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What Is a “Premises Liability” Case?

Posted by James Hunt | Jun 16, 2021

Premises liability cases are legal matters involving an injury that occurred while on another person or company's property and was caused by a dangerous hazard or negligence of the property owner. In such a case, the injured victim files a claim against the property owner or manager for injuries caused by negligent property conditions. In many cases, these constitute “slip and fall” or “trip and fall” cases.  They fall under the broader arm of personal injury law in that negligence plays a significant role in the settlement or civil award decision-making process.  In a nutshell, if you have been injured while on someone else's property, you may have a premises liability case.

What Is a “Premises Liability” Case?

Injuries from falls account for over 8 million hospital emergency room visits.  In fact, slips and falls account for over 1 million visits to emergency rooms.   Fractures are very common injuries and the most serious consequences of falls.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, slips, trips, and falls cause nearly 700 fatalities per year and many more serious accidents in the workplace.

Types of Premises Liability Cases

Most people are unaware of the term “premises liability.” However, we are generally familiar with their hallmarks and characteristics of premises liability cases. Many types of accidents may fall under premises liability laws.

Common types of premises liability cases include:

  • Slip and fall accidents
  • Trip and fall accidents
  • Falls on a sidewalk or steps
  • Falls at a store, grocery store, parking lot, parking garage, or similar location
  • Falls at a shopping mall
  • Falls at a government property
  • Items falling off a rack or shelf that hit you and injury you
  • Cruise ship injuries
  • Swimming pool accidents
  • Being attacked on a property that has poor security measures
  • Malfunctioning escalators and elevators
  • Poor road and sidewalk maintenance
  • Negligent security measures
  • Toxic fumes and chemical exposure
  • Poorly lit walkways

The above-referenced list includes just a handful of the types of incidents that fall under premises liability law. However, there are certain elements that a case must meet before such a claim is successful. Let's look at the elements in the next section.

Elements of a Premises Liability Case

Like other personal injury matters, premises liability cases must meet specific elements or requirements to have a valid case. If you have questions about whether you have a valid legal case, speak with a premises liability lawyer in New York or New Jersey for advice and guidance.

The key elements of a premises liability case are as follows:

Key Element 1: Duty of Care

This means that the owner or manager of the property must owe a legal duty of care to the victim. Typically, someone owes you a duty of care when you are visiting as a guest or a customer.  In addition, trespassers may be owed a duty of care if the injuries caused were foreseeable. Furthermore, property owners in NYC have a duty to the public to repair or correct any hazards on an adjacent sidewalk and remove ice and snow from sidewalks.

Key Element 2: Breach in the Duty of Care

The second element needed to prove a premises liability case is showing that the property owner or manager breached that duty of care. This means the owner failed to comply with, or satisfy, the general duty of care towards property visitors. For instance, a grocery store has a duty to make sure that its premises are safe for its customers who are walking through the store. If the store is aware of a liquid spill in an aisle and fails to clean it up promptly, that could constitute breach of duty to its customers. Similarly, if a parking garage fails to put up a safety railing, and a person falls and injures themselves as a result, that could be a breach of duty.  If you pursue a premises liability case, then the other party will likely deny their responsibility for the injuries and damages caused. 

Key Element 3: Causation

The element of causation simply means that the owner's breach of duty was the actual cause of your injuries.  For example, unsafe conditions caused you to fall down and injure your back.  If you can prove that the breach of duty was the cause of your injuries, then you may be entitled to an award or settlement.

Key Element 4: Damages

Proving damages is the final element to proving a premises liability case. Damages may include your physical injuries, mental distress, emotional distress, economic damages, out of pocket expenses and costs, and any financial losses you suffered after an accident. They can include medical bills, time missed at work, lost wages, pain, suffering, and more.

How to Prove Negligence in a Premises Liability Case

How to Prove Negligence in a Premises Liability Case

Proving negligence is the most important aspect of a premises liability case. However, the basic fundamentals of proving negligence remain the same even if compensation is awarded differently regardless of living in New York or New Jersey.

Some questions that civil courts may consider when determining property owner negligence include:

  • Did an unsafe condition exist that caused the claimant's injury?
  • Did the owner already know about the hazard and fail to act?
  • Given the circumstances, should the owner have reasonably known about the hazard?
  • Did the owner fail to take reasonable measures to secure the premises or repair/correct the hazard?

The most crucial factor in proving negligence starts within an immediate investigation of the facts. Memories fade, and evidence degrades over time, meaning you do not want to wait too long before pursuing your case. Insurance companies know that they are expensive to settle and will try to get you to sign a release as soon as possible.

Get Legal Help with Your Premises Liability Case

Insurance companies will do everything in their power, and use all of their wealthy resources, to defeat your case and minimize your injuries.  The quicker you act and retain an experienced attorney to protect your rights, the more likely you are to present a successful claim.  You need to hire a premises liability lawyer in New York or New Jersey to ensure that you have a professional fighting for your rights.

Free Case Evaluation with Our Legal Team

Find out more about your options by calling a premises liability lawyer at Hunt & Associates, LLC today. You can schedule your Free Case Evaluation now by calling (866) 456-HUNT or message us online directly. If you hire our legal team, we don't charge clients any attorneys' fees until we win your case.  You will not speak to an assistant – you will speak directly to an injury attorney.

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About the Author

James Hunt

Jim Hunt, the founder of Hunt & Associates, is a former Big Law attorney who trained at one of the biggest and most prestigious law firms in the world. He now uses that unique experience and training to help his injured clients fight for justice against “the big guys,” i...


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