Premises liability is the property owner’s responsibility to maintain a relatively safe environment for people who come onto their property. Failure to uphold this safety standard could result in property owners and residents being liable for any accidents and injuries that occur on their property. Basic principles of a premises liability claim include:
- The property owner breached their duty of care. In most cases, this is a critical issue. Property owners can breach their duty in many ways, including failure to put up a wet floor sign or inadequate lighting.
- The property owner owed you a duty of care. This tends to be pretty straightforward in most liability cases. However, if you were trespassing or in an off-limits/closed-off area on the property, the owner may be able to argue they did not owe you a duty.
- The property owner breach caused your injury. It’s common to see property owners arguing that you were not actually hurt, or that you are claiming a prior injury.
Do I Need Premises Liability Insurance?
As a property owner, it's important to be covered. There's always a risk when it comes to an injured person filing a lawsuit, and regardless of who is at fault, it could result in legal bills and settlement costs. There are three must-know terms when speaking liability insurance:
- Premises liability insurance. This protects you in case someone is injured on your property as a result of poor maintenance that should’ve been correct.
- General liability insurance: This offers the same coverage as a premises liability insurance policy, but it also includes any damages you or your employees may cause to a customer’s property, as well as advertising injury.
- Public liability insurance. This is an older insurance term that refers to any claims made by the public for injuries or damaged/lost property connected to your building.
These are responsible for determining who is at fault- the customer or the client who is injured on your property.
Types of Premises Liability Cases
According to the National Floor and Safety Institute, slips and falls are the leading cause of workers’ compensation claims. These cases include a wide range of factual scenarios and can occur on both residential and commercial properties. Some of the most common premises liability claims include:
Poor security. As a property manager or business owner, it is required to provide safe premises for customers, tenants, and employees. When people are injured from a crime, the business becomes scrutinized for lack of security cameras, locks, or issues with the alarm systems.
Lack of maintenance. Building elements such as light fixtures, appliances, and elevators can become dangerous when not maintained properly. Injuries sustained from elevator or appliance malfunctions (due to lack of maintenance) can result in a premises liability lawsuit.
Unrestrained dogs. Property owners are expected to keep their dogs restrained, especially when the dog is aggressive. If a dog attacks someone because it is not under restraint, fenced-in, or on a leash, the owner can be held liable.
Parking lot accidents. Property owners could also be held liable for injuries sustained in commercial parking lots. If someone trips and falls because of cracked pavement or poor lighting, the owner could be at fault.
If you have been injured on someone else property, it’s important that you contact an experienced attorney at The Law Offices of John R. Mathias, P.A. right away. You don’t have to fight this alone.
Call our office at (727) 270-8360 or fill out our form online to set up your free consultation. We are here to help.