The Basics of Premises Liability

Categories: Blog

Have you recently slipped and fallen, and believe that the incident could have been avoided had it not been for the negligent actions of another person? If so, you may have a premises liability case and should consult a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.

Understanding Premises Liability

Whenever you enter into a business, you have a valid reason to believe that the premises are safe. Lighting, advertisements, displays, artwork, and other distractions can be plentiful and keep your eyes drawn upwards. This could result in a failure to miss unknown hazards around the feet that could lead to a disastrous slip and fall. When these dangers are hidden, and not made aware to passer-byers, and a slip and fall happen, it could be grounds for a premises liability claim.

What Constitutes a Premises Liability Claim

Premises liability claims are considered to be a niche area of personal injury law. In general, there are two types of liability actions that will be considered by a personal injury lawyer: general premises liability and negligent activity.

General Premises Liability

In the matter of a slip and fall, the claimant may be able to pursue a claim against the owner or occupier of property under general premises liability laws. When this type of claim is filed, a personal injury lawyer will first determine the status of the client. Once this status is determined, a decision on how to proceed will follow. The three most common statuses include:

Trespasser –  A trespasser is considered to be someone who has entered a property without permission or authority to do so. The owner or occupier of the property does owe a duty to a trespasser to avoid any intentional conduct that could cause them harm

Licensee – A licensee is someone who has been granted the permission to enter the property or premises, but does not have permission. An example of this could be a meter reader. The occupier or owner of the property owes the same duty’s to the licensee as that of a trespasser. The occupier or owner should also avoid any gross negligence and warn the licensee of potential hidden hazards.

Invitee – An invitee is someone who has been invited to enter a premise, and their invitation has been consented to by the owner or occupier. These are the most common types of slip and fall cases that are handled by a personal injury lawyer. To be considered an invitee, the claimant must have entered the premises for the mutual benefit of the owner or occupier and their self. An invitee does not actually have to engage in business to be considered an invitee. Rather, they could enter a restaurant to use the bathroom and qualify as an invitee. The owner or occupier owes a duty to the invitee to make the premises reasonably safe. The invitee does not have to prove that the owner or occupier knew about the hazard, but rather only have to prove that he or she should have known about it through a reasonable search of the premises.

Negligent Activity

If a personal injury lawyer is filing a premises liability claim under negligence liability, the claimant must be able to show that the:

  1. Owner or occupier of the premises owed a duty to the plaintiff;
  2. Duty was breached; and,
  3. Breach caused the injuries.

In general, personal injury lawyers tend to not file claims under the doctrine of negligent activity.

Premises Liability at a Government Facility

If a slip and fall happened at a government facility, the premises liability claim will be different from general claims. Government cases should always be overseen by a slip and fall lawyer who has experience in these types of cases. Most lawyers do not handle government cases because they are extremely difficult to win. If your slip and fall involve a government entity, you can call an experienced law firm to find out what to do next.

Thanks to Cohen & Cohen, P.C., for their insight into slip and fall accidents.