Injury accidents that occur as a result of defective or dangerous conditions on commercial premises, a private residence or on public property are called premise liability accidents. The types of accidents we often associate with premise liability are slips or trips and falls. However, premise liability covers a broad range of injury accidents. It may be that you were a victim of assault or theft because no security provisions were in place in a parking garage. It could also be that your injury resulted from poorly maintained or defective equipment such as an elevator or escalator. Premises can be dangerous for all types of reasons such as faulty design, shoddy construction or materials, and poor maintenance. Regardless of where and how an accident takes place, the owner or occupier may be held responsible if they did not protect a visitor from unreasonable risk.
There are many questions to consider in order to determine if a landowner or occupant exercised reasonable care for the protection of a lawful visitor. Among them are questions regarding the foreseeability of possible harm and what actions were taken. Did the owner know of the risk or should they have known? Did the owner or occupier exercise reasonble care in inspection, repair or warning to safegaurd the premise? Was it too burdensome for the owner, occupier or community in terms of inconvenience or cost to provide such protections? The answer to these questions may point to premise liability, resulting from an owner’s (or occupant’s) failure to act responsibly.
After evaluating the conditions at the premise, the attention will shift from the owner or operator of the property to the role of the visitor. What was the visitor’s purpose for coming to the premise and what were the circumstances surrounding the accident? What was the use of the premise versus the expected use? Did the visitor use the premise normally? Responsibility for an injury accident or wrongful death boils down to an owner’s duty to keep the property safe against the visitor’s duty to use the property normally. If a visitor is using the premise in a normal way and has an accident caused by dangerous factors controlled by the owner/occupier, that may be a case for premise liability. However, if the visitor gets injured while acting in an unexpected, unauthorized, or careless way, the responsibility may reside with the visitor.
If you or a family member has been injured in an accident while visiting a commercial property, private residence, or public property contact the personal injury Law Offices of McDonald, Woodward & Carlson PC for help. With 70 years of combined experience, we will fight for your rights when you are injured through the negligence of others.