You are probably aware that property owners and occupiers have a legal duty to keep their premises reasonably safe for visitors. As such, you may be entitled to compensation if you suffer harm due to unsafe conditions at a property.
However, not all such cases qualify for a settlement. Here are some factors to consider if you are unsure of whether you have a legitimate premises liability claim.
Your status as a visitor and the duty of care
The law distinguishes between three types of visitors: invitees, licensees, and trespassers. Invitees are people with a contractual relationship with the property owner because they have been invited into the property for a lawful purpose. Licensees do not have a contractual relationship with the property owner but are permitted to be on the premises, while trespassers are people who enter the property without permission.
An example of an invitee would be a shopper at a grocery store, and a licensee would be someone who came in just to use the restroom. Property owners owe the highest duty of care to invitees, with the duty reduced for licensees and trespassers.
Knowledge of the risk
To be held liable for a premises liability claim, the property owner or occupier must have had knowledge of the hazardous condition. This knowledge can be either actual or constructive.
Actual knowledge means that the owner or occupier knew about the hazardous condition. Constructive knowledge means that the hazardous condition was present for a sufficient time that the owner or occupier should have known about it.
In some instances, visible warning signs of an existing risk to the safety of visitors can release a property owner from liability in case of an accident.
Lastly, you must show that the property’s hazardous condition was the proximate cause of your injuries. This means that your injuries must have resulted from the hazardous condition at the premises.
If you have been injured on someone else’s property and believe you may have a premises liability claim, seeking the necessary legal guidance is advisable. An informed assessment of the strength of your claim will help determine the best course of action.