Do accidents happen? Yes. Should many accidents have been avoided? Yes. Does someone have a responsibility if you are injured on their property? Sometimes.
Here are some reasons you might consider a premises liability claim:
- You work as a handyman. An apartment building hires you to paint their windows. As you stand on the fire escape to access the windows, the stair collapses, plummeting you to the level below.
- You are in a bar, and someone who has been drinking heavily there stabs you.
- Your child goes to a party at a house with a swimming pool. He dives into the unmarked pool and hits the bottom head first, damaging his spine.
Property owners have a certain duty of care to visitors. Cases balance on determining the level of responsibility to the injured person; in some cases, it is none. A court will look at whether the property owner should have known about the danger and how simple it would have been to remedy it.
- If you are looting an apartment, a judge may conclude the owner had less responsibility toward you than if they hired you to paint it.
- If you were stabbed in a bar on a Friday night, by a known troublemaker, who was drunk, the law may decide the security should have thrown the person out before he could attack someone. If, by contrast, you are sitting in your quiet local cafe at 8 a.m., and someone walks in off the street and stabs you, it might be harder to hold the cafe owner responsible.
- A judge may decide a swimming pool owner should have known neighborhood kids might jump the fence to play in a pool visible from the road. If that same pool is half a mile inside the property boundary, the judge may consider it differently.
If you are injured on someone’s property, seek legal help to assess your chances of successfully claiming compensation.