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What is premises liability and what can you do if injured on someone’s property?

If you’ve been injured on someone else’s property due to their negligence in maintaining a safe environment, you may have a claim against the property owner’s premises liability insurance.

What is premises liability?

Property owners (or non-owner property users) are, by law, responsible for maintaining the safety of the property or premises so that no one gets hurt due to a dangerous or defective condition. This responsibility is known as “premises liability.” If someone does suffer an injury on the property, the victim can file a personal injury claim against the owner which is covered under the owner’s homeowners or premises liability insurance.

The potential for a negligent premise condition can exist in just about any type of space. Accidents can range from slip and falls in swimming pool areas and poorly maintained parking lots, to dog bites and construction site negligence.

What are the owners’ safety responsibilities?

Property owners have a legal duty to use reasonable care to keep the premises safe, but they are not the only ones that can be held responsible should an accident occur. Others who may also be responsible for premises safety can include property managers, store owners and contractors using or working on the property. All must act in a manner to prevent foreseeable injuries and all are legally bound to inspect the property for any unsafe conditions. If they find any, they have to take measures to remedy them in a timely manner.

What constitutes negligence?

Just because someone may get injured on the property doesn’t mean that the owner is automatically responsible. It depends on the circumstances. A victim has to prove there was actual negligence on the owner’s part and that this negligence was a cause of the accident and injuries. 

Proving negligence centers on how the injury occurred and whether the owner failed to keep the property in a reasonably safe condition. It is also required that the owner knew, or should have known, about the unsafe condition. If an owner was not aware of the dangerous condition and could not have known, or didn’t have adequate time to correct it, they may not be legally responsible.

In addition, if a visitor on a property acts irresponsibly, the owner may not be legally responsible. For example, if a visitor throws someone in a pool who receives a head injury, the pool owner may not be negligent but the person committing the negligent act may be.

Duty of care

Many states, including New York, have a principle known as “duty of care.” Duty of care is a gauge by which to measure how responsible a property owner is for a victim’s injuries.  For example, a retail store has a high degree of responsibility to the safety of its patrons whereas a trespasser may not be owed the same degree of protection. Nonetheless, if a trespasser can prove he was injured by a dangerous condition of the property which the owner was aware of, and it was foreseeable that people would trespass,  a trespasser may be able to recover damages. Injured trespassing children are usually given much more consideration in a personal injury case.

If you are the victim of premise accident caused by the carelessness or negligence of a property owner, please give us a call. As New York premises liability attorneys, we know the law and are experienced in dealing with such accidents. We would like to help you in any way possible.

If you have any questions about this article or any other questions related to personal injury law, please call us toll free at 1-800-LAW-1333. Our personal injury consultations are always free.

The content of this blog was prepared by Alexander & Associates Attorneys at Law for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to solicit business or provide legal advice. Laws differ by jurisdiction, and the information in this blog may not apply to you. You should seek the assistance of an attorney licensed to practice in your state before taking any action. Using this blog site does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Alexander & Associates Attorneys at Law. Client relationships can only be created by written contract.

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"Alexander and Associates did a great job for us! Peter Addonizio handled my car accident matter. He was very helpful and thorough. I was very happy with the services and the outcome. Thank you! I would highly recommend them."
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