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The basics of premises liability

On Behalf of | Oct 11, 2021 | Premises Liability |

Premises liability is a tort law that allows injured parties in California or another state to collect damages from injuries sustained on property. Some common premises liability cases involve animal bites, slippery surfaces, and loose or broken flooring. If the court finds the property owner negligent, that owner could be held responsible for the injuries.

Overview of premises liability

Statistics show that around 40 million Americans visit the doctor annually for accidental injuries caused by another party’s negligence. Most states have premises liability laws to hold negligent property owners responsible for personal injury. Each state uses different conditions to determine who injured parties can sue and how much they can recover.

Sometimes, the status of the visitor is considered under duty of care, which premises law groups into visitors, licensees and trespassers. A property owner owes a duty of care to invitees, licensees and expected visitors but less of an obligation to trespassers. While a trespasser cannot commonly recover damages, a property owner cannot purposefully harm them, and the owner should still place warnings about defects.

Elements of a premises liability case

The law requires owners to exercise reasonable duty care to keep their property safe from dangers and defects. To make a claim, the plaintiff must show that the owner owed them duty of care, a duty that could also fall to renters and employees. The owner must have breached the duty of care that caused the plaintiff injury through their negligence.

However, the owner must have known about the condition and had sufficient time to correct it. For example, an owner may not have known about a puddle of water from an overnight rain that caused a fall.

Just because a party gets injured doesn’t mean they can get full compensation. Sometimes, courts determine whether the plaintiff could have exercised care to avoid the accident. This is called comparative fault law, which reduces the amount of compensation based on fault percentage. Many different factors go into a premises liability case, so it’s important for injured individuals to understand the details before they file a claim.