Author: Jim Glaser, Esq., Boston, Massachusetts
Premises liability falls under the realm of personal injury cases and refers to the responsibility every property owner has to keep their land, building, or home reasonably safe for others. If an individual becomes injured or ill on the property due to dangerous or defective conditions, the owner can be held liable for the injuries their property caused and any associated costs.
The Law Offices of Peter N. Davis & Associates knows that many people in New Jersey have been harmed by the negligent actions of careless property owners. In these situations, it is always in your best interest to contact a knowledgeable New Jersey premises liability lawyer to review your case and help you understand the legal action you may be able to take to receive compensation for the pain you’ve been forced to endure.
Common Types Of Lawsuits
There is a wide range of accidents that can be classified as premises liability cases. Furthermore, they can occur in a variety of places such as businesses, homes, construction sites, backyards, and more. The most common types of lawsuits include:
- Slip and fall
- Snow and ice accidents
- Inadequate maintenance of the property
- Defective conditions
- Inadequate building security leading to injury or assault
- Elevator and escalator accidents
- Porch or stair collapse
- Dog bites
- Unsafe swimming pools
- Amusement park accidents
- Water leaks or flooding
- Toxic fumes and chemicals
Accidents like these can result in serious injuries or even death. If you have suffered injuries and believe the property owner should be held responsible for the damages, you will need legal representation to assist you in filing a lawsuit to receive any compensation you may be owed.
Establishing A Property Owner’s Negligence
Most personal injury cases are based on establishing negligence, and premises liability lawsuits are no exception. Many states require property owners to exercise a ‘duty of reasonable care’ in regards to keeping their property safe and warning visitors of any potential dangers. However, keep in mind that just because you were injured on someone else’s property does not immediately mean they’re negligent and should be held liable. Furthermore, even if the property was in a dangerous state when you were injured, the owner still might not be considered negligent.
To receive coverage, the victim must prove that their injuries were a direct result of the property owner’s negligence or failure to use reasonable care in respect to the maintenance or safety procedures of the building. Additionally, you must demonstrate that the owner knew, or should have known, that their property was unsafe and they still failed to take appropriate action. For example, if an intruder breaks into an apartment building and assaults or kills a tenant, that person or their family may have a case against the building’s owner if it can be proved that the owner was fully aware of the dangers, yet ignored his or her duty of care and did not take measures to secure the building properly.
Unfortunately, situations like this happen because not all property owners take responsibility for the safety of their buildings. Even if you’re certain your injuries were the result of a property owner’s negligence, it can be challenging to navigate the legal process to receive the compensation you deserve. This is where an experienced attorney comes in. After being unnecessarily injured on someone else’s property, you need a skilled lawyer who is familiar with the elements of premises liability cases to help you effectively establish the owner’s negligence.
Understanding An Owner’s ‘Duty of Care’
Premises liability cases can become rather complex because such a broad scope of accidents can potentially fall under this type of personal injury law. Plus, it is difficult to determine the owner’s part in your injury. While property owners in most states are obligated to show a ‘duty of care’ for the responsibility and upkeep of their building or home in order to ensure it’s safe for any visitors, some states abide by an older rule that removes this duty depending on the status of the individual visiting the property. Traditionally, there are three categories that determine the ‘status’ of all property visitors:
- Invitee – an invitee is a guest that the property owner has explicitly given permission to enter. Invitees usually consist of friends, family, or neighbors. In this case, the owner typically owes an invitee a duty of care, promising to keep the property reasonably safe.
- Licensee – this type of visitor has permission to enter but is coming onto the property for their own reasons. Property owners owe licensee visitors a duty of care to warn them of any known dangers that aren’t obvious. Think of a salesman seeing a sign warning them of an aggressive dog behind the fence.
- Trespasser – In the past, property owners did not owe trespassers a duty of care. However, the significance of these distinctions was abolished by a California Supreme Court ruling in 1968 that decided property owners should show a “single duty of reasonable care in all circumstances,” no matter the visitor’s status. While it is very rare for a landowner to be held liable when the injured party was trespassing, the landowner cannot simply treat the trespasser however they please. Nor can they leave their building or home in a known dangerous condition that will bring unreasonable harm.
The lines between these groupings are easily blurred, and the rules have evolved and varied from state to state. Only a New Jersey premises liability lawyer can help you understand if you have a valid case against a property owner after an injury.
Contact Peter N. Davis & Associates To Fight For The Coverage You Deserve
If you or a loved one believe you have grounds for a lawsuit, call the Law Offices of Peter N. Davis & Associates today for a free case evaluation. These situations can be confusing and stressful when you need to receive coverage for the pain inflicted upon you. Don’t wait to call. Some accidents, such as a slip and fall on someone else’s property, have a statute of limitations in the state of New Jersey, meaning if you miss the deadline to file an insurance claim or lawsuit it could hinder your chances of receiving the compensation you need. Contact us today at 973-279-7246, so we can start fighting for you.
About The Author
Jim Glaser is a premises liability lawyer in Boston, Massachusetts and founder of Jim Glaser Law. Jim Glaser Law operates offices in both Sharon and Cambridge, Massachusetts and also welcomes cases from Rhode Island, and New Hampshire.