Premises liability holds individuals or businesses responsible for injuries that occur on their property, even if they did not personally cause the injury. It is based on the premise that businesses have a duty to maintain their property in a safe condition, and that this duty extends to protecting their customers from harm, to a reasonable degree.
A premises liability case can be difficult to pursue because it often requires evidence that the business was aware of an unsafe condition and did not take appropriate steps to remedy it. A successful premises liability case relies on establishing that the party was negligent in their duties to maintain the property.
What Is Negligence in Premises Liability?
Negligence in premises liability is an act or failure to act that falls below the standard of care that a reasonable person would exercise in the same situation. To prove negligence, a plaintiff must show that the defendant was both aware of an unsafe condition on their property and that they failed to take steps to remedy it. Their failure to do so must have directly caused the plaintiff’s injury.
For example, if a business’s stairway is cluttered and slippery, a customer may be injured if they slip and fall. In that case, the business could be found negligent for failing to clean up the clutter and keep the stairway in good condition. A plaintiff could bring a lawsuit against the business and file a claim for damages.
Another important aspect of premises liability law is comparative negligence. This doctrine determines who is responsible for an injury, based on the degree of negligence involved. Even if the customer was injured due to their own carelessness, a business may still be found liable if the dangerous condition was severe enough that any reasonable person would have seen it as such. If a shopper trips on a flight of stairs but wasn’t looking where they were going, they may be 20% responsible for the accident. If, however, the business has a sign warning customers not to go up the stairs because of dangerous conditions, they would probably be more than 50% responsible for causing the accident, as they took steps to prevent the injury. In that case, the customer may not be able to collect damages, as they’re mostly responsible for the accident.
Premises liability cases can be difficult to litigate, and as such, require the expertise of a qualified attorney. Robin Frazer Clark, Trial Lawyer has the experience necessary to give your case its best chance at success. If you’ve been injured, call us at (404) 873-3700 today to schedule your free consultation.