As an individual legally entering the property of another, he or she has a reasonable expectation of not getting injured within premises. Therefore, the owner of the property has a responsibility to maintain a safe environment for its occupants and visitors. This is known as premises liability. As an example, a hotel visitor can sue the management if he or she slips and falls and is then injured, because the area is poorly-maintained when it should have been. However, if it was found that the visitor acted with unreasonable care (such as being intoxicated or running through a closed area), then the claim may not be valid.
Here are some of the frequently-asked questions when it comes to the topic of premises liability.
CAN AN ESTABLISHMENT BE HELD RESPONSIBLE IF A CRIME OCCURS NEAR OR AT THE ESTABLISHMENT?
Establishments cannot be typically held liable for crimes committed near or at the establishment, unless the crime could have been anticipated, and preventive measures could have been applied around it, either through appropriate warnings and improved security systems. Given this, it is the establishment’s responsibility to warn its visitors and employees about dangerous conditions, especially it is located in a crime-prone area. Moreover, it is the establishment’s job to ensure that the area is secured – windows and doors have functioning locks and that areas are well-lit to ensure that criminals won’t be able to easily penetrate and escape.
IF AN INDIVIDUAL SLIPS AND FALLS ON A BROKEN PIECE OF THE SIDEWALK, CAN THE GOVERNMENT BE SUED?
There are states that give immunity to local governments when it comes to personal injury cases. However, in states that do not give this immunity, victims can file a case against the local government. It is the duty of municipalities to ensure that sidewalks and roads are in the right condition so as not to cause accidents. If it can be proven that there was a failure on the part of the local government to ensure that the sidewalk is in good condition, then a case can be built against them. It is also recommended to take note of the deadlines and requirements to raise such claims.
IF AN INDIVIDUAL IS ATTACKED AFTER TRANSACTING AT AN AUTOMATED TELLER MACHINE (ATM), CAN THE BANK BE HELD RESPONSIBLE?
In the past, banks have had no legal duty to provide security to prevent such crimes. However, this is now being recognized as a valid need, depending on the circumstances surrounding the area the attack occurred. If it is found that the area is known to be prone to such attacks and yet the bank did not do anything to protect its customers, then the bank could be held partially liable.
IF AN INDIVIDUAL ATTENDS A PARTY ON A NEIGHBOR’S AND IS INJURED, CAN THE NEIGHBOR BE HELD LIABLE?
There have been instances when guests are able to recover damages from their hosts, but it all depends on the cause and the nature of the injury. Responsible homeowners should inform their guests about dangerous conditions in the house that guests might not be able to notice. As an example, if a guest slips on a wet patch caused by a leak in the ceiling, and did not warn the guests about it, he or she could be held liable for the failure to warn and for not repairing the leak when he or she knew that guests would be coming.
If you have other questions related to premises liability, contact The Kyle Law Firm so we can talk about your concerns.