Premises liability is something that can be tricky to grasp. Depending on what state you live in, the laws can change dramatically, therefore, it is important to get a basic understanding of what is considered premises liability and who is liable for the damages.

Types of Cases

Various types of personal injury cases can fall under the classification of premises liability. Slip and fall cases are perhaps the most common example of this type of suit. These accidents can be caused by icy weather, wet floors, hidden extension cords, loose floorboards, and more. Another common example is swimming pool accidents. These accidents often involve young children and unsupervised or unsecured pools. Some areas go as far as requiring all pools to be completely gated and separate from the rest of the backyard to ensure safety. Inadequate building security is also an example of premises liability. If you are mugged or assaulted due to the building’s lack of security measures, you can receive compensation for your damages. Additional examples include:

  • Elevator Accidents
  • Fires
  • Toxic chemicals or Fumes
  • Dog Bites

Duty Owed

Owners are expected to maintain their property to keep it reasonably safe. In order to keep their property safe, they must be aware of the potential hazards lurking. Furthermore, if a court determines that it is reasonable for the owner to know about the dangerous condition, they can still be liable even if they had no idea that the hazard was there. If the owner does know that something could cause potential injury, they must take reasonable steps to ensure safety. This duty, however, may not extend to everyone. In some states, a property owner’s liability may be limited depending on the classification of the injured party. If the individual is considered an invitee or guest, then the property owner owes this duty of reasonable care. If the individual is a licensee, then the property owner must warn the individual of the present dangers. An example of a licensee is a salesman because they are not necessarily invited, but they are permitted. If the individual is a trespasser, however, then the property owner is not liable for any damages unless the trespasser is a child.

Amount Recovered

The amount received from a premises liability suit varies based on different factors. First, the presence of negligence must be proven. Next, the total damages must be assessed. The amount of damages that you recover depends on your state’s laws regarding premises liability. In states that practice comparative negligence, you can recover a percentage of the damages that is proportional to your amount of negligence. If you are considered 20% negligent and the property owner is 80% negligent, you would receive 80% of the damages. In states that practice contributory negligence, however, you could walk away with nothing if you were found negligent to any degree.