When Are Owners Liable for Injuries on Their Properties?
If you are injured while on someone else’s property, the owner or occupier is liable if certain factors exist, such as whether the injury resulted from an unsafe condition on the premises. The most common premises accidents are slips and falls, but injuries can also be due to falling objects, dog bites or some other preventable events.
In order to win a premises liability case, you have to prove the property owner or occupier was negligent in dealing with an unsafe condition on their property and that this negligence was the cause of your injury. Negligence is the failure to act according to a recognized duty of reasonable care. Property owners and occupiers (such as tenants) have a duty to keep the property safe for people who may be reasonably expected to enter. That duty is breached if the property owner knew or should have known of a dangerous condition on the property and failed to rectify it. Examples of dangerous property conditions include:
- Walkways, stairways and handrails in disrepair
- Wet spots due to spills or weather conditions
- Ice or other slippery substances on walkways
- Holes and other surface irregularities
- Building code violations
- Inadequate lighting or fencing
- Loose dogs and other dangerous animals
- Lack of warning signs regarding known hazards
- Negligent security at commercial establishments
An owner or occupier generally does not owe trespassers the same duty of care that applies when people are legally on the property. This is because the duty of care extends only to reasonably foreseeable accidents, and most times a trespasser’s entry cannot be predicted. However, if the trespasser is a child, the entry and any resulting accident is deemed foreseeable, since children have a natural curiosity and often lack adequate appreciation of potential dangers.
If you are injured on someone else’s property, it is critical to seek the advice and counsel of an experienced personal injury attorney to understand what your legal options are and what money damages may be available for your medical bills, lost wages and other losses related to the accident.
At the Law Office of Maurice J. Verrillo, P.C., we have over 30 years of experience in successfully helping people with legal issues. We are a family-focused, Christian law firm committed to advancing our clients’ best interests. To schedule a free consultation, call us at 585-563-1134 or contact us online.