Unless you are a lawyer, the term premises liability may be unfamiliar to you. However, you have probably heard of lawsuits related to slip and fall accidents in hotel lobbies, dog bite injuries in public parks, and injuries sustained in parking garage stairwell falls. These are all examples of possible premises liability claims. The law says that property owners must make a reasonable effort to keep their premises safe for guests and visitors. When they fail to do so and someone is injured, the property owner is responsible for any financial losses the victim suffers.
How Do You Prove Premises Liability?
Like other personal injury claims, premises liability claims are based on negligence. In order to prove a claim, you must show that the property owner was negligent in some way. For example, if a parking garage owner knew that a stairwell had a burned-out lightbulb and you fell down the stairs, he would be considered negligent. You must also show that his negligence was the direct cause of your injuries. In our example, you would have to produce evidence from a doctor stating that your injury—broken bone, traumatic brain injury, back injury, etc.—was caused by the fall down the stairs. Finally, you would have to show that you were in the parking garage for a legitimate reason, such as parking your car, and not to make mischief. Trespassers are generally not covered under premises liability claims.
Types of Premises Liability Claims
Premises liability claims can be made against homeowners, business owners, municipalities, and others. Some common claims include the following:
- Slip and fall. When property conditions cause you to slip or trip and fall, the owner may be liable. However, you must show that he knew or should have known about the dangerous conditions and that he failed to correct them. These accidents occur on wet floors, icy sidewalks, floors with unsecured rugs, stairs with broken handrails or missing steps, and broken or uneven surfaces.
- Dog bite. If you are bitten by a dog—even it is the first time the dog has been reported for biting—you can hold the dog’s owner responsible for your injuries. Exceptions to the law include people who purposely tease or provoke dogs and people who are unlawfully on the property when they are bitten.
- Inadequate building security. If you are assaulted or a loved one is killed by an intruder and it can be proven that building security was lax, you may be able to hold the building owner responsible for your losses.
- Swimming pool accidents. There is no shortage of swimming pools in Florida, and owners are required by law to keep them safe and secured. If a pool is left accessible and a child is injured or killed, the owner may be liable. Swimming pool owners must also keep the pool deck safe and could be liable for guests’ slip and fall accidents.
Premises liability claims are usually paid by insurance policies, such as a homeowner’s or business owner’s liability coverage.
These Are Not Easy Claims to Win
Premises liability claims often come down to the victim’s word against the property owner’s. If you suffered because of a property owner’s negligence, you need an experienced personal injury lawyer on your side. Call the Clifton Law Office to find out if we can help you recover damages when you are injured.