To understand negligence and who is responsible for your injuries in a premises liability claim, you must first understand what premises liability is and how you can be sure that somebody is actually responsible in your personal injury case. Premises liability cases, by definition, stem from injuries that are caused by some type of unsafe or defective condition on someone else’s property. Many of these cases either stem from slip and falls, snow and ice accidents, inadequate maintenance of the premises, defective conditions on the premises, inadequate building security leading to injury or assault, elevator and escalator accidents, dog bites, swimming pool accidents, amusement park accidents, fires, water leaks or flooding, and toxic fumes or chemicals.
Property owners owe a specific duty of care when people are on their property. However, there are different types of visitors to which these rules apply. Here are the three types of visitors that someone may find on their property:
- Invitee: This is someone who has consent from the landowner to enter the property. These are typically people who are friends, relatives, and neighbors to the landowner. They must usually keep the property reasonably safe.
- Licensee: This is someone who has permission to enter the property on many occasions, but they come on their own accord. This could be someone like a salesman or a plumber offering services. The landowner must only warn of dangers on the property if they are aware of them.
- Trespasser: This is someone who is not authorized to be on the property whatsoever. There is no duty owed unless the trespasser was a child – and, in that case, they must exercise reasonable care to avoid a foreseeable risk of harm to children caused by conditions such as a pool or play area.
Most personal injury cases are based on negligence and whether or not the property owner, in this case, was being reckless in nature. In order to win a premises liability case, the injured person must be able to prove that the property owner was negligent and did not take action to prevent harm from occurring. Just because the property was in an unsafe condition, however, does not mean that the owner was being negligent by default. Did they take reasonable steps to remedy the situation? Did they invite you onto their land personally, knowing you could be injured easily?
In many states, consideration is given to the condition of the property and activities of the owner and visitor when the injury took place. Some factors must be taken into consideration, however. Under what circumstances did the visitor enter the property? Was the accident foreseeable or not? Did the owner put some effort into repairing a dangerous condition to the best of their ability? Did they take precautions to warn visitors? These are all things that are considered for the sake of a case.
Remember – some states use the “comparative fault” method when figuring. This means that an injured person’s legal damages will be reduced by the percentage of fault that they obtained in the accident. If you were somewhat responsible for your own injury on the property, then you will not receive as much in damages. If it is decided that you were 25% responsible for your accident and you received $10,000 in damages, this amount will actually be reduced to $7,500 during your case.
If you have been injured on somebody else’s property due to negligent actions, you may hold this party responsible for medical bills, lost wages, and more. However, you should always have legal aid on your side throughout the complex process. It will help you gain a better understanding along the way. Call us today at Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi to schedule a consultation and learn more about your case and what options you have!