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Premise Liability: What You Need To Know

When anyone gets a personal injury due to a defective or unsafe condition on someone else’s property, the legal issue that arises is premises liability. Laws and rules exist for all types of incidents you may face on someone else’s property. Tripping or slipping on a surface are some of the most common ways to get injured anywhere, but what if that wet floor wasn’t yours? 

More than 8 million people visit the emergency room every year due to fall accidents, with hip fractures and head injuries being the most common fall results. Not only that, but employers in the US also reported that the injury and illness rate among employees is 2.8 per 100 cases. These stats are enough to confirm that premise liability injury laws are essential to support victims financially during tough times. In this article, we try to explain premises liability and provide common questions and answers.

What is the difference between premises liability and personal liability?

Personal Liability

When someone personally does something that hurts or causes harm to an individual, it is usually does not involve a premise and would likely involve someone’s personal liability. For instance, you are stopped at a red light suddenly someone rams into your rear end and causes injuries then the person hitting you can be held responsible for personal liability for their negligence. 

If an act of negligence causes harm to another person or someone else’s possession, it comes under personal liability.

Premises Liability 

Unlike personal liability, this type of liability involves ownership of some sort of premises. For instance, if someone falls in a hotel or business due to a wet or slippery floor, the property owner may be liable for any personal injury. Thorough investigation is required for premise liability situations and determining whether negligence in maintaining the property makes the owner liable under premises liability. 

From slip and falls to chemical toxicity issues, premises liability includes a wide range of personal injuries & situations, including, but not limited to,

  • Poor Maintenance 
  • Slip and Fall Cases
  • Fires
  • Security Failures
  • Ice Incidents
  • Toxic Chemicals
  • Dog Bites

Keep in mind that the common types of individuals or entities can be held responsible under premises liability include owners, occupiers, or managers.

What is premises liability insurance coverage?

Oftentimes, business owners are liable for customers or someone else who slips, falls, or sustains injuries on the business property. 

These incidents are common in grocery or retail stores, parking lots, leased office spaces, and office or hotel lobbies. Business owners have a responsibility to take care of customers and guests.

There are three categories that most visitors to a business property fall into, including: 

  • Invitee- Someone invited onto your business property, such as a customer, comes under the invitee category. Invitees expect business owners to have reasonable safety measures in place. 
  • Licensee- Someone with permission to enter your property, such as utility workers, delivery persons, etc., are considered licensees. This category cannot expect a high level of care. Some of them contribute to premise security.  
  • Trespasser- Someone with no invitation or permission to enter the business property or any other property for that matter is kept in the Trespassers category. 

In case you get into a legal matter for premises liability, these three categories help determine the extent of the liability. Premises liability insurance coverageis your safe side to deal with these unwanted situations. It covers bodily injuries to the visitor as well as any property damages. But the extent of liability will rely on the type of visitor. For example, a burglar trying to trespass into your property will hardly get any injury claim. 

What is a premises liability claim?

Every business owner should enact appropriate safety rules and procedures to protect their business from premises liability exposure. A business owner’s failure to enact the appropriate safety rules and procedures resulting in negligence is more common than most believe.

Grocery stores may go through lengths in maintaining their store’s safety by installing non-slippery floors, putting warning signs on potential dangers, and securing shelves. However, negligence still often occurs, and a premise liability claim helps them compensate any damage caused to a customer or their store. 

Who is liable if someone gets hurt on your property?

Whether it is a guest, customer, or trespasser, anyone injured on your property can file a personal injury lawsuit against you, which technically makes you liable for anyone who gets hurt on your property. However, whether you are liable or not depends on how your guest sustained the injury as well as the facts and circumstances.

The law requires every property owner or landowner to keep their properties maintained. If the landowners neglect their duty of care for people entering their property, they become negligent. If this negligence results in harms and losses

Is premises liability the same as negligence?

