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What is premises liability? 

On Behalf of | Jan 24, 2024 | Premises Liability

If you’ve been hurt due to a hazardous condition on another’s property, you may have come across the term “premises liability” when conducting initial research into your legal rights and options. 

Premises liability is a legal concept typically used in personal injury cases where the injury in question was caused by some type of unsafe or defective condition on someone’s property. Most personal injury cases are based on negligence, and premises liability cases are no exception. 

Common types of premises liability cases include slip and fall accidents, inadequate building security leading to injury or assault, dog bites, swimming pool accidents, defective staircases and amusement park accidents. In each of these instances, the property owner may be held liable if their negligence led to an injurious incident. 

Duty of care concerns 

Premises liability law dictates that property owners, and sometimes tenants, have a duty to maintain a safe environment for those who visit – and possibly even those who trespass on – their property. 

Generally speaking, a property owner or occupier owes a so-called duty of care to people who enter their property. This duty involves ensuring the property is reasonably safe and free from known or foreseeable hazards. However, the extent of this duty can vary depending on the status of the visitor. For example, a property owner generally owes those whom they invite onto their property a greater duty of care than those who trespass onto it. 

Building a premises liability case  

For a premises liability claim to be successful, the plaintiff must prove that the property owner was negligent with respect to ownership and maintenance of the property. Essentially, it must be shown that the owner knew or should have known about the dangerous condition, and failed to reasonably address it, properly warn about it or barricade against it, resulting in injury.

Additionally, to establish premises liability, all fundamental legal elements related to this type of claim must typically be met in the same scenario:

  • The defendant must own, lease, occupy, or control the property.
  • The defendant was negligent in the use or maintenance of the property.
  • The plaintiff was harmed.

The defendant’s negligence was a substantial factor in causing the plaintiff’s harm.

Ultimately, premises liability isn’t always a very intuitive area of law. Therefore, if you have questions as you move forward, that is both understandable and expected. As a result, seeking personalized guidance can potentially help you to make more informed choices about your rights and options as an injury victim.