What is Premises Liability?
Premises liability is a legal doctrine that holds those owning or possessing land liable for injuries suffered by visitors due to dangerous conditions. The doctrine is designed to protect guests from dangerous conditions such as wet or slippery floors, falling objects and toxic or dangerous chemicals. For example, the doctrine seeks to protect customers by placing a responsibility on businesses to ensure that their stores are safe for those customers.
A business should never place profits before the safety of its customers. If you have been injured while visiting a business, you should contact a premises liability attorney at Drake, Hileman & Davis, PC today by calling 888-777-7098.
What Must be Shown for a Successful Premises Liability Claim?
There are several basic elements of a premises liability claim:
- A dangerous or unsafe condition exists on the property
- The property owner or possessor knew or should have known about the dangerous condition
- The property owner or possessor failed to eliminate the danger or failed to warn guests of the dangers
- The guest was injured by the unsafe condition
Typically, the most difficult element of a premises liability claim to establish is that the property owner or possessor knew or should have known that a dangerous condition existed.
What are Common Injuries That Give Rise to Premises Liability Claims and Where Do They Occur?
A wide range of injury types can occur when a property owner or possessor fails to protect guests. We commonly see injuries occurring at restaurants, grocery stores, retail stores, and airports. Injuries range from lacerations and bruising to catastrophic injuries and even death.
- Restaurants. Restaurants must make their facilities safe for their customers. This includes ensuring that walkways are clear of debris and liquids. Restaurants, especially fast-food restaurants, try to service as many people as possible as quickly as possible, but they cannot ignore the dangerous conditions that spilled food or drink present to customers.
- Grocery Stores. Grocery stores must routinely inspect aisles for spilled liquids or other unsafe debris, such as fallen produce. Furthermore, when a grocery store becomes aware of an unsafe condition, it must respond quickly by taking steps ensure the unsafe condition is cleared or that customers are kept away from the danger.
- Retail Stores. Retail stores, such as big-box home improvement stores, present unique dangers to customers. Customers can be placed in serious danger when products are stored improperly. For example, many large products are kept on shelving above walkways creating a falling hazard to customers below.
- Airports. Airports make money by moving as many people as quickly as possible from one location to another. Walkways can become extremely congested and this can create tripping or slipping conditions.
Contact an Allentown premises liability attorney at Drake, Hileman & Davis, PC today to discuss your injuries.
What are the Common Defenses to a Premises Liability Claim?
When a premises liability claim is made, the landowner or possessor will attempt to escape liability by raising a defense to the claim. Some of the common premises liability defenses are:
- Assumption of Risk. The assumption of risk defense arises when someone is aware of a risk and assumes the danger anyway. For example, where a grocery store has closed an aisle to clean spilled laundry detergent and a customer ignores warning signs or barriers, he or she has likely assumed the risk of slipping and falling.
- Contributory and Comparative Negligence. Contributory and comparative negligence defenses basically argue that while the landowner or possessor may have acted inappropriately, so did the guest. These defenses are typically used to reduce the amount of damages.
There are many other types of premises liability defenses and it is important to have an experienced premises liability attorney working with you to explain how they may impact your claim. Often, defenses are raised in bad-faith, meaning they are not appropriate but raised anyway to slow the legal process and frustrate the injured individual. We are here to protect you and work to get you the compensation that you and your family deserves for the injuries you have suffered.
What Should I Do if I Have Been Injured?
There are some important things you should (and should not) do if you have been injured. First, seek immediate and appropriate medical attention for your injuries. Second, never sign any releases, or any other paperwork, without first having an attorney review. Third, contact an Allentown premises liability attorney at Drake, Hileman & Davis, PC today by calling 888-777-7098 to discuss your legal rights and options.