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Blogs from July, 2024

Uneven sidewalk

Premises liability encompasses a wide range of incidents, from slip and fall accidents to dog bites, and is essential in protecting the rights of individuals who suffer injuries due to another's negligence. The legal basis for premises liability is rooted in both statutory law and case law, which provide the framework for determining when a property owner is liable for injuries sustained on their property.

Types of Property and Applicable Laws

The laws governing premises liability can differ significantly depending on the type of property involved. Residential properties, such as private homes and apartments, have different legal requirements compared to commercial properties like stores and restaurants. Public properties, including parks and government buildings, are subject to yet another set of regulations.

For residential properties, the primary focus is often on maintaining safe living conditions and addressing hazards promptly. In contrast, commercial property owners must adhere to stricter safety standards due to the higher volume of visitors and the potential for more significant injuries.

Determining Liability

The concept of duty of care is central to premises liability cases, as it establishes the legal obligation of property owners to ensure the safety of visitors. Duty of care varies depending on the type of visitor, which can include invitees, licensees, and trespassers. Invitees, such as customers in a store, are owed the highest duty of care, requiring property owners to regularly inspect and maintain their premises to prevent hazards.

Licensees, like social guests, are owed a moderate duty of care, which involves warning them of any known dangers that may not be immediately apparent.

Breach of Duty

A breach of duty occurs when a property owner fails to meet the standard of care required by law, resulting in unsafe conditions that lead to injury.

Common breaches of duty in premises liability cases include:

  • Failure to maintain the property.
  • Inadequate security measures.
  • Neglecting to address known hazards.

For example, a property owner may be liable for a slip and fall accident if they fail to clean up a spill promptly or do not provide adequate warning of the hazard. Similarly, inadequate lighting or lack of security personnel in a parking lot can constitute a breach of duty if it leads to an assault or other injury.

Comparative and Contributory Negligence

Comparative and contributory negligence are legal principles that can significantly impact premises liability cases. Comparative negligence allows for the allocation of fault between the property owner and the injured party, reducing the compensation based on the injured party's degree of fault.

For example, if a person is found to be 30% at fault for their injury, their compensation will be reduced by 30%. In contrast, contributory negligence is a more stringent defense that can bar recovery entirely if the injured party is found to be even slightly at fault.

Contact Our Skilled Attorneys at DeRango & Cain, LLC

At DeRango & Cain, LLC, our experienced criminal defense attorneys are here to help you navigate the complexities of premises liability cases. Don't wait—take the first step towards justice and recovery by reaching out to our dedicated legal team. (815) 216-5911

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