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Premises Liability Claims

Fairfax Injury Lawyer Explains Premises Liability Components

Brien Roche

Premises Liability Claims

For instance, if you slip and fall on a liquid that is on the floor in the local supermarket, do you necessarily have a basis for a claim against the owner of the supermarket? You may not. You must present some evidence of how long that liquid had been on the floor. If it turns out that the liquid had only been there a short period of time and is there because of the actions of some other customer you may have a problem. That is,the property owner did not have a reasonable opportunity to see the liquid and clean it up. There may not be any negligence on the part of that property owner.

The logic of this rule is that a property owner is not a guarantor of the safety of all persons on his premises. The owner is simply required to exercise ordinary care. Obviously he can only exercise ordinary care as to those defects or deficiencies that he has some knowledge of or that he should have known of. In that same example, if you were able to prove that the liquid had been on the floor for twenty minutes, then that may be sufficient to make out a claim against the property owner. Within that period of time it could well be argued to a jury that the property owner should have known that the liquid was on the floor. Therefore he should have cleaned it up or placed signs out to warn customers of the presence of the wet floor. An alternative theory of liability is that the management is negligent in that they do not have an adequate system in place for discovering the defects/deficiencies on the premises i.e. the negligence is systemic and not anecdotal.These premises liability components all must be satisfied to make out a claim.

Premises Liability Components-Example of Injury Claim

Suppose you are a tenant in a large apartment building and there have been a series of crimes committed resulting in serious personal injuries to the occupants. The property owner is aware of those crimes yet takes no steps whatsoever to warn other tenants of the crime wave in that building. The owner likewise takes no steps to improve security in the building. If you are subsequently injured as a result of a person coming onto the premises for the purpose of committing a crime then you may have a claim against that property owner. It would be based upon a negligence theory. That is, the property owner knew or should have known that there was a danger to the tenants yet the property owner took no steps to either warn the tenants or to decrease the security risk to the tenants.
Lets look at the claim from the point of view of how the four elements of a tort claim apply. The first element of a tort claim is the establishment of a duty owed by the defendant to the plaintiff. The duty in this case arises out of the relationship of the parties. That is, the property owner or the landlord owes a duty of reasonable care to persons who are lawfully on the premises. You may ask what is reasonable care?
Reasonable care is essentially whatever a jury says it is. A textbook definition of reasonable care is that degree of care that a prudent person would exercise in that circumstance. If the owner failed to take some steps to warn the persons lawfully on the premises of the danger then that may be evidence of a breach of the duty to exercise reasonable care.
That breach of duty must be shown to be a cause of injury. The final element of premises liability components is simply that of injury or damage. In this case, the injury or damage consists of the personal injury to the plaintiff.
For additional information on premises liability components see also tips on premises liability claims and also the pages on Wikipedia.

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Premises Liability Claims

Fairfax Injury Lawyer Explains Premises Liability Components

Brien Roche

Premises Liability Claims

For instance, if you slip and fall on a liquid that is on the floor in the local supermarket, do you necessarily have a basis for a claim against the owner of the supermarket? You may not. You must present some evidence of how long that liquid had been on the floor. If it turns out that the liquid had only been there a short period of time and is there because of the actions of some other customer you may have a problem. That is,the property owner did not have a reasonable opportunity to see the liquid and clean it up. There may not be any negligence on the part of that property owner.

The logic of this rule is that a property owner is not a guarantor of the safety of all persons on his premises. The owner is simply required to exercise ordinary care. Obviously he can only exercise ordinary care as to those defects or deficiencies that he has some knowledge of or that he should have known of. In that same example, if you were able to prove that the liquid had been on the floor for twenty minutes, then that may be sufficient to make out a claim against the property owner. Within that period of time it could well be argued to a jury that the property owner should have known that the liquid was on the floor. Therefore he should have cleaned it up or placed signs out to warn customers of the presence of the wet floor. An alternative theory of liability is that the management is negligent in that they do not have an adequate system in place for discovering the defects/deficiencies on the premises i.e. the negligence is systemic and not anecdotal.These premises liability components all must be satisfied to make out a claim.

Premises Liability Components-Example of Injury Claim

Suppose you are a tenant in a large apartment building and there have been a series of crimes committed resulting in serious personal injuries to the occupants. The property owner is aware of those crimes yet takes no steps whatsoever to warn other tenants of the crime wave in that building. The owner likewise takes no steps to improve security in the building. If you are subsequently injured as a result of a person coming onto the premises for the purpose of committing a crime then you may have a claim against that property owner. It would be based upon a negligence theory. That is, the property owner knew or should have known that there was a danger to the tenants yet the property owner took no steps to either warn the tenants or to decrease the security risk to the tenants.
Lets look at the claim from the point of view of how the four elements of a tort claim apply. The first element of a tort claim is the establishment of a duty owed by the defendant to the plaintiff. The duty in this case arises out of the relationship of the parties. That is, the property owner or the landlord owes a duty of reasonable care to persons who are lawfully on the premises. You may ask what is reasonable care?
Reasonable care is essentially whatever a jury says it is. A textbook definition of reasonable care is that degree of care that a prudent person would exercise in that circumstance. If the owner failed to take some steps to warn the persons lawfully on the premises of the danger then that may be evidence of a breach of the duty to exercise reasonable care.
That breach of duty must be shown to be a cause of injury. The final element of premises liability components is simply that of injury or damage. In this case, the injury or damage consists of the personal injury to the plaintiff.
For additional information on premises liability components see also tips on premises liability claims and also the pages on Wikipedia.

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Contact Us For A Free Consultation