Who’s Responsible for Injuries in a Premises Liability Claim?

While many people may believe that property owners have the sole responsibility of keeping up with their properties and ensuring that they are safe to the public, that may not be the case. Property owners have no true responsibility to repair any hazards around their property unless they allow people onto the property. Though some situations may deviate from these unofficial rules, many people struggle to figure out the level of premises liability that property owners have and when, if ever, they are responsible for any accidents on their property. 

Premises Liability 

Premises Liability accompanies any personal injury case where the plaintiff’s injuries were caused by defective or unsafe conditions presented on the defendant’s property. When it comes down to the property, owners are typically found fully liable for any injury on or because of their property. In order to be found guilty of premises liability, an individual will need to prove that the property owner deliberately acted negligently or carelessly in regard to their property which can tend to be difficult to prove. This is because the act of being injured on someone else’s property doesn’t directly mean that the owner is at fault. To prove fault, there has to be significant evidence to prove that the injury could have been avoided had the owner acted responsibly. Some common examples of premises liability cases include:

  • Dog bites
  • Slip and fall accidents
  • Pool accidents
  • Snow and ice accidents
  • Inadequate premises maintenance 
  • Defective premises conditions
  • Toxic fumes and chemicals
  • Fires
  • Flooding and water leaks
  • Elevator and escalator defects and accidents
  • Inadequate building security 

Other cases may also qualify as premises liability. If you are unsure whether or not your case falls into this category, it may be necessary to contact a personal injury attorney concerning the specific details of your case. 

Who’s Responsible?

When it comes to a person being injured on someone else’s premises, the property owner isn’t always responsible. This is because responsibility for the accident doesn’t always fall on the property owner. While owners do have a degree of responsibility for their property, some situations are fully out of their control, and they cannot prevent another person’s injuries. There are several degrees of responsibility that property owners have to depend on the person that enters their property, including: 

  • Invitees- This group of people is anyone invited onto the property for business purposes. A great example of this would be a potential buyer entering a store. Once the buyer enters the store, the store owner has a high degree of care for them while they remain on the property. The store owner is responsible for fixing any potentially dangerous issues and constantly inspecting areas of the store to rectify any potential dangers that may arise at any given time. They must ensure a safe environment and take great care in correcting any dangers that the public could potentially have access to. Many property owners schedule regular inspections, maintain their property, and clear regularly to limit their liability for injuries. 
  • Licenses- This group of people is allowed onto the premises for social or personal purposes. A few examples of this could include a salesman coming onto the property for personal reasons, a guest invited onto the property, or someone renting the property for an event. The property owner must apply reasonable care with licensed members so that they are not harmed. This includes fixing any previously damaged areas. When a licensed member enters the property, a property owner is not responsible for fully inspecting hazardous areas. If there are any areas that property owners don’t want people in or around, they may let the licensee know about them and restrict the area, but they do not have to have the area inspected ahead of time. 
  • Trespassers- This group of people is not allowed onto the property. While many people believe that trespassers are solely people who enter into restricted areas, many cases of trespassing are by those who were previously allowed or invited onto properties and then formally kicked out, making them trespassers. Property owners are not typically liable for any injuries that an unknown trespasser sustains while on the property. However, if the property owner has frequent known trespassers on their property, they may be found liable for any conditions that could potentially injure or cause harm to trespassers. 

While the above pertains to adult trespassers, child trespassers can cause a different issue for property owners. If children are known to trespass on a certain property frequently, that property is responsible for being safe. Children are often naive to any dangers that may be present or potential dangers around the property. They may also be drawn to specifically dangerous properties. If property owners see children on or around their properties regularly, they are expected to fix any hazardous conditions that may put them at risk for injury or disease. 

Figuring out liability pertaining to the premises of property owners can be tricky and require a lot of case-specific evidence to prove one way or another. Proving that an owner was aware of dangerous conditions and did nothing to fix them, causing someone to get injured, is incredibly difficult to prove, especially if you’re handling your own case. Because of these complexities involved in premises liability lawsuits, it is recommended that those who wish to proceed with their claim hire an experienced personal injury attorney to assist them with their case. 

Contact a Personal Injury Attorney 

If you have been injured while on someone else’s property and believe that they may be found liable for your injuries, contact The Eichholz Law Firm. Our licensed and experienced personal injury attorneys will go the extra mile to ensure that your case is handled with care and accuracy so that you can receive the compensation that you deserve. You can call us at 855-551-1019 or contact us directly on our website here.

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