Do You Have a Premises Liability Case or Not?
All property owners and lessors (those who lease their property to another) have the duty to keep their property (premises) in a reasonably safe condition, and to warn people who come on their property of potential hazards. If they fail to do so, and you have been injured as a result, you can make a premises liability claim. However, it is a common misconception that a property owner is automatically responsible for every accident that happens on their premises. This is simply not true. In fact, the duty to protect other is on somewhat of a sliding scale depending on weather the injured person is a business invitee, a permittee or a trespasser on the property. The highest duty is owed to a business invitee (which is the person who is invited on the property to do business…. in essence a customer. The scale (and the duty) slides downward for a permittee (which is the person allowed on the property for another reason). Finally, the scale (and the duty) slide even further downward for a trespasser (which is the person who should not be on the property at all). So depending on why you are on the property, the property owner will have some sort of duty to keep you safe or to warn you of a hazard. In order to have a successful premises liability claim for a slip and fall, you will have to prove that the property owner breached the duty. This is especially difficult if you got hurt because of a transitory substance, like liquid on the floor. In those cases, you will have to prove that the premises owner knew the substance was on the floor and failed to clean it up, or that the substance was on the floor for so long that she or he should have known of its presence and removed it, or that the danger was forseeable due to other similar previous accidents. You will also have to prove that the breach of duty, and the resulting accident, caused your injuries. This is not an easy task. In fact, trip and fall and slip and fall cases can be so challenging that many personal injury lawyers won’t even take them on. These types of cases require the expertise of a well trained trial lawyer.