Premises liability is an area of personal injury that holds property owners responsible for the injury of visitors. The property owner owes a duty of care to all people who come on the premises. If a person in gets injured on personal property, they may have a case to seek compensation.
Basics of premise liability
The type of visitor to a property may dictate the duty of care and who gets compensated in a premises liability case. An invitee is someone invited to the property directly or expected to visit, such as customers or students. Since the owner expects them to enter, the owner is obligated to maintain a reasonable level of care and fix defects, including hidden dangers.
A licensee commonly visits the property for their own personal purpose, such as a firefighter or sales person. The owner still must make known repairs, but they don’t have the same duty of care to fix unknown hazards for this group.
A property owner commonly doesn’t have a duty of care to make the property safe for trespassers, but there could be exceptions. For example, if they are aware of trespassers, they cannot willingly injure them by setting a trap. To cover themselves, owners could put up a “no trespassing” sign and video cameras according to state laws.
Proof needed for a case
To have a premises liability case, the owner needs to have known about the defect and had sufficient time to make repairs. For example, if it rained overnight, they may not have known about the puddle in front of the building. The defendant must own the property, which could be landlords, business people, tenants or maintenance companies.
The court often considers it the duty of the plaintiff to exercise their own judgment in avoiding obvious dangers. If the court determines that the plaintiff contributed to the accident, they may not be able to recover full compensation. The plaintiff should do their part in seeking medical attention as soon as possible and obtaining proper documentation to help prove their case.