Do you know about premises liability law? If not, then this article is for you.
Whether you’re a private property owner or frequently visit your friends’ homes and acquaintances, it pays to know the law regarding injuries.
In this article, we look at what you can do to ensure your home is safe for residents and visitors, and if you’re injured on private property, which could also be a commercial premise like a store or office, you will know what to do next.
Early on, it’s important to know we’re looking at premises liability law in the USA. Other countries have their own way of dealing with injuries on private property.
It’s fair to say homeowners might think that if a property is private, they have complete control over how it is used and maintained. Well, when it comes to life and the protection of it, premises liability law requires private property owners to keep their properties safe for anyone that comes visiting, so this also includes unwanted guests like intruders.
Don’t be shocked that anyone on your property, if injured, can take the matter further, including going to court. For example, see this case Katko v. Briney. It is an extreme case of intent to cause injury, as noted in Wikipedia.
To defend the house against further intruders and theft, Edward Briney mounted a 20-gauge spring-loaded shotgun in the farmhouse and rigged it to fire when anyone opened the north bedroom door.
Even if there is no intent to cause injury if you are injured on someone else’s property, the owner may be accountable for the damage done to you, so you may be entitled to file a compensation claim.
This is where it pays not to assume either way and contact a liability lawyer with experience in handling accidents on private property.
Questions and Answers
Let’s delve into some common questions about private property injury claims.
What counts as private property?
Simply put, private property is any portion of land that the owner has exclusive rights to use. Therefore, who actually owns the property title, e.g. an individual, company, or organization, is not relevant.
In some circumstances, even tenants of a privately owned property can be considered to have the same obligations as a private property owner, even if they are not the landowner.
Common examples of private properties include homes, offices, private car parks, shops, or even schools.
The right to file a compensation claim against the property’s owner will be heavily influenced by the circumstances of the accident that resulted in your injuries.
What are the duties of a property owner?
If they happen on private property, accidents such as a slip and fall, drowning, criminal assault, or dog bite may give the victim grounds to file a personal injury claim against the lawyer. Your ability to sue is contingent on your position as a visitor on the site.
If the visitor is a trespasser, in most cases, the owner does not have any duty to keep the premises safe for them. However, for everyone else, including guests, the owner is responsible for keeping the premises hazard-free or put up hazard signs, fencing etc.
How do I know I am eligible for a claim?
Being injured on private property is not enough to file a liability claim. You will also need to prove the owner is responsible for causing or not preventing the accident, which is where a lawyer can help.
Negligence & Duty of Care
To qualify as negligence, the accident needs to meet the following criteria:
First, the owner owes the victim a duty of care
The premises owner will owe a duty of care to anyone they can reasonably expect to enter the property.
For example, you owe all your guests a duty of care, while a supermarket owner owes their customers the same duty.
The owner breached the duty of care
This occurs when a person fails to take reasonable precautions to ensure the safety and well-being of individuals to whom they owe a duty of care.
A breach will occur when supermarkets stray from acceptable practices, such as failing to signal wet floors or clean spillage.
You suffered a physical, material, or mental loss
If the losses you suffered happened due to the owner breaching duty of care, you may be entitled to compensation.
Keep your property safe to avoid unnecessary injuries to persons. If you are personally injured while visiting a private property, seek to understand what you can do within the law when seeking a remedy.