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Premises Liability
More than likely, you’ve entered a building after it has rained, and have seen wet floor caution signs placed near the entrance or stairs. This is not coincidence; property owners, managers, and tenants have a duty to provide a safe environment for those who enter their property.

Premises liability refers a body of law governing the responsibility of a property owner for injuries that occur due to unsafe conditions on his or her property, such as a customer slipping and falling due to wet floors.

Premises liability covers a multitude of properties, both public and private, including:

  • Shopping malls
  • Sports arenas
  • Grocery stores
  • Office buildings
  • Hotels
  • Movie theatres
  • Restaurants and bars
  • Nightclubs
  • Parking garages

These public spaces serve the general public, therefore imposing a duty to keep all patrons safe. A routine shopping trip could result in a serious accident for vulnerable individuals such as an elderly patron that slips and falls. Property owners, managers, and occupants are legally required to alert patrons to any dangers while they are actively working to remedy them.

Potential Property Dangers

Public and private properties are required to post signage or utilize other measures to indicate the risk is present. Property issues that can pose risks to visitors include:

  • Broken windows or glass on the ground
  • Wet floors
  • Debris
  • Broken guardrails
  • Non-existent or poor lighting in stairwells
  • Broken escalators
  • Wet floors or spills on floors
  • Broken tiles or flooring
  • Lack of enclosures around pool areas

While these problems may seem small and routine, the potential for injury or even death is present. Failure to complete maintenance in a timely manner or failure to inform patrons who may come into contact with these hazards could result in slip and fall accidents, swimming pool accidents, drowning, dog attacks, and more.

Types of Visitors

Under the legal theory of premises liability, a visitor to a property could fall into one of three categories:

Invitee

If one is expressly invited to a property, then they are an invitee. The property owner has a duty to provide a safe environment for the duration of their stay.

Licensee

If a visitor enters the property for his or her own purposes with the owner’s consent, the visitor is a licensee. The owner is required to warn of any potential dangers – such as wet floors – but is not legally required to fix them.

Trespasser

A visitor without permission to be on a property is a trespasser. The property owner owes no duty of care to a trespasser.

Premises Liability Attorneys

Given the nature of premises liability claims, each individual case is unique and requires the attention and direction of a seasoned attorney like John Flood who is equipped to advocate for victims’ rights. No patron should have to endure pain and suffering due to the negligence of a property owner. Property owners, managers, and occupants who welcome visitors have a responsibility to keep patrons safe. If you or a loved one were injured on another’s property, contact us to find out more about how we can help.

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