Premises Liability Law refers to the legal principles that hold landowners and tenants responsible when someone enters their property and gets hurt due to a dangerous condition. With few exceptions, premises liability claims are based on negligence, although the doctrine may be applied differently than in other personal injury situations.
Premises Liability is generally based on common law, although states often have statutes, municipal ordinances, or local building codes. The most common features of most states have worker's compensation, no-fault automobile insurance, and premise liability law.
The most common basis of premises liability law is negligence. It may be applied differently than it is in other personal injury situations.
Slip and fall accidents are the most common types of an accident resulting in premise liability. Slip and fall accidents can result in serious injuries such as broken bones and traumatic brain injuries, which can cause various life-altering consequences.
To gain compensation, plaintiffs may be able to file a claim against owners, landlords, business owners, easement holders, residential tenants, maintenance companies, and other entities that control or possess the property where the accident happened.
Slip and fall accidents can be caused by wet floors, snow and ice, unmarked obstacles, faulty stairs, and other dangers. Lawsuits may also result from injuries caused by vicious animals, open swimming pools, broken elevators, or violent customers or guests.
Several courts have characterized plaintiffs who have been injured on someone else's property as one of three different types, based on the reason they entered onto the land: trespassers, licensees, and invitees. Each group holds the landowner to a different level of responsibility.
Under the traditional approach to liability, a landowner has no duty to trespassers but does have such a duty to licensees (those who were invited onto the land). The landowner must use ordinary care to keep the premises safe for intended usersthose invited to be on the land. Landowners also must keep the premises safe from those who show up for a specific purpose. The highest standard of carethat owed to inviteesrequires the landowner to inspect premises and ensure they are safe for persons coming onto the property.
The traditional approach to premises liability is increasingly becoming outdated. Many states look towards an approach that gives landowners and other potential defendants an established set of rules they can use to anticipate their legal obligations. It's also a way for them to figure out the safety measures they must take to avoid liability for an accident.
Despite the predictability this approach does offer, more and more states have begun to abandon it in favor of a method that judges the merits of each case individually.
Modern trends like Reaching out to Your Audience reflect a more flexible standard.
Standard of care is a legal obligation to respond reasonably to a particular situation. In personal injury cases, especially in cases where the injuries result from a medical procedure, the standard of care to which a surgeon is held is to measure the amount of care, skill, and diligence exercised by the reasonably prudent surgeon.
The standard of care is a jury question. Unless the doctor has the policy to admit liability for which they are insured, defense lawyers prefer the jury to assume discretionary authority over the matter of responsibility effectively. To mitigate damages in medical negligence cases, defense lawyers must prove that patients did not comply with the post-surgery plans or failed to exercise proper behavior. Suppose the jury can be convinced that the patient acted unreasonably. In that case, a finding of negligence will not necessarily be supported by their decision, so defense attorneys do their best to persuade the jury that the patient is at fault.
In contrast to the old trespasser/licensee/invitee approach, modern negligence standards treat each case as unique and focus on what good companies should and could have done under the circumstances.
Special rules and legal doctrines apply to this case state, e.g., "dead man's statute."
In cases where a child has been injured or killed due to a dangerous condition on another person's property, jurisdictions may apply the "attractive nuisance doctrine" depending on the particular circumstances. This doctrine requires that landowners fix dangerous conditions in areas known to be frequented by children if the children fail to recognize the danger because of their youth.
The doctrine of contributory negligence prohibits or reduces the plaintiff's recovery in a personal injury action based on the plaintiff's conduct less than that of the defendant.
If the defendant's negligence is not 100 percent responsible for the plaintiff's injuries, the plaintiff cannot recover compensation from the defendant. The jury will determine the percentage of fault shared by each party and exclude the plaintiff's claim entirely if they are assigned any blame.
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