Premises liability claims are a type of personal injury claim where the premises, such as a home or place of business, are responsible for the injuries. For example, if you trip over loose electrical cord in a commercial building and fall, sustaining a major head injury as a result, a premises liability claim may result. Another example is when you’re walking to your mailbox and attacked by your neighbor’s unrestrained dog. In either case, property insurance is usually involved.
In general, injury-causing accidents that occur due to negligent design, maintenance, or operation of a property owned by someone else are considered premises liability claims. This is a broad category that includes landlords, business owners, homeowners, and property owners. Keep in mind that there must be some degree of liability before a premises liability case has any weight. For example, if you slip and fall on a wet floor, you may have a case if you were not adequately warned of the danger. On the other hand, if an employee placed “caution: wet floor” cones around the wet area and you chose to walk on the slippery surface despite the warning, you may not have a case. Each premises liability case must be carefully evaluated.
In addition, in order to succeed with a premises liability case, several conditions must be met and proven by the injured party including:
- An injury occurred. (In other words, you can’t claim damages for something that didn’t occur).
- The defendant’s property had a condition that presented an unreasonable risk of harm to people on the premises.
- The defendant knew (or should have known through ordinary care) that the property had a condition that presented an unreasonable risk of hard to people on the premises.
- The defendant was negligent.
- The defendant’s property’s condition was a cause of the plaintiff’s injury.
While some of these conditions are easy to prove, such as if you broke a leg, others are more difficult. One of the tougher conditions to prove is that the defendant knew about the condition, especially if that condition was created by the plaintiff. For example, a property owner may be aware that the carpets are worn out and fraying, causing a potential risk to people visiting the premises. However, what if while you are waiting in a lobby for service, your children roll up the business’s entry mat to make a tunnel for their cars? What if you then trip over the mat on your way out? Proving that the property owner knew about this risk would be difficult.
A consultation with an experienced premises liability lawyer is essential in evaluating the circumstances surrounding your injury and making sure that all of the above conditions are provable. Call us today for a free, no obligation consultation.