Premise liability is a legal concept roughly stating that property owners have an obligation to ensure the safety of those who visit their business or residence. When property owners fail to meet minimal obligations ensuring their visitor's safety, they can be held liable for visitors resulting injuries, accidents, or wrongful death. The following are a few instances that fall under premise liability cases:
Most premise injury cases are based on negligence, to win a premise liability case, the victim must prove the owner of the property was negligent with general maintenance of the property, with negligence defined as failing to take reasonable care of their property.
It is worth noting that it does not define property owner negligence solely because you were injured on another's property. Furthermore, just because the property was in an unsafe condition does not dictate that the property owner was negligent. An individual must show that the property owner knew that or should have reasonably been aware that the premise was in an unsafe condition, and further, failed to take proper measures to remediate the situation.
Types of Premise Liability
Premise liability cases can vary widely; even dog bites fall under premise liability because animals are considered property, reside on the property, and present a potentially unsafe condition. In addition, although many states require owners to exercise reasonable care and maintenance in property ownership concerning visitors of the property, other states utilize an older statute that may limit the property owner's responsibilities dependent on the condition of the visitor.
In these states, visitors are divided into three categories: invitees, licensees, and trespassers.
An invitee is an individual that has the property owner's implied or express permission to enter the property. Invitees are people such as friends, neighbors, and relatives. The property owner is this situation owes an invitee the duty of reasonable care to keep the property fairly safe for the invitee.
A licensee is an individual who has the property owner's implied or express permission to enter the property. However, the licensee is entering the property for personal or business purposes. Licensees are generally individuals like salespeople. The property owner, by tradition, owes a licensee the lesser duty of warning the licensee of hazardous conditions that may create an unreasonable risk of harm if the property owner is aware of a situation, and the licensee is unlikely to discover it.
A trespasser is an individual that is not authorized to be on the property. Customarily, property owners owe no duty to trespassers except in the event the trespasser is a child. In cases like these, the property owner is obliged to exercise reasonable care to prevent a foreseeable and reasonable risk of harm to children produced by artificial conditions (i.e., swimming pools).
Because these rules can be pretty convoluted and differ from state to state, you should contact an experienced local premise liability lawyer about questions of liability.
Premises Liability Cases
Slip and Fall are fairly straightforward premises liability cases. Slip and Fall liability occurs when a visitor slips, trips, and/or falls on another's property. Several conditions that lead to a slip, trip, and fall are:
Inadequate Building Security cases usually arise in apartment complexes or office buildings. Owners of multi-family and commercial spaces have a duty to perform reasonable security measures to access the facilities. This duty is why larger apartment communities and office buildings typically have doormen or security guards. Smaller communities and buildings typically tenants to maintain locked front and back doors. If an assault or worse happens due to an unlocked door, the victim may have a premises liability case against the property owner; if it can be proven the property owner did not take reasonable actions in securing the property.
Swimming Pool Accidents generally involve unsupervised children and an unsecured swimming pool. For this reason, nearly all states and towns have laws and regulations that require swimming pools to be enclosed in a fence, often with a keypad or keyed locking gate.
Do you have questions for a premise liability attorney in Lake Charles, LA? Call Lundy, Lundy, Soileau & South for a free consultation 337-439-0707.
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Slip, Trip, or Fall Accident Attorneys Responsibilities
"Slip and fall" is a term associated with injury cases in which a person trips or slips and incurs an injury on someone else's property. Cases such as these fall under the wider category of injury cases identified as "premises liability" claims. Premise liability accidents occur on property maintained or owned by someone else, and the owner of the property may be held responsible for the injury.
Many conditions can lead to injury, slick flooring, wet flooring, narrow stairs, poor lighting, or tripping hazards such as extension cords can cause an individual to slip or trip and be injured. Similarly, if someone trips on a broken or cracked sidewalk or tumbles down a flight of stairs, the owner can be held liable. In addition, slipping can occur due to slick surfaces wet from rain, snow, ice, or a hidden peril, such as a pothole.
Establishing Fault in Slip and Fall Cases
Legal responsibility for injury is not black and white in slip, fall, or tripping cases. Each case is dependent on whether the property owner acted prudently so that tripping or slipping was unlikely to happen and whether your actions were careless, not avoiding or seeing conditions that caused your fall. Below are a few guides to help you decide whether an individual or entity was at fault for your trip, slip, or fall injury.
An injured individual of a slip and fall on another's property must prove the cause of the accident was a "hazardous condition" and that the property owner knew of the hazardous condition. A hazardous condition must pose an unnecessary risk to an individual on the property, and it must be a condition that the injured party could not have anticipated under the conditions. The latter requirement implies that an individual must be aware of and avoid obvious hazards.
To establish that a property owner knew of a hazardous condition, it must be shown that:
To recover compensation for a slip, trip, or fall injury on another's property, it must be clear that an individual or party's negligence caused the injury. While this sounds obvious, often individuals do not grasp that some accident injuries are simply accidents, if fault can be found, it was their own carelessness.
To be held legally responsible for the injuries another suffered from slip, trip, or falling on another's property, the property owner of the accused business, store, restaurant, etc. you must prove:
The property owner must have caused or known of the dangerous surface or item.
Knew of the dangerous surface and failed to do anything about it; or,
Should have been aware of the dangerous surface because a "reasonable" person charged with caring for the property would have noticed and removed or repaired the hazard.
A third liability situation (the most common, although less clear) is decided by common sense. The law determines if the owner or occupier hazard remediation steps were reasonable.
In slip, trip, or fall cases on commercial real estate, there are often numerous individuals or entities that could be held responsible for another's injuries.
In a residential setting, a landlord may be held liable to their tenant or a third party for slip, trip, or fall injury on rental property. To hold a landlord accountable for an injury, a tenant needs to show:
The landlord had jurisdiction over the hazard that caused the slip, trip, or fall.
Repairing the hazardous condition would not have been unreasonably burdensome or expensive.
A serious injury was an identifiable consequence of failing to fix the hazard. The landlord's failure to remediate led to the accident that caused the tenant, or third party's slip, trip, or fall injury.
Do you need to file a slip, trip, or fall claim?
The Lake Charles injury attorneys at Lundy, Lundy, Soileau & South have helped the injured in Lake Charles recover compensation when others would not take their case. If you have been injured in a slip, trip, or fall accident on another's property, call Lundy Law to discuss your case with an experienced serious injury attorney in Lake Charles, La. Injury cases carry a statute of limitations (time limits); start your discussion today by calling for a free case evaluation, 337-439-0707.
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