Understanding Premises Liability: Examples and Reasons for Filing a Lawsuit

RICHARD J. VALLE | VOZH New Mexico Best Personal Injury Attorney Lawyer
Richard J. Valle
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CRIOSTOIR CHRIS O’CLEIREACHAIN | VOZH New Mexico Best Personal Injury Attorney Lawyer
Criostoir (Chris) O'Cleireachain
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MATTHEW J. ZAMORA | VOZH New Mexico Best Personal Injury Attorney Lawyer
Matthew J. Zamora
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Andrea D. Harris
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We enter various premises, be it a store, a business, someone's home, or a public space every day. However, when an accident occurs on someone else's property due to negligence, it falls under the legal concept of premises liability.

This legal doctrine holds property owners responsible for ensuring a safe environment for visitors. Understanding what constitutes premises liability and the reasons behind filing a lawsuit is crucial.

What is Premises Liability?

Premises liability refers to the legal responsibility of property owners to maintain a safe environment for individuals entering their premises. When an individual suffers an injury due to hazardous conditions on someone else's property, the property owner may be held liable for the damages caused. The majority of the time this suit is filed against the insurance company of the property owner, and it often requires also naming the individual who owns the property. Adding the name of a family member or friend can feel personal and leads many people to hesitate to file a lawsuit. However, it’s important to remember that this is not personal. Lawsuits are filed against the insurance company of the property owner because the insurance companies do not want to pay for injuries or property damage.

Premise liability cases are dependent on which type of class the visitor falls into. There are three primary types of “classes” including those who were invited onto the property, such as a retail space, sports arenas, bars and restaurants, and apartments.

The second type of class of visitor is “licensees” or social guests. Examples of these visitors include people who were invited to a party.

The third class of visitors are trespassers which means they do not have the property owner’s permission to be on the property but then are injured. Property owners aren’t required to provide “duty of care” in these instances, however, if the property owners know that trespassing frequently happens on their premises, and do not provide a warning about possible dangers, they may be liable if an injury occurs.  

Examples of Premises Liability:

Slip and Fall Accidents

  • Wet Floors: Failing to clean spills promptly or provide warnings about wet surfaces can lead to slip and fall accidents.
  • Uneven Surfaces: Loose tiles or uneven flooring can cause individuals to trip and injure themselves. Unsecured rugs and carpets can also cause slips and falls.
  • Changes in Walkway Elevations: Examples of this include roots that grow up out of a sidewalk causing it to crack or buckle, or depressions in concrete that cause water to accumulate and become slippery. Uneven pavers or slabs can also cause trips and falls. If a person notices an issue on a public sidewalk, walkway, or street, they can report it to the City of Albuquerque through the ABQ311 smartphone app.

Inadequate Security

  • Insufficient Lighting: Poorly lit areas increase the risk of criminal activity and assaults.
  • Lack of Security Measures: Absence of proper security personnel or systems in areas prone to criminal activities.
  • Limited Line of Sight and Visibility: large amounts of foliage overgrowth, debris, or other objects that obstruct or limit the line of sight and visibility for safe and secure passage.

Hazardous Conditions

  • Dangerous Staircases or Railing: Broken steps or loose railing can cause falls and serious injuries.
  • Exposed Wiring or Defective Equipment: Properties with exposed wiring or malfunctioning equipment pose risks of electrocution or other injuries.

Dog Bites

  • Dangerous Dogs: Owners failing to control aggressive pets might lead to dog attacks causing injuries to visitors or those in public spaces. According to Angel’s Law in Albuquerque, owners who fail to restrain those dogs on their property are “criminally and civilly liable for the harm the dogs cause”. The Albuquerque leash law states that all animals owned by humans must be secured by a secure fence, facility, or enclosure, or be on a leash no longer than 8 feet and accompanied by a person able to control the animal.

Reasons for Filing a Premises Liability Lawsuit

Negligence of Property Owner

  • Failure to Maintain Safe Conditions: Property owners have a duty to regularly inspect and address potential hazards. If they fail to do so, they may be deemed negligent.
  • Ignorance of Known Hazards: If a property owner is aware of dangerous conditions but does nothing to rectify them or provide warnings, they can be held liable.

Breach of Duty of Care

  • Violation of Safety Regulations: Not adhering to safety regulations or building codes can be considered a breach of the duty of care.
  • Lack of Proper Maintenance: Neglecting routine maintenance or repairs that could prevent accidents might result in liability.

Failure to Warn

  • Lack of Warning Signs: Failing to post signs or warnings about potential hazards, such as wet floors or construction zones, can lead to injuries.

Seeking Legal Assistance from Premises Liability Lawyers

Navigating a premises liability lawsuit requires expertise in the legal realm. Premises liability lawyers and personal injury attorneys such as the team at VOZH Law specialize in evaluating these cases, gathering evidence, and representing the injured party's interests. They assess the circumstances, determine liability, and represent clients in court to seek compensation for the damages suffered due to the negligence of property owners.

Premises liability encompasses a range of scenarios where individuals suffer injuries on someone else's property due to the property owner's negligence. Understanding the concept and the reasons behind filing a lawsuit is essential in seeking justice and rightful compensation for the damages incurred.

Contact the team at VOZH

Property owners have a responsibility to maintain safe premises, and when they fail to uphold this duty, premises liability lawyers play a crucial role in advocating for the rights of the injured parties. If you've been injured due to hazardous conditions on someone else's property, seeking legal counsel can be pivotal in obtaining the restitution you deserve.

Contact the team at VOZH Law for a free consultation. Our experienced team works on contingency, which means we cover all costs of the lawsuit until a judgment is made. We can help you get the justice you deserve.

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