Imagine the following scenario: you’re shopping at local supermarket when, while passing by some food freezers, you slip on some leaking water and injure your wrist. Do you have a claim against the store for a premises liability claim?
Many injury victims who have been hurt under similar circumstances are unsure how to proceed. Was it really the store’s fault? Why wasn’t anyone else hurt? How would I even prove that it wasn’t my fault?
The truth of the matter is that the viability of these kinds of premises liability claims lies with a legal concept called “duty of care.”
Duty of care is the legal obligation that residential and commercial property owners have to welcome visitors of their property to provide safe conditions. When they do not, and someone is hurt, then they may be held financially responsible for the accident.
ARE YOU OWED DUTY OF CARE?
The first step in determining your premises liability claim is establishing what kind of visitor you were to the property. Notice, above, we define “welcome visitors” to a property. This is important, because not everyone who enters a property is automatically owed duty of care.
The different kinds of visitors to a property include:
- Invitees: these are individuals who are actively invited to a property. This includes social guests in a home and customers in commercial setting. “Customers” can mean patrons, ticket buyers, shoppers, and any other individual who enters the property during business hours to spend money. Invitees are owed duty of care.
- Licenses: these are individuals who are not necessarily invited to a property, but are allowed to enter the premises. This can include delivery people and service professionals. Licensees, in most circumstances, are owned duty of care.
- Trespassers: trespassers are anyone who enters a property without permission from the property owner. These individuals are usually breaking the law and are not owed duty of care if they are hurt.
Children constitute delicate and nuanced circumstances when it comes to determining whether or not duty of care is owed to them. If your child was hurt due to dangerous property conditions, call our firm today to start exploring your legal options.
“SO DO I HAVE A CLAIM?”
In the original example above, yes, the shopper who slipped on the puddle beside the leaking freezer does have a claim against the store: they were an invitee on the premises during normal business hours. With assistance from their attorney, they should be able to prove that the leaking freezer should have reasonably been addressed before someone got hurt and, because the store did not, they owe the injury victim compensation.
It is important to note that, in proving negligence by a property owner, the plaintiff must also prove that the owner had reasonable time to address the dangerous condition. Let’s change the circumstances of the example slightly to illustrate: you’re shopping at your local supermarket and drop a beverage while you’re walking down the aisle andslip and hurt yourself. Because now the dangerous conditions were caused by you (dropping the beverage) and the store staff had no time to address the spill, you would not have a viable claim against the property owner.
If you or a loved one has been hurt due to the dangerous conditions on someone else’s property, the dedicated and aggressive Dalton personal injury attorneys at McMahan Law Firm, LLC are ready to hear your story. We know how to properly investigate and document these cases and ensure that your claim to compensation is both thorough and compelling.
Start exploring your claim options with our proven injury advocates today. Use our online form to request afree case evaluation now.