What is Premises Liability?


You have tripped and fallen on someone else’s property and sustained injuries that include a broken ankle. You see your doctor and discuss what happened and hear the term “premises liability.” You have a vague idea about this after hearing about it in the context of your injuries. But you wonder how or even if this legal concept pertains to you. Could someone else have caused or contributed to your accident which has now cost you medical expenses, physical pain, and lost time at work?

Under the law, premises liability refers to the legal idea that property owners and managers owe a duty of care to provide a relatively safe environment to anyone who visits the property lawfully. This means that the property should be adequately maintained, that any defects or hazards should be remedied, or that the owner should provide warnings until those hazards can be fixed in a timely manner. Property owners can be held liable for injuries and their damages when it is proven that they were negligent in this duty of care and that their negligence led to your injuries.

Negligence in Personal Injury Claims

The majority of personal injury claims are based on this aspect of negligence. In premises liability, it is no different. It is important to remember that, just because you slipped and fell on a property, it does not necessarily mean that the property owner was negligent. It must be proven that the owner knew about the dangerous condition or reasonably should have known and that he or she failed to take action to repair it or adequately warn you about it until it could be remedied.

If your slip and fall was due to an obvious unsafe condition, such as broken lighting in a corridor or hallway, debris left on stairs, rickety handrails, torn carpeting, cracks in the flooring, rotting wood, or some other defect that falls under the concept of a safety hazard, you may have grounds for a personal injury claim. And, while it may seem obvious to you, it won’t be obvious to the property owner’s insurance company. To back up your claim and make it possible to recover monetary damages, it will be up to you to prove that negligence occurred which, if remedied, could have prevented your injuries.

Part of the legal standard pertinent to premises liability is whether or not you were a lawful visitor to the property. Were you a client, customer, patron, friend, relative, or service provider who had the right to be there? If you were trespassing, you will likely not have a legitimate right to pursue an injury claim with an insurance company.

Premises liability cases can arise from numerous circumstances, from accidents occurring in grocery stores, retail stores, and other public buildings to those occurring on public roadways and sidewalks as well as at private residences. They can include accidents involving swimming pools, criminal attacks at hotels, sports and entertainment venues, and dog bites.

Need Answers?

If you are wondering if your injuries were the result of negligence, you need to speak to a personal injury attorney about the incident. At Jetton & Meredith, PLLC, serving clients throughout Charlotte, your case will always be directly handled by one of our competent attorneys who can give you the guidance and skilled representation you need.

Contact us online or at (704) 931-5535 for a free case consultation today.