What Is Premises Liability Law?

May 29, 2023 | David Abels
What Is Premises Liability Law?

Property and business owners have a legal duty to maintain their premises adequately and safely for the benefit of visitors to their property. When owners fail to repair hazardous conditions and defects on their properties in a timely manner, they significantly increase their chances of causing slips and falls and other premises accidents.

Premises liability law governs these situations.

If you suffered injuries and damages on someone else’s property, report the incident right away to the property owner, manager, or supervisor. Seek medical treatment right away for your injuries. Finally, contact a knowledgeable premises accident attorney in your area who can pursue the monetary compensation you deserve.

A premises liability lawyer can investigate your accident and gather necessary evidence in your case, including witness statements, investigation reports, and medical records.

Your attorney can also file a claim with the property owner’s insurance company and pursue fair settlement compensation on your behalf. If the insurance company does not settle your case favorably, your lawyer can file a lawsuit in the court system and help you recover favorable damages from a jury or arbitrator in your case.

When you entrust a skilled premises accident attorney to represent you throughout your case, you can rest assured that they will safeguard your legal interests and help you maximize your total monetary recovery.

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What Common Accidents Occur on Others’ Premises?

What Is Premises Liability Law

When premises owners fail to maintain their properties carefully and safely, serious accidents may lead to debilitating injuries and other consequences.

One of the most common accidents that may occur on someone else’s premises is a slip and fall accident. These accidents routinely happen when property owners and supervisors fail to clean up spills in a timely manner. slip and fall accidents are widespread at bars, restaurants, hotels, and nightclubs since food and drink often spill onto the floor in these locations.

However, slip and fall accidents may also happen outdoors on sidewalks and driveways—or in parking lots and garages on public premises. Outdoor slip and fall accidents frequently result from deep cracks and potholes in defective concrete or asphalt. Concrete spalling may also create a slip hazard for property visitors, as well as snow and ice that the property owner fails to remove from the premises within a reasonable amount of time after a snowstorm.

Although slips and falls are a common type of premises accident, they are not the only type of occurrence that may lead to injuries on someone else’s property.

In fact, premises accidents may include:

  • Occurrences that result from defective railings and staircases on properties
  • Indoor falls that result from defective carpeting or flooring materials that a property owner fails to properly secure
  • Swimming pool accidents—especially where property owners do not have sufficient lifeguards on duty
  • Boating accidents, especially where cruise ship personnel fail to properly maintain the boat deck and other common areas that the passengers regularly use
  • Amusement park accidents, where owners fail to properly inspect or repair rides located on their premises
  • Incidents that result from negligent security

In a premises accident that results from negligent security, a property owner might fail to maintain ample security guards and other personnel on the premises at a given time, leading to injuries in an attack or assault that a third-party causes. Premises owners may also be negligent for failing to equip their property with good security cameras.

If you suffered injuries on someone else’s premises as a result of the owner’s negligence, you have legal options to consider. A skilled premises accident attorney can go over your legal options with you and help you pursue the compensation you deserve via a personal injury claim or lawsuit against the negligent property owner or their insurance company.

What Is a Property Owner’s Legal Duty of Care?

Property owners owe most visitors to their premises a high legal duty of care. The duty of care that a property owner owes to a particular visitor depends upon the visitor’s status on the property at a specific time.

In some situations, property visitors are business invitees. A business invitee is someone whom the property owner invites onto their property for a business purpose. In other words, the visitor is present on the property for the owner’s benefit.

Premises owners owe business invitees a very high legal duty of care. Specifically, the property owner must actively inspect their premises on a regular basis for potentially unknown hazards. If the property owner comes across a dangerous condition or hazard during their routine inspection, they must either remedy the situation or warn about it within a reasonable amount of time. Moreover, premises owners have a duty to promptly warn about or repair known dangerous defects on their premises at a particular time.

Another classification of property visitor is a licensee—or social guest. These individuals typically visit residential premises. Property owners owe a similar duty of care to social guests as they do business invitees. Specifically, the owner must warn about or repair a known defect on their premises within a reasonable amount of time.

Finally, unlike social guests and business invitees, trespassers enter another individual’s premises without the owner’s permission. Since these individuals are present on the property without permission, property owners typically do not owe them a legal duty of care—especially if the property owner is unaware of their presence. However, if a particular individual is a known trespasser, the property owner may owe them some legal duty of reasonable care.

If you sustained injuries in a premises accident, an experienced premises accident attorney can help you determine whether the property owner likely violated their legal duty of care. To make this determination, an accident victim’s lawyer can hire an accident reconstructionist to visit the property where the incident occurred, review witness reports and incident reports, and decide how the premises accident likely happened.

If you are eligible to go forward with a claim, your attorney can submit the necessary documents to the property owner’s insurance company and work to recover the monetary damages you need.

What Must a Premises Accident Case Prove?

In addition to proving that a property owner owed you a legal duty of care, you must establish other legal elements to recover monetary damages in your premises accident case. Specifically, you must show that the property owner violated their legal duty in some way.

