When someone is injured on public or private property due to hazardous conditions, negligence, or inadequate maintenance, the owners or operators may be liable. This type of occurrence falls under the category of premises liability.
There are different types of liabilities and various claims and cases within this broad category, so today we'll answer some of the most common questions about this personal injury litigation.
What is Premises Liability?
Premises liability is a legal concept in personal injury cases. Because property owners are required by law to keep their property safe, if someone is injured, they may be subject to legal recourse. One of the most common and well-known types of premises liability cases are "slip and fall" cases.
Premises liability lawsuits are not uncommon. They are typically the action of choice when an individual is injured on public or private property and the property owners can be held liable for their negligence. In order for a victim to receive compensation for their injuries, their lawyer must be able to provide evidence that the property owner knew about the hazardous conditions before the victim was injured. If you are a victim of property owner negligence and you're looking for answers to your questions, you've come to the right place.
What Are the Different Types of Premises Liability Claims?
As we mentioned above, slip and fall cases are among the most common types of premises liability claims. Injuries in this category occur at various venues, in retail spaces, at residences, or at workplaces, among other locations.
In addition to slip and fall claims, premises liability cases can include:
- Stairway accidents that are a result of broken stairs, inadequate hand railing, unsteady or uneven stairs, or another failure to conform to code
- Injuries that result from a deck or porch collapsing under or on you
- Swimming pool accidents, including drowning
- Stadium injuries resulting from clutter, poor lighting, improper maintenance, improperly maintained bleachers, etc.
- Fire-related injuries due to lack of fire safety precautions in buildings
- Injuries obtained near a construction site due to debris or obstructions left by construction crews
- Park and playground injuries due to holes in walkways, improperly maintained play structures, poorly maintained benches, etc.
- Injuries or assaults due to inadequate security
- Dog (or other animals) bites or attacks
Some that may be more difficult to prove include:
- Injuries obtained from a lack of maintenance or repair of city sidewalks or streets (typically, this can only go forward if there isn't a statute or ordinance in place granting local government immunity)
- Injuries resulting from icy sidewalks or parking lots where there was a failure to clear ice or snow in a reasonable period of time after a storm
- Crimes committed against you on private or public property (these are more tricky and pretty rare)
These are just a few examples of common claims. Premises liability can be complex and may encompass many other types of injuries or deaths on public or private properties.
Is Premises Liability the Same as Negligence?
While a premises liability claim is a type of negligence claim, the difference between the two relates to the inclusion of property rather than strictly a negligent activity. This makes premises liability cases rather complicated because it comes down to what the property owner or manager has a responsibility to do. The complicated nature of these cases means that anyone interested in filing a claim should be sure to find a reputable personal injury lawyer with experience in premises liability.
What is an Attractive Nuisance?
While premises liability typically does not apply in the same way to trespassers, exceptions may apply to children who trespass. Owners may be held liable when a child trespasses and is injured on the property due to an attractive nuisance: a feature that could "wow" children and entice them to trespass.
Common attractive nuisances include water features (such as pools or hot tubs), playground equipment, or construction projects. Homeowners have a duty to understand potential issues that come from features that could attract children, and they should take all possible precautions to ensure children cannot access or become injured.
Who Should a Premises Liability Lawsuit Be Made Against?
When it comes to filing suit, there can be multiple parties who may be held financially accountable, but there are factors that come into play that can affect the suit. Those factors are reviewed by your attorney in order to determine who is at fault.
Some components of the decision may include:
- The visitor's status at the time of injury (ex. Invitee or trespasser)
- If the property is managed by a landlord
- The property condition, the actions of all parties involved, and the state's laws
Your attorney will talk through this with you and conduct the necessary research in order to determine who is potentially responsible.
Who is Responsible in a Premises Liability Case?
This is essentially the same as the question above, but it's worth exploring in with the question of "who is responsible." In all premises liability cases, a court is tasked with evaluating evidence and determining who should be held liable for any injuries a victim acquired while on public or private land. Injuries that were acquired on private land typically make the court's decision easier because the property owner is usually the one responsible for negligence.
However, injuries that were acquired on public land can be trickier, as there isn't always an obvious answer for whom should be held liable for the negligence. In some cases, the person who was injured is actually responsible, depending on their actions while on the property. If they were purposefully or carelessly acting in a way that caused their injuries, they can be held responsible for their own injuries and possibly any destruction to property they may have caused on the premises.
If it's determined by the court that the injured individual is partly or fully responsible for their own injuries, they will not receive any compensation. It's important to talk to a premises liability attorney before you take any legal action, as the case may not be ruled in your favor if you don't have substantial evidence that the fault was entirely due to the negligence of the property owner.
What Damages are Typically Covered in a Premises Liability Lawsuit?
Our premises liability lawyers can help you figure out what damages may be covered in your specific case, but typically, a victim and/or their family can be awarded damages for:
- Lost wages as a result of their injury
- Medical bills that are a result of their injury
- Future medical bills and rehabilitation costs for serious injuries
- Pain and suffering that has resulted from their injury
- Permanent disfigurement
When Should I Contact an Attorney if I or a Loved One is Injured on Public or Private Property?
If an injury or death occurs on public or private property and you suspect it is due to negligence, you should seek out a personal injury lawyer to discuss your options. If the injury occurs on private or public property and you have any questions about whether the owner or operator is liable, you can talk to your attorney to learn more about premises liability and your options.
What Can I Expect if I Decide to File a Premises Liability Lawsuit with an Attorney?
Your first step after deciding to file a premises liability lawsuit should be to obtain legal representation. We offer free case evaluations to get you started! During your free case evaluation, we’ll sit down with you and discuss your case and determine whether or not the pursuit of a premises liability lawsuit is in your best interest given the evidence. If we think there is a strong case in your favor and you decide to move forward, we would then prepare your case for court.
In preparation for court, we would help you collect all of the evidence you would need for a strong case to prove the negligence of the property owner responsible for your injuries. We will also collect all of your medical records and such that detail the extent of your injuries and treatments that have resulted. We can use all of this in court to prove that the other party is responsible for the injuries you acquired while on their property.