According to the National Floor Safety Institute, most accidental deaths in the home are caused by a fall and they occur in virtually all service and manufacturing sectors. These reasons are why any people often question if they are liable if someone falls on their private or commercial property. To answer this question correctly, you must first know the legal status of the visitor who fell on your property.
There is also a legal term known as “ premises liability” that you should become familiar with. Even if you are renting a property, you can still be held liable if someone gets injured. If you want to know exactly what could happen if someone falls on your property, the best course of action is to consult a slip and fall lawyer.
What is Premises Liability?
This legislation covers accidents such as slips and falls that are caused by dangerous conditions on someone’s else’s property. In order for a property owner to be held legally responsible when someone falls on the property and sustains injuries, there are a few criteria that are used to determine who is responsible.
Liability occurs when at least one of the following are true:
- The property owner created a dangerous condition that led to an accident
- The property owner knew about the hazardous condition and took no action to correct it
- The property owner should have been aware of the unsafe condition beforehand and should have taken corrective action to prevent injuries, as a “reasonable person” would do
Legal Status of the Visitor
Some states apply four different labels that focus only on the legal status of the visitor to the property. The four labels are: invitee, licensee, social guest, or trespasser.
- Invitee – Someone who is invited onto the property of another such as a customer who enters a retail business.
- Licensee – Enters the property for his/her own purpose or as a social guest. This person enters the property with the owner’s consent.
- Social Guest – A person who is welcomed onto the property
- Trespasser – Enters the property without any right to do
Once a label is determined, there are different laws that apply in regards to liability.
What You May Be Liable For
Common sense is often used by judges and juries to determine whether the owner of the property took the proper steps to keep the property safe before and during the time the victim was on the property. Many people think liability only applies to owners, but renters can be held accountable as well. An examination of a number of factors who determine liability to include:
- How the property was being put into use
- Circumstances under which the visitor entered the property
- Reasonableness of the owner/renter to repair a dangerous situation and give warning to visitors
- Foreseeability of the accident or injury that happened
Liability is also determined by the laws and procedures of the state where the injury took place. Some states will focus on the property and the activities of the visitor and the owner. Others will determine liability by focusing on the status of the injured visitor.
Consult a Slip and Fall Attorney
Determining liability if someone falls on your property, whether it is a home or commercial business, can be determined by speaking with a slip and fall lawyer Charlottesville VA relies on. Give us a call today so we may help you limit your liability and provide relevant counsel if you have a liability claim.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from MartinWren P.C. for their insight into slip and fall cases.