A lawsuit based on premises liability is one where a property owner is held legally liable for damages resulting from an injury sustained on their property. The legal system in every state in the country requires owners occupying a property to expend reasonable effort so as to render it safe for visitors. Failing to do this assigns them with premises liability. The following situations can be sufficient cause for a premises liability lawsuit.
- Animal and Dog Bites
- Dangerous Property
- Inadequate Maintenance
- Swimming Pool Injury
- Children on Property
- Negligent or Inadequate Security
- Slip and Fall Accident
- Restaurant Liability
- Retail Store Liability
Injuries at Leased Properties
The landlord of an apartment complex or commercial property is generally not held responsible for any injuries sustained by a guest of the tenant, because the latter is supposed to be able to prevent such instances. Some exceptions do exist though. If the property has latent, concealed defects from before the tenant taking possession of it, or if the landlord performed undertaken repairs in a negligent manner, fault can be assigned to the latter.
Recovering Premises Liability Damages
Different states have different rules regarding a person’s eligibility to recover premises liability damages, and the conditions where they can do this. In some, focus rests on the status of the visitor, in order to gauge the appropriateness of liability, which varies based on whether they are a licensee, invitee, or trespasser.
Licensee vs. Invitee vs. Trespasser
An invitee is someone who is specifically invited to enter the property in order to fulfill a commercial purpose, such as with a customer at a mall. A licensee or social guest is simply thee by permission of the occupant or owner. For both types, there is an implied promise of safety as long as they are on the property. The duty of care owed to each depends on the states where the slip and fall cases are brought.
Trespassers by definition have no right to be on the property, and if they are injured in the meantime, that does not enable them to recover premises liability damages. The owner is, however, required by law to keep from intentionally harming any trespasser, and in some cases, also providing reasonable warnings of hidden dangers. Child trespassers are an exception and are owed a higher duty of care.