Proving a Premises Liability Case
In the United States, land owners can be held responsible for deaths and injuries that occur on their property. If you suffered an injury on someone else’s property, you may be entitled to financial compensation through a personal injury claim or lawsuit. The body of law that governs property owner negligence is called “premises liability.” While proving a premises liability case can sometimes be challenging, the attorneys at Kuhlman & Lucas, LLC have a lot of experience in this area of the law.
Slip and fall accidents are one of the most common forms of premises liability in the United States. Other frequent premises liability claims involve dog bite injuries, negligent security claims, and accidents caused by poor property maintenance. For example, if a woman trips and falls on a cracked sidewalk in a hotel parking lot, she can file a personal injury lawsuit against the hotel to collect compensation for any injuries caused by the accident.
Similarly, a badly lit parking garage might encourage criminal assaults and robberies. If a visitor is attacked, the parking garage may be liable for any of the guest’s injuries.
In these situations, it may seem obvious that the property owner is somewhat responsible for the accident. However, negligence claims are not always simple. In fact, proving a premises liability case can be very complicated. With the help of a qualified lawyer at Kuhlman & Lucas, however, accident victims can file successful lawsuits to collect the payment they are entitled to.
Many premises liability claims hinge on the visitor’s legal status as an invitee, licensee, or trespasser. Each of these terms refers to a different legal status and implies a different level of liability. In proving a premises liability case, the visitor must demonstrate that his or her visitor status merited protection from the property owner.
According to premises liability law, property owners owe the highest duty of care to invitees. Legally speaking, an invitee is anyone who enters the premises for business or commercial purposes. A visitor is a lawful invitee in the following scenarios:
- Shopping at the mall
- Dining at a restaurant
- Purchasing groceries
- Conducting business at a bank
As an invitee, you enter the premises with the implied or express permission of the owner and assume that the owner has taken reasonable care to protect you from potential hazards.
The term “licensee” applies to any person who enters the property for his or her own purpose. Licensees enter the premises with the consent or permission of the property owner, such as a social guest at a party. Like invitees, licensees can reasonably assume that the property owner has taken care to warn them about any potential hazards on the premises. If injured, a licensee may have grounds to sue the owner for negligence.
Unlike invitees and licensees, trespassers unlawfully enter the premises. Generally speaking, unlawful visitors are not entitled to personal injury compensation. However, the property owner can be held responsible for injuries under the following circumstances, even if the visitor trespassed:
- The owner was aware of the trespasser
- The trespasser was a child
In other words, the property owner may be held liable for any injuries if he or she knew that the victim was trespassing. Additionally, children are not subject to trespasser status if they enter the property because of an “attractive nuisance.” An attractive nuisance is any hazard that might intrigue a child, such sand pit, abandoned car, swimming pool, etc. The doctrine of attractive nuisance does not apply to naturally occurring hazards when proving a premises liability case.
Property Owner Responsibility
To successfully prove a premises liability case, you must be able to demonstrate that the property owner failed to act, or acted in a negligent manner. Additionally, you must demonstrate that the owner’s negligence caused your injury.
Generally speaking, the property owner is responsible for the upkeep and safety of the premises. Premises liability law applies a uniform standard of reasonableness to the safety of any given property. In other words, the owner is only responsible for the safety of the property, within reason. For example, clients can reasonably expect a parking garage to provide lit stairwells.
In the end, a reasonable expectation is any safety measure that the owner takes to prevent foreseeable injuries. When proving a premises liability case, it is difficult – if not impossible – to sue a property owner for an unpredictable injury.
At Kuhlman & Lucas, LLC, we put our extensive experience to work while proving a premises liability case
If you suffered an avoidable injury and believe that your accident was caused by the carelessness or negligence of a property owner, the Kansas City personal injury lawyers at Kuhlman & Lucas, LLC will work diligently in proving a premises liability case and can help you understand your legal options through a premises liability lawsuit. Call our office today at (816) 463-4455 or fill out our online contact form for a free case consultation today.