Common Premises Liability Accidents

Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of Nancy J. Winkler with Eisenberg, Rothweiler, Winkler, Eisenberg & Jeck, P.C..

Common Premises Liability Accidents
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Premises liability refers to the responsibility a property owner or property manager has to provide a reasonable degree of safety to people while on their premises. This includes ensuring proper maintenance, security, and that any other foreseeable risk factors are adequately addressed. Occasionally, when a property owner fails to take proper safety precautions, injuries occur. When this happens, the property owner could be held liable for the injuries and subsequent damages a person sustains while on their premises.

There are a variety of common premises liability accidents it helps to be aware of, and clear steps you can take if you think you might be eligible to seek compensation in a premises liability claim.

Common premises liability accidents:

  • Slip or trip and fall accidents. These can occur when a person is injured by slipping on or tripping over a hazard that should have been reasonably addressed and corrected by the property owner. Common examples of these types of accidents include icy walkways and cracked sidewalks.
  • Dog bites. This often occurs when a property owner fails to adequately restrain a dog they should be reasonably aware poses danger to others and/or warn visitors to the premises regarding the dog.
  • Lack of security. Inadequate security measures or failure to follow safety protocol can result in things like broken windows, locks, assaults, and other injuries.
  • Water accidents. Pool accident injuries are common, and can occur as a result of poor lighting, debris near the pool, slick surfaces, and lack of safety measures or adequate safety monitoring. Pool owners could also be liable for failing to build a proper fence around their pool if someone sneaks in, uses the pool, and sustains an injury.
  • Exposure to dangerous substances. This can include exposure to asbestos, dangerous chemicals, toxic fumes, and more. If a property owner should reasonably have been aware of the risk and failed to address it, they could be liable for any injuries or illness sustained by a person on their premises as a result.
  • Elevator, escalator, and stairway accidents. These can occur as a result of faulty mechanisms, improper maintenance, lack of safety railings, and missing or broken steps.
  • Amusement park ride accidents. Often in the news, when an injury occurs due to poorly maintained amusement park rides or improper operator training, the property owner and/or maintenance provider could be liable for damages.
  • Fires and smoke inhalation. There are a variety of dangers that occur during a fire, including smoke inhalation, burn injuries, and more. However, the risk is greatly increased by properties that lack adequate emergency exits, properly maintained and updated fire extinguishers, and failure to meet and maintain fire code regulations.

In any of these situations or even a different type of premises liability accident, the general rule of thumb for proving the property owner’s liability is whether or not they should have been reasonably aware of the risk their property posed, and whether or not they took reasonably adequate measures to correct the risk.

Steps to take if you have been injured on someone else’s premises:

  • Seek immediate medical attention. Even if the injury seems relatively minor, it’s important to seek immediate medical attention for the injury sustained on someone else’s property. This ensures that a medical record exists to support the validity of your claim, and by seeking medical care immediately, it removes the ability of the other party to claim that the injury couldn’t have been that severe if you were able to seek care.
  • Determine your role. Were you an invitee, licensee, or trespasser? Invitees and licensees are nearly always protected by law in the case of a premises liability case. However, trespassers are far less likely to be eligible to file a claim unless they are a child; this does vary from state to state though, so it’s a good idea to look up the legislation regarding this issue for your state.
  • Gather evidence. While some evidence may only be accessible for an attorney or expert to obtain and examine, certain types of evidence can be gathered by the victim themself, or even the loved one of the victim if they are unable to gather it due to their injury. Examples of evidence to gather after a premises liability accident include pictures/videos of the scene where the accident occurred, pictures/videos of any factors which may have contributed to the accident occurring, pictures of any warning signs posted nearby, and pictures of the injury itself. Additionally, it might be helpful to gather contact information from any witnesses to the accident, and even record a testimony from them if they agree to it.
  • Seek legal counsel. Premises liability cases can be extremely complicated and difficult to prove, so it’s a good idea to reach out to an experienced premises liability attorney to let them help assess the viability of your case. The majority of these attorneys offer free consultations and work on contingency, which means if you choose to hire them to represent you, you won’t have to pay them unless and until they win your case.

To learn more about what constitutes premises liability, or to find out if you could be eligible for compensation over an injury which occurred on someone else’s property, seek legal counsel.

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