JLF FIRM ARTICLES AND NEWS
What Is Premises Liability?
Even if no active driver or negligent party led to your serious injury, certain parties can still be deemed liable for accidents and injuries through premises liability principles. This term refers to the body of law that makes landowners and occupiers responsible for any injuries or damages that occur on their property.
The property owner is obligated to uphold a “duty of care,” meaning that they must do everything within their power to ensure the safety of individuals around the premises. If they fail to attend to unsafe conditions, or fail to provide ample warning signs of those unsafe conditions, then that will likely constitute premises liability negligence.
Some examples of this premises negligence could include:
- A slip and fall injury on an icy sidewalk, wet or cluttered floor, or uneven steps
- Fires, electrical failures, or open potholes
- Injuries from defective furniture or falling objects
- Biting or attacking from an aggressive pet
Just about any unsafe property conditions that result in someone’s injury or death could be the basis for a premises liability suit. However, there may be some situational exceptions to this rule and some confusion around how premises liability differs from other types of liability. Always discuss your situation with an experienced premises liability attorney.
Premises Liability Vs. Personal Liability
Premises liability refers to the existing liability rules that landowners are subject to in relation to personal injury and wrongful death cases. Personal liability, on the other hand, refers to lawsuits that are related to a person’s direct actions, deliberate or not.
For example, if a plaintiff was paralyzed after a collision with a negligent drunk driver, then they could hold the defendant (the drunk driver) to account with a personal liability lawsuit.
But if the hypothetical plaintiff was paralyzed after slipping and falling due to a flooring hazard, then they would hold the defendant (the property owner) to account through a premises liability claim, since it was the unsafe conditions (and the negligence to address them) that led to the plaintiff’s paralyzing injury, not any direct actions.
There may also be scenarios where premises liability cases involve strict liability. For example, in California, if a dog bites someone who is lawfully on the premises, the owner can be held automatically liable for any resulting injuries. Dog bite victims do not have to demonstrate negligence on the part of the owner to recover compensation.
Some property or business owners can also be held liable for negligent security if their inadequate measures allowed someone to suffer an assault and injuries on the premises.
In general, the law does not apply the same “duty of care” standards to trespassers or malicious actors that it does to houseguests, customers, building occupants, or other individuals around the property. In a premises liability case, you’ll want to work with a focused, reputable attorney who’ll know how to present the facts clearly and argue them effectively.
If you suffered injuries on someone else’s property or in a business, learn about your rights from a premises liability lawyer today.