You might think that a slip and fall accident at the mall or a dog bite as you were passing by someone’s house was completely your fault. Therefore, despite your serious injuries and the consequences you have to face, you continue to bear everything on your own.
However, that is not the case. Your injury could be a case of premises liability. You could actually file a premises liability lawsuit and be compensated for your injuries and damages. Personal injury cases like these are quite common, and unfortunately, they often go unreported because people don’t realize that someone else can be held liable.
Especially with premises liability cases, it can be hard to hold someone responsible as there are certain conditions that need to be met for it to turn into a premises liability lawsuit. That is why it is so important to reach out to a personal injury or premises liability lawyer if you find yourself in a similar situation.
Your lawyer can study your case in-depth, determine who’s at fault, and get you the highest settlement amount possible. However, to make sure that you contact a premises liability lawyer right away when needed, you need to understand what premises liability is and what some common premises liability cases entail.
So, let’s discuss that in detail.
What is Premises Liability?
When it comes to personal injury cases, you need to be aware of two things: personal liability and premises liability. Personal liability is the responsibility that falls on a person and his personal actions that could cause another person any injury or damage.
Premises liability is also a responsibility that falls on a person, but he is responsible for any injury or damage caused by his property. There is a slight difference between the two, which is why many people could get confused.
If you are not sure whether your particular case falls under a personal liability or premises liability case, you can consult a premises liability lawyer to help you distinguish between the two types. Similar to most personal injury cases, premises liability cases stem from negligence.
Normally, a property owner is responsible for ensuring that his land or building is safe for people to visit or reside in. The property has to be properly maintained, and any hazardous condition has to be dealt with immediately for ensuring a safe environment for the people there.
This responsibility does not just fall on the actual property owner. In premises liability cases, along with property owners, managers and occupiers can also be held responsible. So, let’s say you have a friend who is renting a house or apartment. You go over to his place and suffer an injury due to a lack of maintenance in the house. Now, you would think that it’s the landlord’s fault, but your friend, the occupier of that property, can also be held liable for your injuries.
All this doesn’t mean that you go and file a premises liability lawsuit every time you go and get hurt on someone else’s property. There has to be evidence of negligence on the owner’s part. You have to prove that there were certain unsafe conditions on the property.
Moreover, you have to prove that the owner knew about those conditions and chose to ignore them or not rectify them right away. Collecting this evidence and proving a case to be a premises liability case is not easy.
Owners might put the blame on the victim instead, claiming that he wasn’t careful enough or paying attention. Similarly, as you’ll see in different premises liability cases, there are different circumstances, so the process of getting to the liable person is different.
In some states, the law even defines who can hold the property owner responsible for such personal injury cases. So, invitees, people who were explicitly invited by the owner on to the property, and licensees, people who were also granted permission to come over but they come with their own purpose, can hold the owner liable for any injuries arising due to unsafe conditions.
However, if any trespassers, people who were not allowed to come on to the property, suffer any injury, they can’t hold the owner liable. Although, if the trespasser happens to be a child, the responsibility does fall on the owner to ensure or at least inform them of any unsafe conditions.
Sounds pretty complicated, right? That’s just how premises liability cases are, and it’s why we keep urging you to contact a premises liability lawyer right away if you find yourself in such a situation. They understand these technicalities of the law and know how to handle them accordingly.
Common Premises Liability Cases
You probably have a rough idea by now about what premises liability is all about. However, we still need to go over some common premises liability cases so that if unfortunately, you suffer something similar, you know what you need to do right away.
Slip and Fall Accidents
These are the most common type of premises liability cases, yet many people simply consider them to be their own mistake or carelessness. While it’s true that you should try to watch where you are going, if you do happen to trip on a loose floorboard or an uneven sidewalk and fall and sustain severe injuries, it’s not your fault.
It is the property owner’s responsibility to fix those right away so that no one accidentally trips over them and gets hurt. If they knew about the condition and they ignored it, they can be held liable for it.
Some causes of slip and fall accidents include ice or snow on the path, recently waxed or mopped floors without any signs indicating so, worn-out carpeting, potholes and cracks in the sidewalk or road, various objects and clutter on the path, and uneven floors.
Swimming Pool Accidents
Swimming pool accidents are pretty serious as they not only have severe consequences, but they can also happen in a matter of seconds, leaving the authorities barely any time to react. Moreover, if they don’t react immediately, it can have lasting effects on the victim.
