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What Does Premises Liability Mean?


Premises liability refers to the legal responsibility of building or grounds owners to ensure that the premises are safe for the public and private guests. Premises liability laws govern the circumstances under which a premises owner would be held responsible for an injury that occurs on the premises that they own. A premises liability lawsuit will arise when a person who has been injured on another person’s property brings a claim seeking compensation for that injury.

Who Can Be Held Responsible For A Premises Liability Claim?

Whether a property owner invites a guest into their house or invites customers into their store, they can be held responsible for a premises liability claim if it is determined that an injury was sustained as a result of unsafe conditions. A person or commercial business that rents and is in control of premises may also be held responsible for a premises liability claim. An attorney who specializes in premises liability cases will be able to determine who should be held responsible for an injury.

Should I Sue The Owner, The Landlord Or The Tenant?

In a premises liability claim, the person who was responsible for ensuring the safety of the premises should be sued. In some cases, this means that the owner or landlord of the premises will be sued, while in other cases it means that the renter of the premises will be sued. For example, if someone were to sustain an injury while walking up a stairwell outside of an apartment building, then the landlord of the apartment building would be held responsible. On the other hand, if someone were to sustain an injury inside of an apartment due to clutter or otherwise unsafe conditions, then the renter of that apartment unit would be held responsible.

Can I Sue Someone If I Was On Their Property Without Permission?

If a person sustains an injury while trespassing on someone’s property, then they may still be able to file a premises liability claim if it can be shown that the property owners were aware of serious dangers on the property and failed to warn the trespasser. In addition, property owners are not allowed to set traps or create hazards in an attempt to prevent trespassing.

How Is Negligence Determined?

A person has a duty to ensure and maintain a reasonable level of safety on any premises that they rent or own. If an unsafe condition is identified, then that person has a duty to correct it. Failing to take those actions and inviting guests onto the premises would be considered negligence.

Should I Ever Sue A Friend?

Unfortunately, people often sustain injuries while they are on premises owned by their friends. While many people want to avoid filing a premises liability claim against their friends, they would be doing themselves a disservice by assuming the medical bills associated with their injury. In addition, the claim would not be filed directly against the owner of the house, but against the company that provides homeowner’s insurance to the owner of the house. This means that failing to file a premises liability claim when one is warranted would only save money for the insurance company.

What Types Of Damages Can I Obtain In A Premises Liability Claim?

The damages that can be obtained in a premises liability claim include payment for medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering and emotional distress. If an injury results in death, then the decedent’s surviving family members would be able to file a wrongful death claim.

What If I Am Partially At Fault For My Injuries?

In some cases, the person who sustains an injury is deemed partially at fault for the injury. However, this would not disqualify them from seeking compensation for at least a portion of the damages that the property owner was responsible for.

Should I Settle My Case With The Insurer?

Whether or not a person should settle their case with an insurer will depend on the circumstances of the particular case. In exchange for promising not to sue, a person will be offered a lump sum of money from the insurance company as compensation for the injuries sustained. Once someone accepts a settlement and forfeits their right to make future claims by signing a contract, there is no way to reverse that decision. This is one reason why it is important for people to obtain a lawyer who can advise them on the best decision to make.

Do I Really Need A Lawyer?

In premises liability cases, it is very common for the defendant—whether they are the owner of an establishment or private property— to have a lawyer on their side. In order to level the playing field, it’s important for a plaintiff to have a lawyer as well. Don’t hesitate to call us today to set up a free consultation.

For more information on Premises Liability Claims In California, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (760) 837-1884 today.

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