Injury accidents caused by defective or dangerous property, either inside a building or outside, are called “premise liability” accidents. Premises can be dangerous due to all sorts of reasons, such as faulty design, shoddy construction or building material, poor maintenance, or dangerous clutter. A dangerous premise can lead to all kinds of accidents including slipping and falling, tripping, or having something hit or fall on you. The following accidents can take place:
- On commercial premises, such as a store or office or other place of business;
- At a residence, such as a private home or rental property; and
- On public property, such as a park, street, sidewalk, government building or public transport such as a bus or street car.
Regardless of how or where an accident takes place, two basic rules determine who is legally responsible. One rule is that it is the owner’s duty to keep the property safe. The owner or occupier has a legal duty to anyone who enters the property. They are required not to subject a person to an unreasonable risk of injury because of design, construction, or condition of the property. The reason for this rule is simple:
- They have control over whether the premises are safe, while the visitor has none. However, the person has a duty to use the property in the normal basis;
- The second basic rule of premises liability has to do with your own conduct. There is unreasonable risk of injury if a person using the premises in a normal way has an accident caused by a dangerous or faulty design, construction or condition of the premises, or some combination of these dangerous factors. However, a property owner or occupier is not held responsible if people get injured while acting in an unexpected, unauthorized or dangerously careless way.
You can probably already see where the argument begins. What does using the premises in a normal way mean? If there was a danger or defect, was an accident caused by the condition or by the carelessness of the person injured?
The next question is who is responsible for the injuries? Normally the owner of the property is often different from the occupier. For example, a store or other business may be operated by one company, while the property is owned by another, or a resident may be owned by one person and rented by someone else. Both the owner and the occupier may be responsible for injuries caused by the property’s dangerous condition. Because both may be legally responsible, it is the insurance company’s burden to determine which will have to respond to your accident claim. Once you file a Notice of Claim against both, you do not have to worry about who is responsible.
If you have been injured on property, you can contact David K. Kremin & its affiliated law firms who have handled thousands of injury claims to people who have been seriously injured on property caused by the negligence of the owner or occupier of that property. Please contact our office for a free consultation at 1(800)ASK-A-LAWYER or 1(800)275-2529. We promise you will be able to talk with an attorney with 20-30 of experience in this area.