Premises Liability Law and Why it Matters
April 19, 2019
What Is Premises Liability?
Today, we’re going to talk about another form of personal injury – the kind that takes place off the road. What happens when you’re visiting a home, business, or other place and you get hurt as a result of the location itself being unsafe? This is covered under an area of the law known as premises liability. The owner of a premises is considered responsible for maintaining its safety and making visitors aware of any potential dangers that could be present so they can reasonably avoid them. If somebody suffers an injury, they can file a claim against the owner to receive compensation for their medical bills and pain.
Types of Cases
There are many different injuries a person could sustain as a result of visiting an unsafe place. A very common type is a slip and fall occurrence, where there’s a slippery surface that has not been marked appropriately and someone attempts to walk on it. We also frequently see dog bite cases, which have specific laws pertaining to them, but fall under the premises liability umbrella. Other examples of incidents in this category could include someone being hurt by improperly installed shelving in a store, a faulty escalator, or insecure lighting apparatuses.
Property Owners’ Responsibility
The law holds that a premises’ proprietor must make an effort to create a safe environment for visitors, and many of them do so by carrying out regular inspections. In case there is a potential danger, that needs to be pointed out to visitors. Think of those “Wet Floor” hazard signs – those are placed there not only for your protection, but because the owner does not want to be sued! It’s important that these kinds of warnings are clear and easily understood to meet the legal standard.
Visitors’ Rights and Responsibilities
Visitors can be divided into three classifications:
- Invitees are people who are present for a business reason that benefits the owner. Examples would be shoppers in a store, patrons of a restaurant, or moviegoers at a cinema.
- Licensees are those who are there for a noncommercial reason. Most often this includes friends and family members.
- Trespassers are people who are on the property without permission.
In some states, invitees and licensees are considered to have different rights, with invitees generally being afforded a higher level of care; however, in other states, no distinction is made between the two groups. Because trespassers are on a property unlawfully, proprietors are usually not expected to safeguard their wellbeing.
Visitors must also assume responsibility for their own security. They should follow any directions given by the proprietor for safe behavior; someone who deliberately ignores signage that gives instruction or warns about hazards on the premises would be liable for any resulting injuries.
Premises Liability Cases
If you were injured due to unsafe conditions on someone else’s property, you are entitled to compensation. Keep in mind, however, that the other party will likely try to downplay the extent of your suffering or deny culpability – especially if it’s a business. That is why you must consult with an attorney to build a premises liability suit. At Whiting Law, we provide consultations at no cost and no obligation, so you’ll be able to find out if you have a viable case without spending a dime. If we do proceed with a case, you will have armed yourself with the highest quality in legal representation. To get started, contact us today.