​What Is Premise Liability Law?

Premise liability law goes into effect in many personal injury cases because the plaintiff suffered an injury on someone else’s property because of a defective or unsafe condition.

For a plaintiff to be victorious in a premises liability case, they must prove that the property owner was negligent when it came to being the owner of the property or maintaining the property. If you or a loved one suffered an injury while legally visiting someone else’s property, you should speak with a premises liability law attorney about your case.

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What Is Premise Liability Law?

An Injury Does Not Automatically Qualify as Negligence

You should note that simply suffering an injury on someone’s property does not automatically qualify as negligence. You should also note that even if there was a hazardous situation on the property, it does not mean that the property owner was negligent. You will be required to prove that the property owner should have known about the unsafe conditions on the property or that the property owner did know that their property was hazardous and still failed to rectify the situation.

How Courts Determine Liability in a Premises Liability Case?

Liability in a premises liability case includes several factors, including:

  • The legal status of the person who visited the property
  • The condition the property was in during the incident
  • The actions or inaction of the property owner or the visitor
  • If the person who suffered an injury was a child
  • If the property owner and the visitor were to blame for the accident that caused an injury
  • Any special rules that apply to a landlord of a property

What Are The Most Common Types of Premises Liability Cases?

Many personal injury cases can fall under premises liability, including:

  • Accidents involving snow and ice
  • Slip and fall accidents
  • Dog bites
  • Defective conditions on a property
  • Escalator and elevator accidents
  • Flooding or leaks
  • Fires
  • Accidents at amusement parks
  • Inadequate building security
  • Inadequate lighting in a parking lot or garage
  • Accidents in swimming pools
  • Toxic chemicals or fumes

Property Owners Have a Duty of Care to Their Visitors

Every property owner has a duty of care they must provide to their visitors. It does not matter which type of property they own (store, restaurant, commercial space, school, home, apartment, etc.); the owner must provide the duty of care to all of their visitors.

Visitors to all properties fall into three categories:

  • Invitees
  • Licensee
  • Trespassers

Who Are Invitees?

Invitees are visitors who have received express permission from the property owner to be on the property. These people are typically friends, family members, and other guests. The property owner owes invitees a duty of care to keep the property free from hazards and other dangerous conditions that can cause harm or injury to the visitors.

Who Are Licensees?

A licensee has been given permission or consent by the property owner to enter the property but is doing so for their own purpose. A licensee is typically someone like a salesperson.

A property owner has a duty of care to provide the licensee with a warning of any dangerous conditions that might be present on the property if the property owner:

  • Knows about the hazardous condition
  • The licensee is unlikely to find the hazardous condition on their own

What Is a Trespasser?

A trespasser has not received permission to be on a property from the owner. In most cases, the property owner does not owe a duty of care to the trespasser unless they are a child. If the trespasser is a child, the property owner owes a duty of care to the child to reasonably avoid a hazardous situation from an artificial hazard, such as a swimming pool. These hazards are known as attractive nuisances.

Common Examples of Premises Liability Cases

Premises liability cases come in many different forms, including:

  • Wet floors
  • Defective stairs
  • Unsecured carpets, rugs, or other types of flooring
  • Loose stairs, uneven sidewalks, missing steps
  • Hidden cords
  • Floors that are too oily
  • Snow or ice that has accumulated

What if the Property Owner and the Visitor Were to Blame?

In some instances, the law can blame the visitor for the accident on someone else’s property. A visitor also has to exhibit a duty of care when visiting someone’s property to exercise reasonable care. The recovery of compensation by the plaintiff can be limited when the owner proves the visitor did not exercise care for their own safety when visiting a property.

What Are the Special Rules for a Landlord Under Premise Liability Law?

For the most part, a landlord is not liable for injuries to tenants or visitors to a property that they have charge of because of the property’s condition. The exception is the lack of control that a landlord has on a property when rented to a tenant.

The other exceptions to this rule include:

  • The landlord must prevent illegal activity from taking place on the property and can be liable if they know of illegal activity and fail to rectify it.
  • Landlords are required in many states to ensure that the building they manage is up to local fire and safety codes, including disclosing potential exposure to harmful toxins and providing the proper fire exits to the tenants.

Injured on Someone’s Property? Call a Premises Liability Attorney Today

If you or a loved one suffered an injury on someone’s property and were legally allowed to be there, you might have a claim for premises liability. It is in your best interest to speak with a premises liability attorney about your case. An attorney can investigate the incident, review your medical records, provide an honest assessment of your case, and represent you in settlement negotiations or court.

Too many people miss out on compensation for their losses because they do not know their legal rights. Even if you are unsure whether someone else should be responsible for your accident, you have nothing to lose by seeking a free case evaluation.

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