To understand why you should bring a claim, you must first understand premises liability law. This type of law refers to the principles that lead a landowner to be responsible when somebody gets hurt on their property due to dangerous conditions. Most of the time, this is due to negligence by the property owner. There are three types of plaintiffs, which include the following:
- Trespassers: These are plaintiffs who entered a property without permission.
- Licensees: These are social guests who entered onto land for their own purposes.
- Invitees: These are people who have entered onto a property for purposes of the landowner, such as a customer buying products. (1)
Each group as mentioned above are given a specific duty of care and protection from any harm. Trespassers are not meant to be kept safe under any duty. However, if the landowner knew that the trespasser was present, then they may owe them some duty of care. Landowners also have a duty to keep licensees safe and must warn them about dangers that they may come into contact with on the property. Invitees are given the most protection, where landowners must always be inspecting the premises to make sure that it is safe for them.
Common Types of Premises Liability Cases
If you have been injured on someone else’s property, you may have a claim. Every year, thousands of people bring these specific claims in court against a landowner because of negligence. Here are some of the most common types of premises liability cases seen in court each year:
- Inadequate Security: What happens when an employee or customer is injured or killed in a break-in, robbery, or through vandalism? The business’ security will become the center of attention, and if there was no security, the landowner can be held liable for injuries.
- Obstructions: This is something that generally lies on the floor and obstructs someone’s pathway, causing them an accident. An owner must keep walkways clear and usable.
- Poor Maintenance: When fixtures and appliances are left to neglect in a premises, they can become dangerous. It is a landowner’s duty to continue maintaining all elements on a property.
- Slip and Falls: These are one of the most common types of premises liability to happen anywhere and perhaps account for the most cases every year. They can take place due to wet floors, snow and ice, misplaced cords, and so much more.
- Uncontrolled Dogs: A pet owner is responsible for what their dog does. If a dog is known to be aggressive and bites another person, the owner could be held liable to cover injuries.
Acting Reasonably Under the Circumstances
Under negligence, there is a premise that all people have an obligation to act as a reasonable person given the circumstances. In a premises liability case, the judge or jury will consider all facts surrounding the case and then decide if a reasonable person in the defendant’s shoes would have acted under the same manner. In many cases of negligence, another person would have done something different to avoid the accident altogether. There are many factors used to determine if negligence was at play. Consider an accident where somebody was attacked in a parking lot at night. Was the crime rate bad in that area? Did the owner have previous knowledge of attacks? Should the owner have taken other measures to ensure safety, such as brighter lights, security guards, and more? These are aspects that the court would consider. (2)
You should also know about something known as an “attractive nuisance,” which is when child-related accidents occur. If the landowner knew that children would be attracted to something on the property, then they have a legal obligation to recognize all danger and prevent accidents from happening. A child, for instance, could fail to recognize a dangerous slide on the property that could cause immediate injury from accidents. In this case, the landowner could remove the slide from the property or erect a fence in the backyard.
Proving That You Were Injured
Can you prove that you were actually injured on their property in an accident? This is necessary to make your claim and will require evidence. This means that you will be required to provide proof such as medical documentation, testimony from healthcare professionals, and so much more. You must also be able to show, of course, that the defendant’s negligence actually contributed to your injuries and harm. (1)
Making Claims Against the Government
Premises liability claims can also be made against the government in certain situations. In fact, one of the most common claims that is made against the government happens to be when somebody is injured by a defect on a public sidewalk. The governmental unit responsible for maintaining the walkways is, of course, legally responsible for taking care of these damages. In 1946, Congress enacted something known as the Federal Tort Claims Act that permitted individuals to recover damages against the government when an injury is sustained. However, as with any case, proof will be necessary. (3)
What Happens if You Are Partially at Fault
In some cases, a plaintiff may have contributed to their accident on another person’s property in some way. A landowner may harshly accuse the plaintiff of being partially at fault for the incident that led up to the injuries. A visitor has a duty to care for themselves to a certain extent. If the plaintiff does not do so, their recovery may be limited or reduced by their percentage of negligence. Many states will use a “comparative fault” rule to determine the percentage of liability and just how much the defendant actually owes. If an injured person ends up being 25% responsible for their accident, the damages they receive will be adjusted accordingly to reflect this. (2)
You can receive help with your premises liability case by giving us a call today. We have the experience necessary to handle these types of cases and will help you receive compensation for your injuries. Being injured on someone’s property can turn into a complicated case and you need help on your side!
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