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What is Plaintiff Side Premises Liability?

Definition of Premises Liability Law

Real estate owners take on several new expenses whenever they purchase new land. One of the risks they take on is the risk that someone else will come on the land and hurt themselves. When this happens, the injured person may sue the property owner to recover any medical expenses.

One classic example of a premises liability suit is when someone sues a store after they slip and fall in an icy store parking lot. However, private homeowners may also be involved in premises liability suits when guests are injured by the owner’s failure to properly maintain the property. The degree to which the property owner may be liable depends in part on whether the person who was injured was there as the owner’s guest (as in the case of the store’s customer), on official business, or without permission. Other factors may include how well maintained the property is, whether the guest was warned of the dangerous condition, and how clumsy the guest was.

Terms to Know

  • Invitee: These are the guests of the property owner and are owed the highest standard of care. Property owners must take reasonable care of the property, promptly address any dangerous conditions, or warn the guest that the dangerous conditions exist.
  • Licensee: These people enter the property for some business purpose. The property owner is liable only if the owner wilfully or wantonly injures the guest.
  • Trespasser: These people come on to the property without permission of the owner. Property owners are not generally liable to trespassers for the injuries sustained on the property, unless there was some trap on the property or the trespasser was a child.
  • Attractive Nuisance: An attractive nuisance is a feature of the property that is likely to tempt a child to trespass on the property. Common examples include pools, spas, or heavy machinery.

Practice Area Notes

Like accidents and injuries attorneys, premises liability attorneys generally fall into two types: plaintiffs’ attorneys and defense attorneys. Plaintiffs’ attorneys usually practice in small law firms and get paid through contingency fees, that is, they take a percentage of any damages award or settlement.

Defense attorneys often get paid an hourly fee and get hired through a homeowners’ or general liability insurance policy as part of the policy holder’s benefit.

Related Practice Areas

  • Accidents and Injuries: Premises Liability is a kind of Accidents and Injuries Law.
  • Litigation: Many premises liability claims end up in the court room.
  • Property Law: Owners of real estate must take care that their property is reasonably free of hazards.
  • Insurance Law: Homeowner’s insurance or general liability insurance may cover a guest’s injuries.

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