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When Is a Property Owner Liable for Your Injury?

Security camera installed on a wall of an apartment building.

Negligence comes in many forms, from actively injuring someone in an accident to passively contributing to injuries due to poor property maintenance. Premises liability law covers negligence of property owners, both residential and commercial, that results in injury. If you are injured at a business or someone’s home, the property could be liable for your medical bills and other expenses.

What Is Premises Liability Law?

Premises liability laws differ from state to state, but they have a similar theme in most cases. Property owners are responsible for maintaining a safe property to protect visitors from injury. This covers a wide scope of hazards that should be resolved to avoid injuries to anyone who is on the property. Some of these include:

  • Repairing dangerous hazards – damaged stairs, floor boards, decks, balconies, railings, chairs, etc.
  • Restraining or containing dogs to prevent bites and attacks
  • Prevention of trips and slip accidents
  • Preventing pool accidents and drownings
  • Adequate security to prevent violence, rape, shootings and other criminal activity
  • Prevention of apartment or hotel fires
  • Injuries from falling items/merchandise

Not all injuries are preventable; but if negligence on the part of the property owner contributed to the injury, they may be liable.

Commercial Premises Liability

All property owners are legally responsible for protecting the safety of others on their property. For businesses, this means performing maintenance, inside and outside, to prevent injuries. Slips and falls are among the most common commercial premises liability injuries. Falling merchandise is a hazard in retail stores, especially big warehouse stores.

Preventing harm to customers extends beyond repairing stairways and sidewalks. Business owners also need to provide adequate protection from criminal behavior. This includes security cameras, well-lit areas, security personnel and other preventive operations. If a shooting occurs at a club or a rape/assault happens in a motel, it is possible the owner may be held at least partially liable if there were not adequate preventive measures in place.

Residential Premises Liability

If you are at a friend’s home and a loose step causes you to fall and sustain a head injury, this may be a case of premises liability. While you may not want to sue a friend or family, you also do not want to pay for an injury that was caused by negligence. Most residential premise liability injuries are covered by homeowners’ or renters’ insurance policies – the insurance company most likely pays the compensation, not your friend or family member.

Should I Seek a Premises Liability Claim?

If you slip and fall in a store, breaking your arm, you may be wondering whether you can file a claim against the store owner. It depends on why you fell. Did your new shoes cause you to slip and fall, or was there loose carpeting or an unlabeled slippery floor that caused your fall? Property owners are responsible for maintaining a safe environment for visitors/guests/customers. If they were aware of the loose carpet and allowed it to remain, they may be liable for injuries caused by the hazard.

With any premises liability case, there needs to be harm to the victim. If you did not need medical attention or lose time from your job, it is unlikely worth pursuing a claim. However, if you needed medical care, treatments and time lost from work, you should explore whether you can file a premises liability claim to recover financial damages. This can include covering medical bills, lost wages, treatments, therapy and other compensation that is related to your injury.

For a free legal consultation about your premises liability injury, contact us at the Law Office of Dwayne L. Brown in Atlanta, GA or Montgomery, AL. We can evaluate your claim and advise you on your options for pursuing compensation for your injuries.

Posted on Behalf of Law Office of Dwayne L. Brown

Disclaimer: Our staff at the Law Office of Dwayne L. Brown have worked hard to become valued members of the Georgia business community. We write accident news stories with the intent and purpose of bringing awareness to the dangers of driving in our community with hopes that our fellow community members will use added precautions when operating a motor vehicle and avoid being seriously injured in an Alabama accident. This post is not intended to be a solicitation for business. The information provided in this post is not meant to be legal advice or medical advice. The picture used in this post is not representative of the accident described in this post.

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