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Understanding your rights under premises liability law

Posted by attorney Lisa Lanier

Injury accidents are not always as accidental as they may seem. In fact some slip and fall injuries that occur on the grounds of another person’s property are less an incident of accident and more a result of inadequate premises maintenance. As such, these are situations that could call for a legal suit on the grounds of premises liability.

Under legal conditions stipulated by state and federal laws, occupiers of land and owners of property are responsible for the actions that happen on their property. When an accident such as a slip and fall or trip and fall takes place on any legal property, there is great potential for the victim(s) involved to claim premises liability and hold the property owner legally responsible.

From public sidewalks, to retail stores, to government owned buildings, and everything in between, there are virtually no grounds that are exempt from the legal responsibilities expected of owners when it comes to maintaining safe conditions for the visitors of these places. In general, the nature of the accident and the severity of the injury will both be assessed when claims of premises liability are made within a ruling court system. In order to determine the outcome of the case, it will need to be established how serious the injury is and how the conditions of the property played in to creating the injury from which a victim is now suffering.

Different states will handle legal matters of this nature in different ways. Some states throughout the U.S. pay close attention to the conditions of a property and the nature of the activities at hand when the accident originally occurred. In these states, a standard practice of care is established that is expected to be abided by both invitees and licensees of the property. This is considered to be a uniform standard of care that requires owners to routinely inspect their property for potential hazards that could endanger those who enter. Conditions to be looked for include uneven gravel, burnt out lights, leaking pipes, and much more. In essence, any circumstance that could potentially cause harm to someone who steps foot on the premises of landowner will be probable cause for a liability claim.

Certain distinctions can also be made regarding whether or not an injury was incurred on a property in which injury was caused to a trespassers. In general, it is assumed that landowners need not give any warning signs of potential hazards within their grounds if the person entering was uninvited. However, exceptions are made for those who own land which is easily accessible and frequently entered by other people. In these cases, man-made or artificial conditions that were created and put in place by a landowner who knows that injury or death could result are ones that need to be publicly displayed and warned against. Failure to do so could lead to serious injury for an unsuspecting trespasser. Under such conditions, it is not unreasonable to make a premises liability claim.

No matter what the specific circumstances of your injury accident may be, if the incident took place onsite another’s property then you are likely eligible to seek legal damages. Property owners are responsible for ensuring that their premises are properly maintained in order to ensure that safety is provided to all who enter. When a slip and fall accident or any other type of injury occurs while on the grounds of another ‘s property, it is not unreasonable to consider the option of filing a personal injury claim and citing premises liability as the cause of the accident.

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