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Premises Liability Explained

For those who have been injured while on another person's property, it is important to understand the facts about premises liability cases. Whether you were injured in a public location, such as a store or restaurant, or on private property, such as someone else's home, premises liability may apply to your case and allow you to recover damages.

The idea of premises liability, or the liability of an owner for accidents occurring on his or her property, stems from old ideas found in English common law. In the old days, a property owner's liability for injuries that occurred on the premises was determined by whether the injured party was an invitee, a licensee or a trespasser. Today, these definitions have been broadened so that almost anyone who is on the owner's property legally has rights under premises liability law to collect damages for injuries.

What Is Premises Liability?

Strictly speaking, premises liability means that the owner is responsible for torts that occur on real property. Any hazardous conditions that exist or are created on the property are the responsibility of the owner if he or she knew or should have known that a danger existed.

In order for premises liability to apply, three conditions must be met:

  • The owner must be in possession of the premises.
  • The victim must have been on the premises legally. However, the definition of who has legal access to the property was vastly broadened in the California case of Rowland v. Christian. Today, almost anyone who is not on the property illegally is covered under premises liability law, not just those whom the owner has actively invited.
  • There must be evidence that the owner was negligent through committing some wrongful act or by a breach of the duty of care a reasonable person would assume. This means that an owner will probably not be liable for random occurrences but will be liable if it is clear that he or she should have known danger existed.

The attorneys at Bernstein & Maryanoff in Miami are here to help victims who have been injured on someone else's property. The victims in these cases may suffer physical trauma requiring medical treatment, pain, emotional suffering and lost wages. All of these costs may be collected through a personal injury suit. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you win your case.

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