Property 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 and damages.
Example of Premises Liability
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 people who enter the property legally for some business or other legitimate purpose, 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 are the social guests of the property owner. The property owner is liable only if the owner willfully or wantonly injures the guest.
- Trespasser: These people come onto 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 or willfully hidden danger 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.
Premises Liability for Plaintiffs
Like accidents and injuries attorneys, premises liability attorneys generally fall into two types: plaintiffs' attorneys and defense attorneys. Plaintiffs' attorneys represent injury victims after an accident caused on someone else's property. Plaintiffs' attorneys usually practice in small law firms and get paid on a contingency basis, meaning they take a percentage of any damages award or settlement.
Defense attorneys are often paid an hourly fee and get hired through a homeowners' or general liability insurance policy as part of the policy holder's benefits.
Related Practice Areas
Finding a Lawyer After a Premises Injury
If you were injured because of broken stairs, an icy walkway, or other dangerous conditions on someone's property, you may have a claim for a premises liability lawsuit. Speak with an experienced personal injury attorney to get compensation for your injuries and protect your rights.