Staying underwater for too long can cause brain damage that is hard to recover from. Even if there’s no physical damage, the whole experience can be quite traumatic and affect a person’s mental health, which is even harder to compensate for.
Furthermore, this does not have to be at a swimming pool only. These accidents can happen in a children’s inflatable pool or even a hot tub. Causes of swimming pool accidents include wet surfaces by the pool leading to slips and falls, lack of supervision, and lack of maintenance of the pool.
When it comes to injuries from dog bites or other animal attacks, some people think it’s just the animal’s fault, and well, you can’t really take a dog to court, can you? Yes, you can’t sue the dog, but you can file a premises liability lawsuit against the dog owner, especially if you were injured on his property.
If the owner didn’t keep the dog or animal properly leashed or caged, it shows his negligence, and he has to compensate the victim for all his injuries and medical expenses. However, in some cases, it can be hard to hold the owner liable.
For instance, if the dog was defending himself or the accident happened on someone else’s property, then sometimes the victim has to share some of the responsibility.
Fire accidents are the absolute worst, and sadly, they are a common type of premises liability case. Whether it is a minor or major accident, burn injuries can be extremely painful, and the scars don’t go away easily.
Not to forget, there is no way to judge the psychological damage. If the accident could have been prevented, the liability falls on the owner again. For instance, in buildings, it is a must to build proper fire exits and keep fire extinguishers accessible.
If all these safety measures are not put in place, the owner is responsible, and he must pay for all the damages suffered by the victim. Some common causes of fire accidents include gas leaks, faulty outlets or wires, and exposed and live wires.
Escalator and Elevator Accidents
Just like all machines and gadgets require regular maintenance and care to continue working smoothly, so do escalators and elevators. If not maintained properly, the cables and different components can get rusty and cause accidents.
Escalator accidents aren’t always so serious, but elevator accidents can have some dire consequences. If an elevator stops midway, the people inside can be completely trapped for quite a while, and during this time, they face the risk of suffocation and other injuries.
Even elevators need to have certain safety measures installed, such as an emergency call button, emergency lighting inside the elevator, accessible roof doors, etc. If the owner of the building does not take care of these things regularly, and eventually, an accident takes place, he can face a premises liability lawsuit.
Accidents Due to Lack of Maintenance
As you might have judged by now, a lot of accidents take place simply due to a lack of maintenance by the property owner. From worn-out carpeting causing a slip and fall accident to rusty cables leading to an elevator accident, maintenance is a crucial factor.
Lack of it can lead to a whole range of accidents, and it is a primary example of negligence by the property owner. The owner has to regularly inspect all parts of his property to ensure that nothing is in a dangerous or hazardous condition that could cause an injury or damage to others on his property.
Aside from the ones mentioned already, some other examples of poor maintenance include a lack of security cameras, broken windows, stairs, and other fixtures, loose handrails, and even overgrown vegetation.
Water Leaks and Flooding Accidents
Pipe bursts and faulty plumbing can not only cause serious accidents, but it can also leave a big mess behind, which is a headache to deal with. Furthermore, it can cost hundreds and thousands of dollars in repairs as the water flooding simply destroys everything in its path.
However, you don’t have to pay for all the damages. If it turns out that the accident occurred due to subpar or bad quality materials being used in the pipes and plumbing, the property owner or builder can be held liable.
Since these pipes and plumbing are usually hidden behind the walls, people can try to take advantage of this fact and use bad quality materials to save their own money. However, over time, wear and tear can cause these pipes to burst, causing an accident in the house.
Toxic Fumes and Chemical Accidents
Accidents due to toxic fumes and chemicals are quite common as well. More importantly, they can be quite dangerous as they are not always noticeable right away. The effects can build up slowly until it actually turns into something serious.
Aside from burns, inhaling toxic fumes can damage your throat and lungs, which can again be hard to recover from. If the property owner knows that the land has some exposure to fumes or there is some sort of chemical accident due to his negligence, he is responsible for the resulting injuries and damages.
A property owner, manager, or occupier’s negligence is not easy to spot. Consequently, you might end up bearing all the pain, medical expenses, and other effects of the accident all on your own. However, you should not have to. For such accidents, you deserve rightful compensation and the best way to get it is through a premises liability lawyer.
If you have suffered an accident due to someone’s negligence on their property, you could hold them liable. Contact us today to file a premises liability lawsuit.