Premises liability cases can involve various situations and dangerous conditions, from a slip and fall to a violent assault.
Premises liability laws serve to protect individuals from dangerous conditions and hazards while on another’s property, whether it’s a home, business, or even vacant land. Property owners have a legal responsibility to ensure that their property is reasonably safe, properly maintained, and does not contain any unmarked hazardous areas. When they fail to do so and people are injured as a result, those property owners need to be held liable.
That’s when it is time to call an experienced premises liability and slip and fall attorney at Sommers Schwartz.
Types of Premises Liability Cases
Accidents occur due to slick surfaces, perilous and faulty construction, lack of security, broken steps, unsecured handrails, and poor visibility. Regardless of the surrounding facts, the threshold question for a premise liability claim is whether the property owner knew or should have reasonably known of the unsafe condition, and whether he or she took any steps to warn others of the risk. Assembling the evidence is crucial, and every premises liability case requires that the same set of proofs be established.
- The defendant must own or be in possession of the premises. Owning or possessing the property gives rise to a duty of care owed to all guests. The defendant must have the clear intention to be controlling the property and must be entitled to occupy the land.
- The plaintiff must have been legally on the land. One of the most important aspects of a premises liability case is determining the plaintiff’s status as an “invitee” or “licensee.” Essentially, the plaintiff must have had a legitimate reason to be on the property. By contrast, if someone is trespassing on property and suffers an injury, there are no grounds to file a personal injury claim.
- The defendant must have acted negligently or wrongfully. Another critically important piece of the puzzle is the determination that the defendant actually behaved negligently in some manner. This could have been in designing the property in a way that left the plaintiff vulnerable to a violent action or it could have been in failing to keep the property safe from accidents or falls on dangerous walkways.
Once these elements are proven, the door is open to recovering just damages consistent with the injury. Only if they are proven to have behaved negligently can they be held accountable.
Slip & Fall Accidents
Slip and fall accidents account for thousands of injuries and numerous deaths each year. Like other kinds of premises liability cases, property owners have a duty to uphold certain standards of safety on their property to safeguard others from harm.
Compensation may be due for medical bills, loss of wages, pain and suffering, income reduction, rehabilitation, and necessary health aids.
The following are cases where a slip and fall would result in a premises liability case:
- The owner of the property or an employee of a business caused the situation that led to the slip and fall, such as spilling a substance and not cleaning it up, tearing a piece of the flooring and not repairing it, or creating another type of dangerous situation.
- The owner of the property should have reasonably known that there was a dangerous situation and failed to responsibly take care of it, such as being aware of a slippery area and not posting proper warnings or drying the area. Owners, however, cannot be held liable if it was not reasonable for them to know about the instance. For example, if a spill happened and three seconds later, someone slipped, it would not be reasonable for them to know of the hazard.
- The owner or the employee did know about the dangerous situation but did nothing to remedy it or warn others. This is sheer neglect and carelessness.
The attorneys at Sommers Schwartz know the questions that you are likely asking yourself and we are here to help you in every way possible. We have extensive experience in representing people needlessly injured in accidents involving unsafe premises, experience that spans the past 40 years.
Our success is a testament to our knowledge, experience, resources and dedication to justice. Give us a call today to discuss your case and to learn how we can help.