The Law Offices of Flint & Crawford
Premises Liability: What You Ought To Know About Who Is Responsible
If you’re a property owner, often you’ll find people visiting your premises, some invited while some not. Either way, they have a reasonable expectation to be safe from injury. What this means is that as a property owner or just a resident, you are supposed to see to it that the environment in and around the property is relatively safe. This is known as premises liability. For instance, if a career comes to your property to deliver a package, then they get injured by slipping on the driveway, the carrier may sue you because of the accident on your property. On the other hand, if the career got the injury while they were under the influence of some drug, then thy may not have a valid claim and hence is not able to sue you.
The legal theory of premises liability states that owners and residents are both liable for any accidents that happen to anyone with the premise, be it mild or severe. The visitor may get either a mild or severe injury from the injury. Either way, you, the owner of the property is liable and has to compensate the person injured.
Liability is usually dictated by the laws of the states where the injury took place. In some regions, the court would put more focus on the status of the person who got the injury to determine liability. In other states, however, the court will put more focus on the condition of the premise as well as the activity of both the visitor to the premise and the owner of the property. It is imperative to have in mind that an occupier of land, like a tenant in an apartment, receives the same treatment as a property owner in most instances.
The visitor’s legal status: trespasser, invitee or licensee?
In the regions that focus more on the visitor to the premise, there are usually four different labels that apply in such cases:
- Invitee – an invitee is considered as someone who has been invited by a property tenant to a store. An example of an invitee is a client to a warehouse. The invitation implies that the owner of the premise has put safety measures to assure the invitee of their safety before they get into the premise. The invitee, on the other hand, accepts the invitation having in mind that the place is safe for a stay.
- Licensee- a licensee is that person who comes into the premise for their purpose., They are in on the property by the consent of the asset owner.
- A social guest- this is just an outsider who has been welcomed into the premise by either the tenant or the landlord
- Trespasser– a trespasser is that person who goes into a property without the permission of either the owner or any of the tenants. For a trespasser and a licensee, there is no implied guarantee that measures have been put in place to assure them of no danger during their stay in the property.
Condition of the property and visitors action
In some states, considerations are given to the premise’s condition and the activity of the visitor as well as that of the owner. In these regions, a uniform standard of care applies to both licensees and invitees, that uniform standard of care dictates that reasonable care must be implemented to ensure the visitor is safe within the premise. This care, however, does not take a trespasser into care. In other words, a trespasser is not assured of any care and as such is not liable for any compensation should they get an accident within the premise.
There is a need for determining whether the standard of rationality expected from an owner towards licensees have been met. The following factors must be examined to make a determination
• Circumstances under which the visitor came into the property
• What the premise serves as
• Reasonableness of the property owner to make efforts to try to repair a condition that could jeopardize the safety of the visitors.
• Foreseeability of the injury or misfortune that occurred within the premise.
Even as an owner is not a liability to injuries sustained by a trespasser, they may be charged with a responsibility to give reasonable alert to avert accidents. That is especially the case if the owner is well aware of the fact that trespassers are likely to enter the property. This requirement exclusively applies in a case where the owner has put up some artificial conditions and are well aware that the conditions may result in fatal injuries and or even death.
Children on the premise
The duty of a landowner to warn is different concerning kids who are prohibited from accessing the property. If children are likely to enter a premise, then it is the duty of the landlord to give warning. This is more so if the premise has dangerous conditions that are likely to cause fatal physical harm or even death to the children
Comparative fault: when both parties are to blame
One of the most frequently used on a premise’s owner’s liability is the argument that person who was injured was to some extent at fault, and even could have done something to prevent the misfortune. In most instances, a visitor must have to exercise reasonable care so as to prevent themselves from acquiring injuries. In case where the guest does not use that care properly, the plaintiff’s recovery is going to be limited to their own negligence
Most cases stick to and follow the ‘comparative fault’ system in cases involving personal injury. This means that the legal damages acquired by a visitor to a premise will be cut down by a percentage equivalent to their fault for the accident. Therefore, if, say the person injured was 30% liable for their injury, and the compensation was totaling $10000, then the victim will get a total of $7,000. The three thousand is for the negligence of the victim.
Special rules or landlord and lessors
In a case of lessors of premises, particular requirements of liability may be applied. The general rule states that a lessor is not in away liable to a lessee, and anyone else for that matter, for physical injuries and damages caused by a condition on the premise. The rule is partially based on the fact that the lesser has no control whatsoever of what is happening in their premise once they rent it out. However, the rule has a myriad of important exceptions that must be considered.
Get free legal help for a property’s liability injury
Once in a while, maybe you or someone close to you has suffered a premises liability injury. However, you don’t have to fret because of being ignorant of what the law states. Speak to a professional legal attorney who will ensure that your legal rights to compensation are fully assured and protected as required by law. Before anything else, contact a lawyer for a free analysis of your claim with totally no obligation whatsoever. If it turns out that the complaint is valid, many attorneys will want to work with you on a contingency basis where they ask for payments if you win the case.
Whoever is responsible for premises liability will depend on several factors as seen above.