Premises liability is a form of negligence. In a negligence action, the victim suffering the injury can argue that the property owner failed to follow appropriate safety measures due to which the individual suffered an injury. Since negligence may hold anyone liable for injuries or damages that occurred anywhere, it is not limited to premise liability. On the other hand, premises liability claims can be due to the negligence of a property owner. Potential premise injuries can be prevented if property owners never neglected their duty of maintaining general safety measures.

Some Types of Premises Liability 

Premises liability accidents can happen to anyone in any kind of property including, but not limited to, office buildings, malls, retail stores, apartments, government buildings, private homes, and parking lots. Here are some types of premises liability accidents that can lead to a lawsuit in case the property owner is found liable.

Slip and Fall

Slip and falls are one of the most common types of premise liability accidents. They can be caused due to several reasons such as loose carpeting, uneven floors, uncovered cables & cords, leakages, missing railings, and many more. A lot of slip and fall cases occur where the property owner was liable for not closing off a construction site, which led to someone slipping and falling.

Failing to put warning signs to notify people about potential threats can also lead to a lawsuit against the property owner. People must be notified of hazards that they may have to face on a property. However, there have been cases of business or property owners getting fraudulently tricked into paying a premise liability claim. Instead of getting accused of false accusations and hurting your reputation, you should hire an expert personal injury attorney to keep your business unaffected by any legal problems. 

Negligent Security

Poor security is another major cause of premise liability injury. An owner should responsibly provide a safe premise to tenants, employees, customers, or whoever else visiting. In case people are injured during a break-in or robbery, the property comes under scrutiny for negligent security. Installing security cameras, effective alarm systems, strong locking systems, proper hiring, retention, supervision, and training.

Hotel Injury

Hotels must maintain a high level of care and security for their guests. Proper security is required throughout the premise, but individuals may file a claim for all types of injuries, even one from broken beds or chairs in the room. Sometimes injuries can occur due to an oddly designed bathroom countertop or slippery tiles installed in the hotel rooms. Hotel injuries could make a premise liable for damages that occurred especially if the hotel neglected safety protocols such as failing to install non-slippery tiles, warning signs, and providing security. 

Nightclub Injury

When controlling a crowd, it is imperative to prevent them from hurting themselves or others. Nightclubs are prone to many unfortunate events and owners often face lawsuits for different reasons. It is normal to see people enjoying a care-free, fun environment, but occasional drinking can turn a fun night into a fight. Any damages from an assault or fight at someone’s nightclub may pose a liability with the nightclub through a premise injury claim. Nightclubs should prevent fights on the premises and take all required precautionary measures to prevent accident. 

Grocery Store Injury

As discussed before, grocery store owners face several potential liabilities to customers, employees, and even trespassers. An average American shopper makes at least six visits to a supermarket every month, translating into 332 trips in a year. And store negligence is the biggest reason why injuries happen. It may be damaged shopping carts, cracked or uneven pavements, or negligent hiring, training, retention, or supervision. Many types of grocery store injuries exist including, but not limited to, fractured arm, legs, or hips, broken pelvis, spinal cord injuries, head wounds, and concussions.  

Negligent Hiring, Training, Retention, and Supervision

All the negligence, intentional fights, and recklessness from employees make their employers liable for premises liability. That said, employers should already know an employee’s behavior and the potential risk he or she poses to others. 

Employers usually keep themselves protected through insurance policies to cover the wrongful acts of their employees. However, it may take time to prove that an employer or business owner was negligent in hiring, training, supervising, or retaining the employee. Here are some of the things you need to prove an employer’s negligent hiring, training, supervision, and retention.

  • Show that the employee was incompetent or unfit for the work.
  • Show that the employer knew about the unfit or incompetent employee.
  • Prove that the employee’s incompetence and unfitness are the cause of the injury.
  • Prove that the employer’s negligent hiring, training, retention, and supervision caused the injury and file a claim. 

Contact a Premises Liability Attorney

Premises liability claims is a must to protect your rights.  These are not normal negligence cases and they often result in complex liability issues.

Call Michael Hua Injury Law at (702) 659-5977 for your FREE case evaluation.  There is no fee if we do not recover compensation for you, and we pay all upfront medical record, expert, and court filing fees. We are here to help.

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