Winning A Premises Liability Case: A Step-By-Step Guide
October 1, 2019
Overview of Premises Liability
If you are injured in a fall or another accident on someone else’s property, the owner may be held liable for your injuries. This is known as premises liability. There are a number of factors that can affect the amount of evidence you will need to prove liability and the likelihood of your case succeeding. Here is a short overview of premises liability.
Premises liability is based on common negligence principles. First, the injured party must prove that the person owned, leased, or was in residence on the property where the event occurred. Then, they need to show that person’s negligent action (or inaction) was the cause of the victim’s injuries. Lastly, the plaintiff needs to provide evidence of real, actual harm done to them in the form of damages, either to person or property.
If you are looking to bring a premises liability claim against a property owner, it is important to understand what your visitor status is for legal purposes. There are three levels, each earning a different level of care under the law. The highest status is that of the invitee. An invitee is someone who is expressly or impliedly invited (as the name suggests) onto the owner’s property, such as a business visitor or a social guest. The property owner has the duty to ensure that the premises is safe for them, and that the owner took reasonable steps to make it that way.
The middle tier of visitor status is the licensee. A licensee is someone allowed upon another’s property, either expressed or implied. The difference between the invitee and the licensee stems from the fact that a licensee is on the owner’s property for their own purposes and not the benefit of the owner, such as in a business situation. Friends and family visits usually fall in this category. The owner in this case has the duty to warn them of dangers on the property, and make sure to avoid willfully negligent conduct.
The last (and lowest) tier is that of the trespasser. As the name suggests, these individuals are on the owner’s property without permission. They are afforded the lowest level of care under the law. All the owner needs to do is refrain from willfully injuring the trespasser.
Negligent Behavior And Other Considerations
As stated above, what rises to the level of negligent behavior depends on the status of the person who is injured. An example for an invitee might be a slip and fall accident in a puddle of water negligently left on the floor. For a licensee this might be a failure to warn a visitor about a broken diving board at the backyard pool. In addition, the victim needs to be able to provide evidence of actual harm/injury they suffered as a result of the accident. Providing documentation of medical treatment and a need for future therapy is a good example.
It is also important to note that visitor status can shift depending on the circumstances of the case. If a licensee is allowed onto a particular part of the premises and willingly exceeds that invitation, they can become a trespasser.
Seek Legal Help!
All lawsuits can be complex matters that often take the expertise of an attorney to handle properly. The best way to protect your rights and ensure you get the fair amount for your injuries is to seek help from an experienced personal injury lawyer.
Contact A Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Premises Liability Case Today!
Did you or a loved one sustain serious injuries on someone else’s property in Pennsylvania? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party or their insurance company to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive personal injury attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at Purchase, George, and Murphey, P.C. represent clients throughout Pennsylvania, including Erie, Meadville, and Edinboro, Pennsylvania. Call 814.833.7100 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 2525 W 26th St., Erie, PA 16506, as well as offices at The Masonic Building 310 Chestnut St, Suite 111 Meadville, PA 16335 and at 68 East Main Street, North East, PA 16428.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.