It’s not just other people who can find themselves liable for the injury of another. If you own an unsafe piece of equipment, land, or sell something that is defective and it hurts another person, you can be liable for that as well. You didn’t directly cause the injury, but someone was still injured as a result of your negligence. That might sound a little harsh because you might not know of a defect or an unsafe condition exists.
This concept is called premises liability. Premises liability is when someone gets injured on another person’s premises, usually due to a defective product or unsafe environment. These types of cases are often the most frequent. It’s a matter of looking at what caused the injury. Is it the person who got injured? Was it their own fault for causing the injury? Or, were you negligent? Did you lapse in following instructions, rules, laws, or guidelines?
This is with these types of cases often try to find out. To win a premises liability case, the other person would have to prove that your negligence caused them to be injured. An example of premises liability is of someone rents an apartment and they trip and fall on a hole in the sidewalk. That person breaks the leg and ends up losing out on work. That would be an example of premises liability. The apartment complex was negligent in fixing that hole.
The big question is, did the property owner take reasonable care of their property? Just because someone was injured on your property doesn’t mean they’re entitled to suing you on the basis of premises liability. Your property might’ve been unsafe due to something outside of your control. The victim, in this case, would have to prove that you knew it was unsafe and you did nothing about it by having a personal injury lawyer.
The Different Types of Premises Liability Cases
Here’s a quick list of the most frequent types of premises liability cases:
- Inadequate maintenance
- Defective buildings/property
- Slips and falls
- Failure to remove ice and snow
- Lack of building security leading to injury
- Dog bites
- Toxic fumes
- Water leaks
- Bad electricity/wiring
- Swimming pool accidents
- Malfunctioning elevator
- Playground/park accidents
There are a lot of different types of premises liability accidents that can happen. Judging from this list alone, you can start to see how frequent these types of accidents are. People fall down and get injured all the time. Even situations like dog bites can be considered premises liability because the owner of the dogs didn’t properly secure them. They should’ve taken proper steps to ensure the bite never happened.
The Property Owner’s Responsibility
So, as a property owner, what is your liability? What is considered a reasonable type of care? Really it comes down to what was within your power to change or improve. Proper upkeep and regular maintenance is key to ensuring that your property is safe for everyone who might enter it. Still, a lot of it depends on individual states and as they have for premises liability cases.
While some states require that a certain amount of reasonable care, other states do more to protect the owners. Your responsibility would be limited depending on who it is that was visiting your home or property. For example, you may not have invited someone onto your property, yet they were there anyway. You probably wouldn’t be responsible for someone who’s trespassing.
At the same time, you would be responsible for an invited guest and licensed workers, like power meter workers who often have to walk up to the home to see the meter. These people would have implied permission to be in your property and if they were injured, you would be held liable. This is how the status of the person on your property would be determined.
A trespasser would have no idea about the conditions they’re walking onto, yet they should’ve never been there in the first place. You owe nothing to a trespasser, except in one small case. Traditionally, landowners would have to pay duty to a trespasser if they were a child. The rules around this area from place to place, so it’s important to contact a lawyer if you’re unsure about the trespassing law in your area.
Defining Premises Liability Cases
The most common types of premises liability cases are often slip and falls. If you fall down and injure yourself as a result of slipping, then they should be held liable under the law. This happens if there’s a lot of ice, defective or broken sidewalks and/or staircases, oil or water on the floor, cords, broken floors, sidewalks, and stairs, and more.
It’s not just these types of injuries. You’re also expected to offer reasonable building security. You might expect this to happen more in offices or apartments. You have to ensure that your buildings are safe and have some sort of protection. For example, having locks on your doors. If someone were to break in and murder a tenant or employee, you might be held liable. The case would have to prove that you didn’t provide reasonable protection.
Swimming pool accidents are another area of concern. If you have a pool and invite friends over and someone gets injured, you could be held liable. This is especially true if you’re hosting children. Does your pool have gates, locks, and reasonably guarded and watched? If not, someone can get seriously injured or even die. In that case, you would be the one held liable for that accident.
On the other hand, if you provide those things and the gate was locked and someone climbs over and gets injured, you probably will be off the hook. They were trespassing and were the ones who broke the law.
The laws vary from state-to-state, so it’s important to contact a lawyer to understand where you stand. Keep an eye out for potentially dangerous situations and don’t neglect them or you may pay for it in the long run. A simple slip and fall on your property could cost you everything if you’re not prepared.