Premises Liability: Is The Owner Or Occupier At Fault?

Man Falling Down StairsPremises liability accidents can occur in a variety of scenarios and circumstances. Lawsuits can stem from slip and fall accidents, animal bites, negligent management of property, etc. So when an accident occurs on someone’s property, is the owner responsible or is the occupier?

What’s The Difference Between A Property Owner And Occupier?

Simply put, the owner actually owns a property. An occupier may just be a tenant or renter. For instance, a business that rents its office in a building owned by someone else would be considered an occupier.

So if a visitor gets hurt on said property, which is to blame: the owner or the occupier? The answer to this question depends upon the property type, among other factors.

If you find yourself injured in someone else’s property as a result of negligence, you should file a notice of claim against the owner and occupier.

Where Can Premises Liability Accidents Occur?

Premises liability accidents commonly involve a customer or guest getting injured on private or public property, inside or outside a building. Accidents can take place at a commercial building, such as a store, restaurant or business office; residences, such as a home, apartment complex or other type of rental property (e.g. apartment); and public property, such as a park or city street.

·      Staircases or steps

·      Uneven flooring

·      Broken concrete/sidewalks

·      Poorly lit parking lots

Factors that typically contribute to premises liability cases are poor maintenance, faulty design, poor construction, inadequate cleaning or simply clutter. Some examples of this are dimly lit parking lots, cracked sidewalks, uneven flooring, broken steps or staircases. Poorly maintained properties and negligent management can lead to slipping and falling, tripping, a dangerous object falling on someone.

If You Are Injured On Someone’s Property, Who Is Legally Responsible?

When evaluating a premises liability case, there are two basic rules to help determine who is to blame for the accident.

1) Has the property owner kept the property safe? A property owner or occupier has a legal duty to keep visitors who enter their property safe. This includes tenants, customers, clients and personal guests. For example, if you are staying at a hotel and the entrance steps are unsteady, causing you to lose your balance and fall, you may have a premises liability case. One of the factors that will determine whether or not you have a case is whether or not the property owner was aware of the hazard and had knowingly neglected to fix it.

2) However, the visitor must be held to some level of responsibility, too. The visitor must be accessing the property legally. That means an unauthorized visitor trespassing on someone’s property who gets injured may not have a premises liability claim. If the guest is careless or intentionally ignores warnings, then he or she may be held responsible for the accident. For example, if someone deliberately disregards a sign warning visitors about slippery floor, slips and breaks his or her ankle, the property owner may not be held responsible. The same goes for a burglar that gets injured while trespassing on someone’s property.

Where Can You Get Legal Advice On Your Premises Liability Claim?

If you or a loved one has been hurt on someone else’s property, document it. Take photos of the property before the owner or occupier has time to repair it. If there were any witnesses to the accident, ask to write down their names and contact information.

A personal injury lawyer can assess your claim and provide you with the best legal route to take. Medical bills for injuries can be costly. An experienced personal injury lawyer may be able to get you damages to cover medical expenses and any other accident-related costs. Amy VanDeLoo of the Plano law firm, the VanDeLoo Firm, can stalwartly represent you in your premises liability suit. She will take on the insurance company and work tirelessly to get you the compensation you deserve. Contact Plano personal injury lawyer, Amy VanDeLoo, today for a free consultation at 972-200-5080.