If you suffer an injury on another person's property, you may want to prove premises liability so that you can hold the owner of the property responsible for your injury. In general, premises liability claims are more complicated than other claims you must prove the property owner harmed you though you did nothing wrong.
To prove premises liability, contact a premises liability lawyer to gather evidence and build your claim.
The Definition of Premises Liability
Premises liability refers to the fact that the owner or manager of a premise is liable to pay for injuries that impact someone legally and rightfully visiting their property. However, you can only prove liability if the owner or manager of the property knew of a serious hazard on the property and refused to warn the visitor it was there.
The three main categories of people who might suffer an injury on a property are:
An invitee is someone who receives an invitation from the owner or manager of the property. This could include private guests but more often refers to people like shoppers who go into a business at the express intent of the shop’s owner and/or manager.
Invitees should not have difficulty proving that they were owed a duty of care by the owner/manager of the property. Because they entered the property at the owner's request (explicitly or implicitly), the owner must warn them of any hazards. If they don't receive a warning, they may seek compensation.
A licensee is someone who enters a property for their purposes but who is not trespassing. For example, the law may consider a contractor, salesperson, or hunter a licensee. They have a license to enter the property even if the landowner didn't expressly invite them there.
Licensees have some protection in premises liability claims but may have difficulty seeking compensation. That is because they chose to enter the property independently rather than receiving an express invitation.
A trespasser is someone who enters a property without any legal or personal right to do so. An injured trespasser may not receive much if any, compensation for injuries they sustained on-premises. They were never allowed on the property in the first place.
How to Prove Premises Liability?
As in most personal injury claims, you as the victim will likely need to prove four main things to pursue a premises liability claim against a property owner.
- You must prove that the owner you want to sue owed you a duty of care. Generally, a duty of care is accepted as the regular care that any reasonable person should offer another in this case, by warning them of a danger to their life or health.
- You must prove that the owner breached their duty of care. To do this, you have to show that they knew of the danger on the property and should have taken the time and effort to warn you because they knew you would be nearby and susceptible to injury.
- You must prove that the owner's breach of care caused your accident. In other words, you have to show that you would not have had an accident if the owner adequately warned you of the hazard.
- You must show that the accident left you with injuries and other side effects that caused you distress. You can’t simply say that you had an accident; in most cases, you must prove that the accident led to serious harm.
If you can meet these four conditions and prove you deserve compensation from the premises owner, you will need evidence to help back up your claim.
Evidence in Premises Liability Claims
When you work with a personal injury lawyer, they will help you prove premises liability by gathering relevant and vital evidence related to the accident.
This evidence may include:
- Medical bills and records show how you were injured in the accident and how much you have had to pay in treatment costs because of those injuries.
- Any available photographic or video evidence from the scene of the accident.
- Eyewitness statements from anyone who saw the accident.
- Your own (preferably written) account of how your injuries have impacted your life and made things more painful and difficult for you.
- Letters from your employer regarding the time you took off work to recover.
- Documentation of lost wages.
In addition, your lawyers will work to gather proof that the responsible party on the premises knew of the danger you faced and chose not to tell you about it. They may find this evidence in photos or video footage, in the correspondence of the responsible party, or by various other means.
Who Is Responsible for Premises Liability Accidents?
Some of the most common parties you might hold responsible in a premises liability claim include:
- The manager of a store
- A landlord
- A tenant on a rented property
- The owner of a property or store
- An institution or government agency
In some situations, you may find it difficult to pinpoint precisely who you may hold responsible for your injury. If you don't know who to hold accountable, speak with a premises liability lawyer near you. Such a lawyer can figure out who to hold responsible for your situation.
Contact a Premises Liability Lawyer for Help
If you have been injured in a premises liability claim and want to seek rightful compensation for the injuries that someone else caused, you are not alone. Contact a premises liability lawyer to evaluate and start on your case.