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What is “Premises Liability?”

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When property owners fail to provide a safe environment for guests, customers, workers, or tenants, they may be guilty of premises liability. Property owners have a duty to properly maintain the property, prevent unsafe conditions, and warn visitors of potential dangers. Failure to do so constitutes negligence within the context of personal injury law. If you have been injured as a result of a public or private property owner’s negligence, you may have grounds for a premises liability claim.

Wet floor signs are often used in public places to warn people about the danger of slipping, which typically eliminates the property owner’s liability in the case of an injury. Such “slip-and-fall” cases are commonly seen under the classification of premises liability alongside snow and ice accidents, dog bites, and injuries resulting from inadequate building security. Other possible scenarios could include broken floors in your apartment building, a faulty elevator in your office building, or toxic chemicals at your work site that result in an injury or illness.

A premises liability case is comprised of certain essential elements. If you are injured because of an unsafe condition on property, you must first prove that you were on the property lawfully—perhaps because you rent an apartment there, you work there, or you were invited—or, if you were trespassing unlawfully, that the owner knew you were present at the time. If you are a courier or a client of a business, you may have had implied permission to enter the property. You then have to show that the owner was negligent with respect to the property, meaning the owner knew or should have known about the unsafe condition, then failed to repair it properly, cordon off the affected area, or adequately warn visitors about the condition. If you can prove that this negligence led to your injury, then you are likely to find some legal recourse for your troubles.

Generally speaking, property owners owe you a duty of care unless you are trespassing without their knowledge. An owner is not liable for any injury you sustain in that case. If the owner sees you trespassing and allows you to stay on the property, it is as though you were invited as a guest, and any subsequent injury could be the owner’s fault. Another exception requires that property owners exercise reasonable care towards children, even unknown trespassers, and remove any foreseeable risk of harm. If a homeowner has a swimming pool in the back yard, for instance, the owner should fence the pool to protect neighboring children from harm.

When you make a premises liability claim, you may be entitled to damages. The amount is usually proportional to the extent of your injuries, and it could include medical bills, prescription medications, and physical therapy, as well as wages you lost if your injury prevented you from immediately returning to work. The court may also consider mental and emotional impact while calculating your damages.

You have every right to hold a property owner accountable for negligence. When you consider the multiple areas of your life that can be affected by an injury, don’t be afraid to enter legal proceedings—especially with an accomplished attorney at your side. Remember to act before the statute of limitations, or the time limit to file a claim, expires.

If you were injured by a dangerous condition on someone else’s property, make sure you notify the property owner as soon as possible, get the medical attention you need, and document everything as thoroughly as possible. The Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe can offer you the specialized knowledge you need to argue the finer points of your personal injury case. Our premises liability lawyers have a long history of helping personal injury victims get the compensation they deserve.

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