Blog of William C. McCaskill
What Are Premises Liability Laws?
Posted on June 25, 2017
If you are injured on the property of another and are wondering whether or not you can file a claim against the property owner for damages, it will be important to understand the premises liability laws in your state. Simply put, premises liability laws address landowner liability for torts that occur on their property. Here’s what you need to know:
Property Owners Have a Duty to Ensure Their Properties Are Safe for Use
Generally, property owners have a duty to ensure that their properties are safe for use. This means correcting defects on the property in a reasonable amount of time. For example, if a stair is broken on a property, and the property owner knows (or should know) about the defect, they have a duty to fix it, lest someone get injured.
In most states, this duty extends to all those who enter the property lawfully. Trespassers, on the other hand, are not protected; the only duty that a property owner generally has to a trespasser is to refrain from willful or wanton harm.
Property Owners Can Be Held Liable for Injuries Caused by Uncorrected Defects
When a defect exists on a property, and the property owner fails to correct in a reasonable amount of time, the property owner can be held liable for any injuries caused as a result of that defect. In order to win a premises liability claim against a property owner, the injured party must prove that:
- A hazard existed on a property;
- The property owner knew or should have known about the hazardous condition;
- The property owner failed to correct it in a reasonable amount of time or failed to warn of the condition; and
- The hazard was the direct cause of the plaintiff’s injury.
One of the most difficult aspects of a premises liability claim is proving that the property owner knew of a hazardous condition. Another complicated area is proving that more than a “reasonable” amount of time had elapsed without corrections being made.
Working with a Premises Liability Lawyer
If you are injured on the property of another, working with an experienced premises liability lawyer is advised. Not only will your attorney explain the laws related to your case in more detail, but your attorney will also assist you in gathering evidence to prove your claim and recover damages. For a free consultation, contact our law firm today.