Premises liability law places certain duties on those in possession of land or other property. Foremost among these duties is the duty to keep the premises safe for users, guests and visitors of the property.
Premises liability against the owner or occupant of property can arise in a number of ways. Premises liability lawsuits are most often associated with slip and fall accidents. Though slip and fall accidents are sometimes trivialized and ridiculed, the injuries and damages from these accidents can often be quite devastating. On rare occasions, these accidents can be fatal leading to a wrongful death lawsuit.
Beyond the common slip and fall accident, owners or occupants of property can be liable for a variety of unsafe conditions on the property that lead to injuries to visitors or guests. This liability could result from unsafe equipment, furniture, displays or other items, inventory or fixtures in or on the premises that cause injuries to a visitor or guest.
In addition to injuries caused by items, inventory or fixtures, an owner or occupant of property can also be held liable for harm to one guest caused by the acts of another guest. The occupant or owner is held liable in many such situations where the harm was foreseeable and no protective measures were taken to protect the other guests. A occupant or owner of property has a duty to protect visitors and guests from harm from any foreseeable source even the criminal acts of another guest.
Property owners may also and are often held liable for damages and harm suffered on adjacent property as a result of conditions on their own property. This could occur in many different situations but most often is related to walkways, easements, and other rights of way adjacent to the property. For instance, water leaking from one property to another, or to a public walkway can cause significant safety hazards for the public. If someone is harmed as a result of a negligent failure to prevent such harm, that person has a right to recovery against the property owner or occupant from which the harm derived. This is so even though the actual accident and injuries were suffered on adjacent property.
There are countless other ways that premises liability might arise. It is necessary to look at each case to determine the legal responsibility for the conditions leading to the injuries. Liability for damages will follow that responsibility wherever that responsibility might lead.