What Constitutes a Premise Liability? Can I Sue?

Owning a property comes with a lot of responsibilities, and one of the most important of these is to use reasonable care to make sure that the property is safe for those who enter it.  When an owner is aware of a danger or hazard on their property and fails to take action to protect visitors from getting hurt, they can be sued on the basis of premises liability.


Premises Liability Examples


There are a number of different examples of situations that are representative of premises liability. The first that comes to mind is generally a slip and fall accident, but there are many other instances that can apply, including:


  • Snow and ice accidents
  • Inadequate building security leading to injury or assault
  • Defective conditions in the property
  • Inadequate maintenance of the property
  • Elevator and escalator accidents
  • Dog bites
  • Swimming pool accidents
  • Toxic fumes or chemical exposure
  • Water leaks or flooding
  • Fire
  • Amusement park accidents


Not every accident or injury that occurs on somebody’s property is automatically a case of premises liability. There is generally a requirement that the property owner be proven negligent, and this usually means that they either knew about the existence of the hazard or should have known about it and did not act to correct it. It is this failure that constitutes negligence.


Duty of Care


Every property owner has a certain level of responsibility for maintaining safe premises, but there are different duties of care depending upon who it is that is on the property.  In most premises liability injury cases, the status of the person who was injured is integral to determining the level of liability. There are three different statuses considered:


  • Invitees – people who have express or implied permission to be there. This could be a guest of any kind, including a customer entering a business.
  • Licensees — people who have express or implied permission to be there for a purpose that benefits themselves, such as a salesman.
  • Trespassers — people who do not have permission to be there.


A property owner has the highest duty of care to invitees, and is expected to keep their premises safe at all times on their behalf. For licensees the threshold of responsibility is lower. The property owner is generally required to alert them to the presence of a dangerous condition if they are aware of it. A property owner rarely has a duty to somebody who has no permission to be on their property unless that person is a child. In the case of children who trespass, the property owner is expected to understand the foreseeable risk and take action to prevent them from being hurt. This is one of the primary reasons that people who own pools erect large fences.


If you have been injured on somebody else’s property as a result of their negligence in keeping their premises safe, you may be entitled to compensation for the damages that you’ve suffered. Contact Wallace Law today to set up a free consultation to discuss your situation and investigate the options that are available.

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