Premises Liability

Children SwimmingProperty 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
  • Burns
  • 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.

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