Sometimes, accidents happen and you get hurt on another person's property. This can occur at a friend's house, at an establishment, or even while away on vacation. These times are supposed to be enjoyable and the last thing you want to deal with is an injury.
On occasion, accidents could have been preventable and you would not have to be dealing with unnecessary injuries if certain precautions had been taken. In the event of potentially preventable accidents, an individual should be able to recover the damages necessary to recuperate unnecessary losses resulting from his or her injuries.
What is Premises Liability?
Premises Liability is a legal concept that arises from a personal injury occurring on someone else's property. Property is a very broad term which can include both public and private locations.
In cases of premises liability, an individual will bring forth a cause of action against the owner(s) of the premises at which he or she was injured. Typically, the cause of action will claim that the individual was injured as a result of a dangerous or defective condition on the property.
Standard of Care
Property owners have a legal liability to protect individuals who come onto their property from injury. The extent of a property owner's legal liability will vary depending upon what kind of guest the individual can be considered.
Invitees are individuals who are invited onto a property for a purpose. Invitees can come onto the property for either a public purpose (such as with a park) or for business purposes (such as whenever a customer comes into a store to shop). In the case of invitees, owners have a duty to correct or warn of dangers of which he or she should be reasonably aware. This is often considered the highest duty of care1 that a property owner must have for individuals entering his or her property.
Licensees are considered “social guests” and come onto a property after the owner has allowed the individual to enter. They are not necessarily viewed as guests but are instead allowed to lawfully enter the property. Licensees typically receive an “intermediate” level of care -- it is not as strict as for invitees but greater than the duty of care extended to trespassers (discussed below). Generally, a property owner can be held liable for a licensee's injuries if he or she does not safeguard a known and unreasonable risk of harm of which the licensee could not have been expected to be aware of prior to his or her injury.
Trespassers are those individuals who enter another's property without invitation or permission. Property owners owe trespassers a very low duty of care. However, a property owner must not allow for the existence of ultrahazardous conditions such as traps.
It should first be established what type of guest the injured party is to be considered. This will raise or lower the duty of care the owner owes. A property owner should be aware of those unsafe conditions that should be reasonably known. The property owner should also take steps to safeguard against potential injuries that can be caused by these unsafe conditions. If unsafe conditions exist, the property owner should always provide notice to invitees.
A victim who sustains injuries may be able to recover damages2 from the property's owner. The extent of damages will depend on upon the relationship between the owner and the victim. If the property owner has breached his or her duty to the victim, the victim will be entitled to recovery of damages. Those damages may include:
- Medical Expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Lost Wages
- Wrongful Death
- Punitive Damages
Of course, in order to recover damages, the victim will need to establish that he or she deserved a duty of care and that duty of care was not met by the property owner; that owner's breach of duty of care did cause the injuries sustained by the victim; and that the victim has been damaged as a result. This will require the victim to present valuable evidence. It is recommended that victims seeking to bring forth a claim under a theory of premises liability do so with the help and advice of a premises liability attorney.
Contact a St. Petersburg Premises Liability Attorney to Discuss Your Personal Injury Case Today
If you have been injured while on another's property, you may be legally entitled to recover damages for those expenses incurred as a result of your injuries. It is important that you seek skilled and experienced attorneys to help you navigate the complexities of litigation. The legal team at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA in St. Petersburg has the experience necessary to help you recover damages. Call us today at 727-222-6922 for a free consultation.DOLMAN LAW GROUP – ST. PETERSBURG OFFICE