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Charpentier Law Firm, P.A.

Does Premises Liability Apply on Private Property?

By Steve Charpentier on August 01, 2015

Man with crutches and a neck braceIf you trip over an unsafe walkway in a public shopping center, a negligent owner or property manager may be at fault. However, if you are injured in someone’s home or other private property, you may wonder if you have legal recourse. Property owners are responsible for the safety of anyone who comes onto their property. Therefore, if you suffered serious injury because of an owner’s negligence, you may have a viable premises liability case. However, this branch of law can be quite complex. You must meet certain requirements to have a case that will stand up in court. At Charpentier Law Firm, our attorneys are familiar with this area of law. They will carefully determine the viability of your case. To learn more about premises liability and private property, contact our Melbourne practice today.

Requirements for a Viable Case

There are several requirements for a valid premises liability case. First, you must have a legal right to be on the property in the first place. A property owner is responsible for the safety of any invited guest or worker. In some cases, trespassers and uninvited individuals may be eligible to wage a lawsuit. For example, children are almost always eligible for legal protection. Since minors often do not understand property laws, adults are responsible for maintaining or enclosing their grounds.  Even adult trespassers may qualify for compensation. They may have a legal claim if an owner willfully set a trap on the property.

Second, a property owner must display blatant disregard for the injured party’s safety. For example, if you lost your balance walking up a steep driveway, the homeowner is probably not responsible. However, if you tripped over a dilapidated front step, you may have a valid case.

Finally, a property owner must have had reasonable knowledge that an injury could occur. This generally involves an element of time. A property owner must have enough warning to identify a problem and resolve it. However, failure to recognize a hazard can often be grounds for a lawsuit. For example, say the property owner leaves a window open during an afternoon rainstorm. Then you slip during a dinner party, sustaining serious injury. This may be a valid legal claim. The property owner knowingly left the window open and had hours in which to wipe up the water.

Types of Premises Liability

Premise liability cases are sometimes referred to as “slip and fall” cases. However, there are a number of ways that a property owner’s negligence can lead to serious injuries. Types of private property premises liability include:

  • Wet or slippery floors
  • Hidden electrical cords that pose a tripping hazard
  • Uneven or cracked walkways
  • Dangerous thresholds or steps
  • Dog bites
  • Insufficient lighting
  • Failure to enclose a private swimming pool
  • Keeping dangerous or improperly maintained machinery that may be enticing to children

Contact Us for a Case Evaluation

Determining your case liability can be complicated. Fortunately, our experienced attorneys are ready to investigate your accident. Then they will fight for the compensation you deserve. Contact us today to find out if you have a viable claim.

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