If you've been injured on another person's property, you may be eligible for compensation for your injuries from the property owner. However, to win a personal-injury case based on premises liability, you need to understand how premises liability works.
The following are three basic things to be aware of when seeking compensation for your injuries from a property owner.
Those who own property are responsible for keeping those who lawfully access their property safe.
Property owners are responsible for the safety of the buildings and grounds that they own. This is especially true in the case of commercial facilities where members of the public are encouraged to come and make purchases or do business.
However, premises liability laws do vary by state to a certain extent. In general, the relationship of the injured individual to the property in question will be important in determining liability. There are typically three different types of visitors: invitees, licensees, and trespassers.
The property owner's responsibility for injuries may be harder to prove if the injured individual was a trespasser. However, in the case of an injured child who may not understand the concept of trespassing, the property owner could still be held liable even though the injured individual technically trespassed.
Premises liability doesn't pertain to only slip-and-fall accidents.
It is a common misconception in premises liability law that property owners are only held liable for slip-and-fall accidents on their properties. However, this is not the case.
Property owners could also be held liable for injuries that occur because of dog attacks, swimming-pool hazards, escalator malfunctions, security breaches, and more.
In a personal-injury case where premises liability establishes the negligence of the defendant, proof of the defendant's ownership of the property and awareness of the hazard is required.
To win a personal-injury case based on premises liability, the plaintiff needs to prove several things to the court. First of all, it must be clearly proved that the defendant does in fact own the property where the accident took place. This can be established through public record. Property records are typically held at the county level detailing the ownership of all properties in a given county.
It also must be proved that there was a hazardous condition that resulted or persisted because of the property owner's negligence. This can be much more difficult to prove than merely proving ownership of the property in question.
When proving the property owner's negligence, photographic evidence is usually of vital importance. After an accident occurs, it's important to acquire photographs of the hazards to use as evidence in court. If this is not possible, plaintiffs can resort to witness testimony about the hazards that caused the accident and resulting injuries.
Talk to a personal-injury attorney for more information.