Premises Liability is a legal principle defining the responsibility a building or property owner bears should someone suffer an accident and sustain an injury on the premises. If you feel you were involved in an accident and sustained injuries due to the negligence of a property owner, an experienced personal injury attorney may be able to help. Here are five important things to consider about premises liability cases.
1. What Are The Premises Liability Case Basics?
Premises Liability cases fall under the category of personal injury law. Typically, such injuries occur due to accidents caused by dangerous conditions present inside a building or on a property. In order to win a premises liability case, you and your legal team will need to prove a property owner’s negligence caused your accident.
2. What Are the Types of Premises Liability Cases?
Premises Liability accidents come in a wide array and can take place in many different locations. Such mishaps can include, but are not limited to:
- Slip and fall incidents.
- Failure of a property owner to warn a visitor about a potentially hazardous situation.
- Failure of a property owner to provide adequate security.
- Animal attacks resulting in bites or other injuries.
- A visitor to a property being exposed to poisonous chemicals or inhaling toxic fumes.
- Accidents involving a property owner’s failure to remove snow and ice from structures such as parking lots and steps.
- Accidents occurring in and around swimming pools.
- Injuries sustained on amusement park rides.
3. What Was Your Individual Status at the Time of the Accident?
The law mandates property owners maintain as safe and comfortable an environment as possible. However, in certain states, a property visitor’s “status” could significantly determine how much responsibility a property owner may bear in a premises liability case. Status is broken down into three categories:
An invitee is someone the property owner invites into his or her establishment, such as a consumer with whom they hope to do business. A licensee is an individual the property owner has permitted into his or her establishment. Typically, licensees are on the premises for a specific purpose, often to perform work such as a plumber or electrical contractor. A trespasser is considered to have no business on a specific premises and is often there for sinister or criminal reasons. Invitees typically have the best chance of prevailing in premises liability case, while trespassers rarely prevail.
4. What Will You and Your Attorney Need to Prove?
In certain instances, premises liability can be technical and complicated. In addition, laws can vary from state to state. However, in most cases, the plaintiff, aside from negligence on the part of the defendant will also need to show:
- The defendant was the actual owner of the property where his or her accident occurred and injuries were sustained.
- The plaintiff’s injuries are clearly related to the accident in question.
5. Could Both Parties Be Considered at Fault?
In a number of states, premises liability law falls under what is known as the “Comparative Fault System.” This means a court of law could render a decision determining the plaintiff was found to be somewhat responsible for the accident. A simple example would be if a plaintiff is held 10 percent responsible and awarded $10,000 in damages. In this case, the defendant would only be responsible to cover $9,000 or 90 percent of the damages. Getting free legal advice from the internet is a preliminary step, but a personal injury attorney can assess your case and offer a legal opinion as to whether or not it has merit and suggest how to move forward.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Hot Legal Tips for their insight into premises liability.