Premises liability is an umbrella term used to describe the legal and financial responsibility that real estate owners incur if visitors, guests or even trespassers on their property suffer injuries due to preventable, hazardous conditions. Typically, both businesses open to the public and homeowners carry premises liability coverage so that they aren’t directly held responsible for medical bills and other expenses related to an incident that occurs on their property.
People are typically aware of such coverage and of slip-and-falls claims, but they often don’t understand the rules that determine whether someone has a right to request compensation. It is common for people to assume that they have grounds upon which to file a premises liability claim when the circumstances may not truly meet relevant legal standards.
It is important for those hoping to pursue a premises liability claim to understand the basis for making one. These are two of the primary factors that influence the likelihood of filing a premises liability claim that may ultimately be successful.
1. Some type of negligence
Did a property owner leave a stairway in a very dangerous condition? Did a business have very few staff members available during a busy time, resulting in understaffing and dirty, unsafe property conditions?
Typically, those pursuing a premises liability claim will need to show that the owner or manager of the property was negligent in some way. The legal standard for negligence involves doing something that a reasonable person would agree is unsafe or failing to do something that people would agree was necessary for the safety of visitors to the premises.
When an injured party believes that a reasonable person would acknowledge the facilities were unsafe because of something the business did or didn’t do, they may have grounds for a claim.
2. Some type of provable loss
Negligence on its own isn’t enough for a claim against a business or a private property owner. There also needs to be some verifiable harm done to a visitor to the property that wouldn’t have occurred absent the negligence in question.
If a broken arm cost someone several thousand dollars in medical care and six weeks of lost wages, then they potentially have the necessary losses to bring a personal injury claim. There is no minimum value for those losses, but there must be some kind of provable injury consequence from the incident if an individual hopes to take action against the property owner in civil court.
Determining whether a situation meets these two basic requirements for a straightforward premises liability claim is necessary if an injury victim is interested in taking legal action. Reaching out to a legal professional for clarification if you’re unsure of whether your situation meets these standards can be helpful.