Property owners have obligations under local, state and federal laws to keep their property safe. If a property owner fails to keep his property safe and someone is injured as a result of that failure, the property owner can be held financially responsible in a premises liability case. The property owner can be made to pay medical bills, lost wages, damages as a result of emotional distress, and damages associated with any physical disability that resulted from the injury.
Common situations that give rise to premise liability cases are:
- Animal and dog bites
- Slip and fall accidents
- Swimming pool accidents or drownings
- Amusement park accidents
- Carnival ride accidents
- Accidents at an apartment complex
- Elevator and escalator accidents
- Staircase/defective handrail accidents
- Snow and ice accidents
- Fires/improper fire alarms and fire control measures
- Water leaks or flooding
- Exposure to toxic or hazardous substances such as lead or mold
- Poor construction/shoddy materials
- Building code violations
- Defective electrical wiring/circuit breakers
- Falling objects
- Defective sidewalks
- Improper building demolition
- Inadequate maintenance of property leading to a dangerous/defective condition on the property
- Inadequate security leading to injury or assault
Common injuries that are the result of premise liability cases are:
- Broken bones
- Neck injuries
- Head injuries
- Electrical shocks
- Spinal cord injuries
- Wrongful death
In premises liability cases, a plaintiff must prove:
(1) That the property owner either failed to maintain the property or created an unsafe condition on the property;
(2) That the property owner knew or should have known about the unsafe condition;
(3) That the property owner failed to correct the unsafe condition or adequately warn about the unsafe condition; and
(4) The plaintiff suffered a personal injury as a result of the unsafe condition.
For example, if you suffered a fall in a grocery store, and were able to prove that the employees of the grocery store did not monitor the aisles, entrances, exits, and bathrooms for hazards, and that you fell as a result of their failure to monitor, you might be entitled to collect a money judgment against the owners of the grocery store. Similarly, if you suffered an injury on someone else's property after falling into a giant hole that you were not warned about, you might be entitled to collect a money judgment against the owner of the property.
While premise liability cases can appear straightforward, there are factors that complicate when a property owner is responsible for injuries on his property. The type of land at issue - whether the property is residential, commercial, or farmland - determines what laws are applicable. In addition, the status of the visitor to the property - whether an invitee (someone invited onto the property for a commercial purpose), licensee (someone invited onto the property for his own purpose, or as a social guest), or a trespasser (someone not invited onto the property and not authorized to be on the property) - can affect whether the property owner is legally responsible for the injury that occurred on his property. The presence of landlord-tenant relationship can also complicate matters.
That is why you need the advice and counsel of a good attorney after suffering an injury on someone else's property. The Berniard Law Firm has experience in pursuing premise liability claims of a varied nature. Contact our office today if you believe that you were injured due to someone else's negligence.