Premises liability is a legal term associated with the liability of a property or business owner when an accident or injury is sustained on the property. Residents and apartment tenants may also be held liable even if they are not the owners or proprietors of the property. Premises liability is a general term that encompasses several other subsets of personal injury such as slip-and-fall accidents and dog bite incidents.
During the majority of premises liability cases, liability is determined by examining a number of key factors in the case. State laws on premises liability have a large influence on whether the property or business owner is held liable when a person becomes injured, sick or otherwise experiences harm while on the property. Premises liability laws state that one – whether a friend, family member, stranger or customer – enters a property, it is reasonable for he or she to expect not to get injured.
For example, if a mailman is delivering mail to one’s house, it is reasonable for the mailman to assume that he will not be injured or harmed during his time on the property. If that same mailman slips on an icy surface as a result of the property owner not shoveling or properly de-icing the sidewalk, the property owner may be held liable for any injuries sustained.
Another example is a home contractor performing work on one’s property who is bit by the family dog. The property owner may also be held liable in this case.
One large caveat is the state of the victim when he or she enters the property. If, for example, the personal injury victim is under the influence of drugs or alcohol when he or she enters the premises, he or she may not be eligible to receive compensation from the case. The same goes for trespassers – if a person is trespassing unexpectedly on a property, there is no guarantee that reasonable care has been taken to ensure the safety of the trespasser. However, in some cases, if a property owner becomes aware of the presence of a trespasser, he or she may typically needs to exercise the same level of care as they would for an invited guest.
Other parties involved in premises liability are the invitee, social guest and licensee. As the name implies, the invitee is welcomed onto the property by the owner, either at a residence or a business. A home contractor or handyman are common examples of invitees. Similarly, a social guest, such as a friend or acquaintance is a guest who is invited onto the property by the property owner. A licensee has no contractual obligation to be on the premises, but is invited in some way by the property owner to step foot on the grounds.
In some instances, both parties may be at fault. For example, it may be found that the victim was 50% responsible for the injuries sustained, in which case the compensation from the property owner may be reduced.
Need a consultation for your premises liability case?
Premises liability cases are not always “open and shut.” Very often, there are many moving parts, which requires an in-depth examination of all of the details involved in the case. Attorney Wayne Resmini has several years of experience handling premises liability cases for both personal injury victims and property owners. If you are involved in a premises liability case in and around the Providence area, and need reliable legal advice to protect your rights or seek compensation, request a free consultation from Attorney Resmini today.