Owning or renting a property means having total control over a space, but it also means assuming a certain degree of liability for what happens there. Premises liability is the technical term for the responsibility of a property owner or tenant for the injuries of visitors, guests and even trespassers.
When negligent property maintenance or other questionable conduct on the part of an owner or occupant leads to people getting hurt, the injured parties may have grounds for premises liability claims. Such claims can result in insurance compensation or potentially lead to civil court proceedings. The following three situations frequently give rise to grounds upon which injury victims opt to file premises liability claims.
1. Slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall situations
Someone could slip on a spill in the produce section of a grocery store and suffer a traumatic brain injury. The failure to keep the space clean and safe for visitors might give the injured party strong grounds for an insurance claim or civil lawsuit.
Trip-and-falls are also often actionable and may involve items obstructing someone’s path. Broken bones, brain injuries and property damage losses all contribute to premises liability claims, and they send more than a million adults to emergency rooms each year.
2. Aggressive animals
Homeowners may have dogs or cats that become defensive of their space when someone visits. Businesses sometimes allow workers to bring in pets or have a shop animal that could unexpectedly turn aggressive.
Animal attacks often lead to premises liability claims, but thankfully both renter’s insurance and homeowner’s insurance will cover such situations, as will business insurance in some cases.
3. Preventable criminal activity
Inadequate security measures are a major concern for businesses and larger rental properties. Both workers and visitors could end up severely hurt. Improper security measures can also be a concern at residential rental properties.
Although property owners and landlords are not responsible for all criminal activity, they should take reasonable steps to prevent obvious risk factors. Those hurt in a mugging or similar criminal incident that may not have occurred if the business or property owner had invested in adequate security measures may also have grounds for a premises liability claim.
Understanding why people pursue claims against property owners can empower those who have been hurt in a slip-and-fall or similar premises liability incident.