In commercial buildings, private residences, or on public property, faulty design, shoddy construction, poor maintenance or dangerous clutter can lead to slipping, falling, or even being struck by a falling object.
Here are some things to know as you decide if you have a case for premises liability.
1. Two Basic Liability Rules.
When determining who is responsible for an accident, there are two foundational rules.
Rule One: The Owner Must Keep the Property Safe
The owner owes visitors a safe setting, confirming secure design, construction, condition, and maintenance of the property.
Rule Two: The Visitor Must Use the Property Responsibly
Visitors must act normally when using the property. Any unexpected, unauthorized, or dangerously careless behavior exempts the owner from being held responsible for any injuries.
2. Both the Owner and the Occupier Could Be Liable.
Depending on the accident and what parts of the property were involved, either the owner or the occupier could be held responsible for your injury.
- Commercial Property: Property leases usually include details regarding who is liable for such incidents. Notify the business and their insurance will handle the claim or decide to pass it to the building owner’s insurance company.
- Rented Home: The owner is responsible for immovable fixtures and surrounding hallways, stairs, and entrances. The tenant is responsible for movable things inside the apartment.
To be safe, file a notice of claim against both the owner and the occupier.
3. Establish Negligence to Establish Liability
Perhaps the most challenging aspect of a premises liability case is the fact that simply confirming responsibility does not lead to to liability. You, as the claimant, must establish that the business or residence was negligent regarding maintenance, design, or construction of the property, that they knew or should have known about the condition and yet failed to act. You must be able to show that:
- The cause of the accident was a known issue
- The problem could have been avoided with reasonable action from the landowner
- You could not have anticipated the issue and prevented the accident
4. Validating Your Presence
Different states determine a landowner’s duty of care depending on the status of the visitor. According to Arizona:
- Invitee: Visitors with express permission to be on the property are owed the highest duty of care, and businesses are required to warn them of dangerous conditions, and repair known issues.
- Licensee: Social guests or salespeople are some of the people who visit a property for non-commercial reasons, and are owed warning of hazards and reasonable repair of dangerous situations.
- Trespassers: Generally, property owners are not held liable for injuries occurring to people who were on the property without permission.
5. Complex Cases Need Aggressive Representation.
Because of the complexity of cases involving premises liability, it is crucial that you work with a lawyer who can effectively tackle each aspect, and pay close attention to many different factors. Your attorney should be experienced, knowing what to look for, what to focus on, and how to give each facet of the case with the right level of attention.
Seek expert help as you explore your premises liability options, and let the skilled offices of Simon Law Group assist you in building a strong case for premises liability that will deliver the justice you deserve.