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Hoffspiegel Law Blog

October 28, 2020

Most of the time, you think to call a lawyer after an accident has happened, and that is exactly the right decision to make. After all, a legal expert understands your legal situation and is able to guide you through the process of receiving the justice and restitution you deserve.

That said, your lawyer is also a valuable resource to consult BEFORE an accident occurs. A legal expert is able to provide advice for both protecting yourself from potential harm as well as any legal liability for accidents occurring around your home or business. 

There is no better example of this value than questions regarding premises liability.

What is premises liability? 

Essentially, a premises liability claim arises when a victim is injured on someone else’s property as a result of their failure to maintain safe conditions. 

The validity of such claims is assessed based on a legal “duty of care” which varies depending on why the victim was on the property. People who are trespassing are owed one duty of care, while invited guests are owed another. The exact details of this duty vary by state and statute, so it’s best to discuss specific details with an attorney. 

The status of a victim is often the crux of a premises liability claim, and understanding both your status on someone else’s property as well as the duty you owe to those on your own property is critical to avoiding legal issues.

It is also important to note that premises liability claims only cover injuries arising FROM the land, not just an unrelated injury that occurs ON the land. In other words, a fall caused by a rickety staircase would fall under premises liability, while an otherwise unrelated car accident that happened to occur on the land would not.

How to protect yourself against claims: 

As a property owner, the duty you owe to those on your property also depends on what purpose you are using the property for. Businesses owe a particular duty of care while a homeowner has different legal obligations. 

In general, however, the best way to protect yourself from a claim is to make every reasonable effort to protect those on your premises from injury. 

Assess your property for potential risks or hazards and work to mitigate those risks and warn entrants if you are unable to entirely do so. The court’s assessment of your potential liability is strongly influenced by the efforts that you have made to prevent injury. 

If you are looking for detailed advice on best practices, you should consult with a legal expert. 

I’ve been injured on someone else’s property, what should I do next? 

If you are a victim of a property owner’s negligence, you need legal counsel ASAP to ensure your fair day in court. Premises liability cases are extremely tricky, often involving complex questions of fault, duty, and foreseeability. 

An experienced personal injury attorney is able to assess the validity of your claim and suggest the strongest arguments for your position. 

Also note that these claims, like any other, are subject to statutes of limitations and other details of civil procedure. If any mistakes are made in the process of bringing the claim to court, your case could potentially be jeopardized over a technicality. 

Don’t wait to get the answers you need. If you have suffered an accident on someone else’s property, let’s discuss your case today.