care in remedying the situation.
  4. The victim was injured because of this breach of the duty of care.

Who Is Liable?

Residential property owners are not the only potential defendants in a premises liability case. Other liable individuals could be:

  • Property management company
  • Real estate developer
  • Leasee of an apartment or storefront
  • Construction company
  • Government

Types of Claims

Premises liability is an umbrella term for injuries that occur due to the negligence of property owners. However, there are numerous types of negligence claims that occur under premises liability. These include:

  • Slip and fall accidents
  • Dog bites
  • Falling debris
  • Mold
  • Property damage

Defenses to Premises Liability

Residential property owners do have an arsenal of defenses to premises liability. These can include:

  • Comparative negligence: The plaintiff was partially responsible for the accident, which will result in a reduction of the damages award.
  • Contributory negligence: The plaintiff was partially responsible for the accident, which will result in his claim being barred.
  • Assumption of risk: The plaintiff was aware of an open and obvious condition or consented to a dangerous condition, which will result in his claim being barred.
  • Trespassers: The plaintiff had no permission to be on the property, which will result in his claim being barred.

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 an experienced personal injury lawyer to help you fight the negligence claims, negotiate a settlement, and raise any affirmative defenses.

Photo of page author Jessica Long

, LegalMatch Legal Writer

Last Modified: 05-11-2015 04:28 PM PDT

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