For example, the property owner might have failed to repair a defective staircase or railing that they knew about. Alternatively, the property owner might have failed to clean up a food spill within a reasonable amount of time, causing a slip and fall accident to occur.

Next, the accident victim must establish that the property owner’s negligent action or inaction was both the actual and the foreseeable cause of their premises accident. Finally, the property visitor must show that as a direct result of their accident, they sustained physical injuries and other losses.

A skilled premises accident lawyer in your area can help you satisfy these legal elements by submitting the necessary documentation or, if necessary, retaining experts to testify in your case. In addition to an accident reconstructionist, your lawyer can retain a medical expert to establish the causal connection between your injuries and the premises accident. These experts are beneficial when insurance companies dispute medical causation in a case.

For example, the insurance adjuster might argue that your injuries did not result from the premises accident but instead were pre-existing or resulted from a chronic medical condition. In those instances, a medical provider can testify, to a reasonable degree of medical certainty, that your injuries directly resulted from the premises accident. A medical provider can also establish that one or more of your injuries are permanent in nature.

What Evidence Does a Premises Accident Case Need?

When pursuing monetary compensation in a premises accident case, the property owner has the sole legal burden of proof. This means that they must satisfy various legal elements to recover monetary compensation for their accident-related losses. To meet the necessary legal burden, an accident victim or their lawyer must introduce legal evidence into the case.

Favorable evidence in premises accident cases may include:

  • Incident reports that explain how the accident happened
  • Reports from accident reconstructionists and other experts about how the accident likely occurred and who caused it
  • Security camera footage showing the accident occurring in real time
  • Photographs of the scene just before the incident occurred, during the incident, or immediately after the incident
  • Photographs of the accident victim’s visible injuries
  • Reports and testimony from witnesses who saw the events taking place
  • Medical records that describe the injuries that accident victims suffered and the medical treatment they received
  • Lost income documentation from the accident victim, showing the dates and times they missed work, as well as the total monetary compensation they lost

Your premises accident lawyer can submit this necessary documentation to the insurance company while your personal injury claim is ongoing. Moreover, if your case must proceed to a civil jury trial or binding arbitration hearing, your lawyer can move to introduce these documents into evidence—or call witnesses to testify on your behalf in court. By submitting the appropriate evidence in your case, your lawyer will help you maximize the monetary compensation you recover for your premises-accident injuries.

What Monetary Damages Can I Recover for My Premises Accident?

Victims of premises accidents may suffer severe injuries, including traumatic head and brain injuries, open lacerations, soft tissue contusions, rib fractures, and other broken bones. They may also suffer spinal cord damage or paralysis injuries that affect every aspect of their lives going forward.

Recoverable monetary damages following premises accidents are highly case-specific. Therefore, not all accident victims will recover the same types and amounts of monetary damages.

The total financial damage award that you receive through settlement or litigation in your case will depend upon the specific premises accident that occurred, the amount of force involved, the nature and extent of your injuries, the medical treatment that you underwent, and the total cost of your medical care.

In general, if you suffer a permanent injury, such as full or partial paralysis, you are more likely to recover higher monetary compensation than if you sustained less serious injuries in your accident. All degrees of injuries deserve full compensation, however.

First, premises accident victims can recover monetary damages for their related medical expenses, both past and future. If they had to miss time from work, they might also assert a lost income claim. Furthermore, they can pursue damages for loss of earning capacity if their injuries prevented them from working at their current job—and they later had to switch to a lower-paying job.

In addition, premises accident victims may recover non-economic damages. The purpose of these damages is to compensate accident victims for their inconvenience, past/future pain and suffering, mental distress, loss of the ability to use the body part, loss of life enjoyment, permanent disfigurement or disability, humiliation, loss of spousal companionship, and other intangible losses.

A premises accident attorney in your area can aggressively negotiate with insurance company adjusters—or threaten them with litigation if the insurance company refuses to compensate you appropriately. Your lawyer will do everything they can to highlight the strengths of your case, downplay any weaknesses, and pursue the highest monetary award possible in your case.

Speak With a Premises Accident Lawyer Near You Today

Car Accident Lawyer, Dave Abels
Dave Abels, Liability Injuries Lawyer

If you sustained injuries in a recent premises accident, time might be of the essence. Accident victims only have a two-year window of time to file a lawsuit seeking monetary damages for premises-accident injuries. When an accident victim files their claim or lawsuit belatedly, it is almost certain that they will be unable to recover the monetary damages they deserve. In fact, if they file a personal injury lawsuit after the deadline expires, the courts will prevent their recovery.

A skilled personal injury attorney can file a lawsuit right away in your case and begin pursuing the monetary damages you deserve. If your case must go through litigation, your lawyer can represent you in all legal proceedings, including a civil jury trial or binding arbitration hearing. Your lawyer can also introduce the appropriate evidence on your behalf and pursue the maximum amount of monetary damages available to you in your premises accident case.

Abels & Annes, P.C.

Address: 100 N LaSalle St #1710,
Chicago, IL 60602

Phone: (855) 529-2442

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