Premises liability refers to the liability of landowners or landlords or occupiers of land for injuries that occur on their property. Examples include someone falling through a rotten deck, someone getting electrocuted from faulty wiring/electrical system, someone slipping on a liquid spill at a store that the store failed to clean up, someone falling into a hole that was difficult to see, a child being injured in a fall from a window that was not properly guarded, or someone falling from an elevated platform that did not have proper guardrails. A property owner can also be liable for inadequate security or lighting, such as an assault occurring in a parking lot that did not have adequate lighting at night.
The legal rules that apply in premises liability cases can vary depending on the injured person’s status on the property. The owner of the premises is liable for injuries caused when they knew of an unsafe condition or failed to exercise ordinary care to discover the unsafe condition, and that they should have realized that this unsafe condition involves an unreasonable risk to harm others.
The duty of care may include removing the hazardous condition, safeguarding the hazardous condition, or at least warning of the hazardous condition. A grocery store, hardware store or other business establishment has a duty to keep its premises reasonably free of physically dangerous conditions, like produce on the floor, falling merchandise, tripping conditions, or even electrical explosions from a faulty machine etc.
Our tort system, which involves bringing civil lawsuits for people injured by the fault of others, has two primary goals. The first is to change the conduct of people, corporations and government to make our world safer. By holding parties at fault for the injury and damages they cause, we make people act safer. By holding people at fault accountable for their action, we seek to change their actions in the future. By having a system under which people know they will be held liable if they negligently harm another, we all act safer for the betterment of society. The injured person may also be partially at fault and responsible and the law takes this into account. The second goal is to compensate the injured person for the harm they have suffered
Society becomes safer and better for what we do for our clients. The risk of injuring others and being held liable for that harm assures that we keep our land and premises free of dangers for the safety of all.