Unfortunately, the world is full of known and unknown dangers that can cause a serious physical injury (or even death) to an individual. Some places are safer than others, of course; even though we all (normally) drive our cars to and from work, school, and leisure activities, the roadway is one of the most dangerous places to be. Auto accidents, though they are a common cause of personal injuries, do not invoke the important legal doctrine of premises liability.
Premises liability is a form of negligence and comes into play when someone suffers an injury or wrongfully dies while on someone’s property, or premises. If you or someone close to you suffered a significant personal injury, you might have a valid personal injury case depending on the level of premises liability assumed by the owner.
Duty of Care: Three Tiers
The starting point for any personal injury lawsuit rests on the duty-of-care level that was assumed by the owner or manager of the property. The level of care for your particular case can fall into one of three tiers:
- Invitee level. If you are seeking compensation and this category applies to you, then you are in a good spot, relatively speaking. An invitee who suffered a personal injury on someone else’s premises could be someone who entered the property to conduct a mutually beneficial business transaction (like buying groceries) or was otherwise invited by the owner of the property. Those responsible for properties in this legal context have an ongoing duty to regularly inspect the premises for potential hazards and remove hazards in a timely manner. This is the highest level of care and gives someone the best chance at receiving a payout for an injury.
- Licensee level. This generally excludes businesses and more closely describes someone’s duty of care to his or her residence. A licensee is not someone who has been explicitly invited to come on to the premises but who has entered for his or her own convenience and interests. Crucially, a licensee has permission from the property owner to be on the premises.
- Trespasser level. If you are on private property without the property owner’s consent and knowledge, then you will likely be considered a trespasser. In these circumstances, the property owner barely owes any duty of care to the trespasser. Those trespassing will not be able to receive compensation for injuries sustained on the trespassed property except in extremely rare cases (such as when the property owner intentionally set hazards on the premises).
Besides the three levels of premises liability described above, there are countless other factors that affect whether or not you have a good chance at a successful personal injury case. For instance, the amount of time that passed between a hazard popping up and an invitee suffering an injury plays an important factor.
If you believe you have a strong premises liability case, get in touch with Feldman Legal Group at 1-855-489-4905 to speak with a staff member today.