If a personal injury is caused by an unsafe or defective condition on someone’s property, it is possible to recover damages by pursuing a premises liability lawsuit. As with other injury claims, it is necessary to prove that the property owner was negligent by failing to use reasonable care in connection with the ownership and maintenance of the property. Because establishing an owner’s liability can be complicated, it is essential for injury victims to have proper legal representation. If you’re facing a situation like this, do not hesitate to contact our premises liability lawyers.
Types of Premises Liability Cases
Premises liability lawsuits can arise from a wide range of circumstances, including, but not limited to:
- Slip, trip, and falls
- Inadequate property maintenance
- Dog bites
- Swimming pool accidents
- Playground accidents
- Negligent security
The fact that a person is injured on another’s property, or that the property may have been in an unsafe condition, does not mean that the property owner was negligent. In order to have a valid claim, it is necessary to show that the property owner knew, or should have known, about the hazardous condition, negligently failed to correct it and that the hazard caused the injury. If you have been involved in an accident such as a slip-and-fall, it is vital to contact one of our experienced premises liability attorneys located in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, or Connecticut.
The Property Owner’s Duty of Care
A key factor in premises liability cases is the property owner’s duty of care, which varies state by state. In many states, property owners are required to exercise reasonable care in the ownership and maintenance of the property regarding all persons who might enter the property.
In other states, however, the property owner’s duty depends on the status of the visitors, based on one of three categories:
- Invitees – Individuals, such as friends, relatives, and neighbors, who have the property owner’s express or implied permission to enter the property. A property owner owes invitees a duty of reasonable care to keep the property reasonably safe.
- Licensees – Those who have express or implied permission to enter the property, but do so for their own purposes, such as salesman. Property owners owe licensees a lesser duty only to warn them of dangerous conditions, provided that the landowner knows about the condition and the licensee is not likely to be able to discover it.
- Trespassers – Individuals who are not authorized to be on the property may not be owed a duty of care under most circumstances. If the trespasser was a child, however, the property owner owes a duty to exercise reasonable care to avoid a foreseeable risk of injury due to conditions on the property, such as a swimming pool.
Examples of Premises Liability Cases
One of the most common premises liability claims is referred to as a “slip, trip, or fall.” These claims can arise when a visitor falls on a broken step, slips on a wet floor, trips on a ripped carpet, slips on snow or ice on a walkway, or trips over a raised or broken sidewalk or another defect. If the accident occurs on private property, a claim will usually be filed with the property owner’s insurance company. In the case of public property, it a notice of claim must be filed with the municipality or government agency responsible for maintaining the property before a lawsuit can be filed. There are strict deadlines and procedural rules related to these claims.
Another type of claim is negligent security which can be brought against owners of buildings such as hotels, motels, and apartment complexes. In short, building owners are required to take measures to secure access to the property by installing and maintaining locks on doors and windows, security gates, and surveillance and alarm systems. A property owner who fails to take these protective measures can be held liable if an occupant or visitor is assaulted or murdered by someone breaking into the premises or even slipping past a broken gate.
Ultimately, the rules governing premises liability are complicated and vary from state to state. If you were injured because of an unsafe condition on another person’s property, our experienced personal injury attorneys can help you obtain the compensation you deserve.