Premises Liability: Who is responsible for your personal injury?

Many people are injured every year on the private, public* or commercial properties of others. Claims for these personal injuries are generally referred to as "premises liability" cases.

There are two questions that guide the determination of responsibility in premises liability cases:

1. Did the owner keep the property safe? Anyone who visits another's property (inside or outside) should not be subject to an unreasonable risk of injury. Safety is the owner's legal duty since they, and not the visitor, have control of the premises.

2. Did the visitor use the property in a "normal" manner? If a visitor was injured while skateboarding on the handrails in a public park or passing through a restricted area in a store, the owner (or occupier) would not be responsible.

Premises liability in a private home rests upon the home owner. If, however, the home is rented in its entirety, the tenant may also face responsibility.

Determining liability for injuries in an apartment can be a bit more complicated. The general rule is that the responsibility lies upon the party who maintains the area where your injury occurred. For example, landlords would be liable for every structure and area outside the apartment as well as the "immovable" components inside the apartment. The tenant's responsibility would be for the "movable" components inside the apartment.

If you are injured inside or outside a business building of any type, speak with our attorneys about including both the building owner and current lessee (occupier) in your claim.

*See our blog regarding injuries on government property.

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