Visiting a local business or a friend's house should not be a scary experience. Fortunately, very rarely do people visit these places and find themselves in harm's way. Yet, sometimes property owners, including store owners and social acquaintances, fail to properly identify and/or remedy dangerous property conditions. This may include wet floors, torn carpets, and inadequate lighting, just to name a few hazardous conditions. Those who do wind up hurt on account of one of these conditions may be able to pursue a premises liability lawsuit against the property owner in hopes of recovering compensation for their damages.
In order to succeed on one of these claims, though, a victim must prove that a duty of care was owed, and that duty was breached. Oftentimes, the first step of this process is challenged, as the relationship between the property owner and the victim determines what duty of care may apply. For example, a property owner who invites another onto his or her property, which includes business owners and friends, owes an invitee a duty to reasonably assure that the property is safe. This may mean conducting routine checks of the property for hazards and correcting them in a timely fashion. When hazards are identified, invitees should be warned of them so that they can be avoided.
Generally speaking, those who trespass onto property are given no duty of care. That means even if they are seriously injured due to a hazardous condition on the premises, they cannot pursue a premises liability lawsuit. However, if a property owner knows that trespass is likely, then he or she may owe a duty to reasonably warn of potential injury.
Many people fail to realize that they may be awarded money if they suffer injury as a result of a negligent property owner. Yet, the damages caused by medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering can be too great to forego seeking recovery. Those who want to learn more about the process and how to build a compelling premises liability case can speak to a personal injury attorney of their choosing.