The idea of premises liability is that property owners must provide a safe place for anyone invited onto the property. This is commonly used by injured parties to sue for compensation after an accident caused by negligence on behalf of the property owner. There are a number of different examples of premises liability, as this does cover a wide range of accidents. There are, however, some defenses that property owners can use if they’re sued for compensation after an accident.
Example 1: Slip and Fall
One of the most common examples is a slip and fall, for this example, there is something on the walkway that is hazardous and causes the injured person to fall. Commonly, this is a spilled liquid or something that is on the walkway that isn’t expected, like a rise in the sidewalk due to cracking, this type of case is most commonly seen resulting from accidents in or near stores, though it could apply in homes as well. Someone injured due to a slip and fall accident can get help by going to Uvalle Law Firm.
Example 2: Dog Bites
Dog owners have a responsibility to make sure their dog will not bite or attack when out of the house, but it does happen. If the dog bites someone, the dog’s owner could be held liable for the injured person’s medical and related bills. This does depend on where the dog was at the time and whether the owner was in control of the dog. If the dog is known for biting, the compensation owed could include punitive damages to discourage this from happening again.
Example 3: Elevator Accidents
Elevators today are designed with a number of safeguards, but things can happen that can cause injuries, and they happen more frequently than many people realize. If the elevator is defective or stops working properly and someone is injured, the owner of the property or the elevator may be liable for the compensation. Accidents involving elevators can include the elevator falling, someone getting hit by the doors while they close, or other injuries depending on how the elevator malfunctioned.
Example 4: Stair Collapse
Staircases can break down over time, especially when they’re subjected to frequent use. If any structural issues are noticed but ignored, there is the potential for the stairs to collapse. When this happens, anyone on the stairs can be injured, sometimes severely. In a case like this, the property owner could be held liable for any injuries that occurred when the stairs collapsed. If the stairs are not blocked off from use and someone is injured after the collapse, the property owner can be held liable, depending on the situation.
Example 5: Defective Conditions
Defective conditions on the property lead to many accidents every year. This can include issues with stairs, entryways, flooring, handrails, and any other parts of the building. It can also include flooding due to improper care of the property or improper grading to prevent flooding, a fire that occurs on the property, or other disasters that could have been prevented with the appropriate precautions. In these cases, it is possible for the property owner to be held liable for any injuries that occur.
Example 6: Inadequate Security Measures
There are tons of ways to secure buildings and properties today. If someone is injured because there are inadequate security measures on the property, it is possible for the property owner to be held liable. For instance, if there are no exterior lights in the parking lot for a store and someone is robbed or attacked, the store or property owner may be liable due to the unsafe conditions on the property. Property owners must provide at least basic security measures to keep anyone on the property safe.
Defense 1: No Knowledge of Hazard
One defense that is common for premises liabilities cases is that the property owner had no knowledge of the hazard. If there is a spilled liquid and no one in the store is notified or notices the spill, they cannot take action to prevent a slip and fall. Property owners do have the responsibility to keep their property free from hazards, but if they are not aware that something has happened, it is possible they may not be found at fault in the case. The injured party will need to prove that the property owner was knowledgeable of the hazard and failed to correct it before an injury occurred.
Defense 2: Injured Party Contributed to Injuries
Another common defense is that the injured party contributed to their defense. For a dog bite case, for example, a dog’s owner may not be found liable if the dog was enticed by the injured party into attacking and would not have attacked the person otherwise. If the injured party was hurting or provoking a bite response from the dog, the injured party contributed to their own injuries and, therefore, may not be able to receive compensation.
Defense 3: No Control Over Property
It is common for injured parties to request compensation from a store where they were injured only to find out that the store has no control over the property and, therefore, is not liable. An example of this is a store in a strip mall, where the injured person fell due to a defect in the parking lot. The store, in this case, rents the building where they’re located from the property’s owner. The store cannot control what happens in the parking lot, so they aren’t liable. The property owner, on the other hand, could be liable in this situation.
Premises liability covers a wide range of situations and many of these cases are fact-specific, so it is difficult to determine liability and the amount of compensation owed. Injured parties will want to make sure they have legal assistance after any injure. This helps them determine how much compensation they might be entitled to and who is liable for the compensation. Without this, it’s all too easy to end up suing the wrong party and receiving no compensation.