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MAIN Arrow to Home Life Home Legal Guide Arrow to Personal Injury Personal Injury Arrow to Premises Liability Premises Liability

caution - wet floorEveryone may laugh at the slapstick comic who slips and falls on a banana peel, but if you own property where an injury occurs or happen to be the one who slips and falls... it's no joke.

Premises liability law most commonly involves a plaintiff in court seeking monetary or compensatory damages for any injury sustained on someone else's property.

The law assumes the landlord invited the injured party and the 'invitee' was injured. If the injury occurred because of a condition that the landlord could have prevented by normal maintenance that just wasn't done, then the injury was preventable.

The property owner is responsible for someone falling on a flight of stairs with a broken banister, poor lighting, or loose carpet — in just the same way as if they had pushed the injured person down the stairs.

There is not usually a criminal complaint involved, but the financial damage to the property owner can be severe. The purpose of these laws are to make sure that landlords make sure that they maintain their property in a safe condition.

Commercial owners are most prone to lawsuits simply by the fact that the sheer number of their visitors will increase the odds that someone may sustain an injury while on their property.

However, homeowners are also subject to paying damages if they are proven to have been negligent, or have failed to provide a safe environment for their guests. Most homeowners insurance policies cover liability in these instances, however (with extra protection, if necessary, provided by umbrella liability insurance.)

Typically, premises liability cases come to court for injuries involving a common slip and fall. Yet more serious or even life threatening accidents may occur depending on the circumstances:

  • slick or icy surfaces

  • uneven pavement or roadways

  • falling tree branches

  • broken handrails or stairs

  • faulty elevators or escalators

  • inadequate lighting

  • lack of security in a high crime area

The onus of responsibility always falls to the owner or holder of the property for a person who is injured on that property. Further, premises liability law distinguishes the relationship between the person owning or holding the property and the injured person.

Depending on the U.S. state, courts are sometimes more lenient with homeowners than with commercial properties wherein "invitees" or customers are injured due to negligence.

Perhaps not surprisingly, criminal trespassers are also covered under premises liability law, although only in circumstances where they are not alerted to extreme danger - such as attack dogs used for security, or an electrical fence that provides a lethal shock.

In contrast, employees who are injured at the same property are not covered by premises liability law, but rather protections provided under worker's compensation law.

More about premises liability law around the Web:

Premises Liability - Who Is Responsible?
- Check out this beginner guide to identifying visitor legal status and responsibilities of landlords with related FAQ, resources.

Personal Injury Slip and Fall FAQs - Legal questions are asked and answered regarding injuries sustained at work or on personal property.


The information provided on these pages is intended as reference
only and does not constitute professional legal advice.


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