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Premises liability is a legal concept that describes a personal injury case where a person was hurt due to an unsafe or defective condition on someone else’s property. For example, if you were walking up the staircase on someone’s house and there was a hole in a stair, causing you to fall and get injured, that has the potential to be considered a premises liability case. Alternatively, if you were riding your bike on the street, and the sidewalk was uneven, and this caused you to fall off your bike and get hurt, that could also potentially be considered premises liability.
Three Important Things to Know About Premises Liability
1. If you were injured while lawfully on another person’s property, it is possible that the owner of the property may be liable for negligence. In order to prove that the property owner was negligent, you must first show that you were on the property lawfully. Next, you must show that the property owner failed to keep their property safe or well maintained in order to prevent others from getting injured. For example, you need to show that the owner knew about the issue, like a broken step, and failed to fix it. Alternatively, you can show that if the owner did fix the step, they did not do so in a way that made it safe. Third, you need to show that due to the owner’s neglect and unsafe condition of their property, you sustained injuries.
2. It is important to show that you were lawfully on the other person’s property. People who are considered to be lawfully on another’s property include invitees and licensees.
An invitee is a person who was invited to the property owner’s premises for commercial or business reasons. For example, people who enter a restaurant to dine are considered invitees. If a person is invited to another person’s property, the property owner must make known the existing hazards on the property, if there are any, in order to prevent the invitee from getting hurt.
A licensee is a person who was on the property owner’s premises for reasons not having to do with business or commercial transactions. For example, people who go to someone’s house for a birthday celebration are considered to be licensees. In this case, the property owner might be responsible for negligence if there are conditions on the property that are hazardous, and the owner failed to let the invitees know about the potential dangers.
3. In some rare cases, a property owner may be liable for injuries that were caused by a trespasser. A trespasser is a person who was on another’s property without an invitation. The property owner may be liable for the injuries of a trespasser from the moment the owner knows that the trespasser is on their property. At that point, the owner must warn the trespasser about any harmful or hazardous conditions on the property. If the owner did not know that the person was on their property, they have no responsibility to alert the trespasser of any impending risks, and they may not be responsible for their injuries.
It is important to speak with a knowledgeable attorney to determine if your injuries were indeed due to someone else’s negligence. If so, you could be entitled to monetary benefits for your physical pain and emotional suffering. We have several years of experience with premises liability cases, and have obtained large settlements on behalf of many clients.
Please call The Law Offices of Jason B. Kessler at 914-220-1088 for a free evaluation of your case.