The term “premises liability” refers to a landowner’s responsibility toward their visitor’s safety. If you are hurt on someone else’s property, you may have grounds to file a lawsuit.
The location of your injury greatly affects your premises liability claim. There are different rules for whether you are hurt on business, public, or private land.
If You Are Hurt on Business Property
The purpose of a location affects the landowner’s liability toward visitors. For instance, business property exists solely to draw in clients and customers. In our system, money is the equivalent of survival. When you spend money on a business, you are giving a bit of your survival away to that business. Therefore, businesses have a responsibility to take great care of their customers.
Even though the smallest injury could be grounds for suing a business, the court must still weigh the reasonableness of the claim. For instance, say someone drops their cone at the ice cream parlor. You immediately slip on it and hit your head on the ground. Reasonably, you can’t expect a business to act that quickly to fix a spill. However, if a business ignores a spill and lets it sit for a while, it will be more liable when someone slips and hurts themselves.
If You Are Hurt on Private Property
When you visit someone’s private land, such as their home, they are giving you license to use that property. Therefore, you are legally considered a licensee.
Private landowners can restrict where you’re allowed to go and what you can do. Otherwise, you assume the risk of using that property. As a “licensee,” you are more responsible for your safety than when you are a business’s “invitee.”
If you, for instance, use the kitchen and burn your hand on the stove, you have little room to hold the landowner accountable for that injury. As a licensee, you were using the kitchen as if it were your own, and you are liable for your behavior and injuries.
Private landowners, however, must be reasonable with their guests’ safety. If there are unexpected dangers on the land, landowners must make their licensees aware. For example, let’s say there are bear traps all over the property. It would be grossly negligent for a landowner to allow their guest to freely wander the property without warning them of the traps. Homeowners also cannot intentionally endanger their guests with dangerous traps or pranks.
If you’ve been hurt on private land, consider your responsibility before taking legal action. Injuries resulting from gross negligence are the landowner’s fault. Simple mistakes like cutting yourself with a steak knife are not necessarily the landowner’s responsibility.
If You Are Hurt on Public Property
Public property visitors are “invitees” just like business visitors. The property’s primary function is serving the public, so the property managers must keep the area safe for guests.
Managers of businesses and public land must take special care of their guests, this much is understood. Private landowners, too, have a degree of responsibility toward their guests.
Visitors, however, also assume the risk of any place they visit. For instance, if you already have a bad, stiff back, you probably can’t sue an amusement park for getting hurt on the rollercoaster. If you go to a public park, you take a risk when using the swings or the jungle gym. The landowners and managers must maintain their rollercoasters, swing sets, and so on, making sure they are safe for the public. The public, too, has a responsibility to avoid activities where they might get hurt.
If you’ve been hurt on someone else’s property, contact our firm for a free consultation. We can review the facts of your case. If we detect negligence on the landowner or manager’s part, we can help you seek financial justice. Call us today at (270) 977-8910 or contact us online.