Duty of Care Owed to Victims in a Premises Liability Claim
Accidents that occur on someone else’s property are very common. “Premises Liability” cases hold the owner of the property liable for accidents that occur on their land. Owners owe victims a general duty of care to remove known dangers or dangers they should have known about from the premises. Injured victims may be able to file a successful premises liability claim against the property owner for damages.
Duty of Care in a Premises Liability Claim
In order for a victim to have a successful premises liability claim—and recover damages—a victim will need to prove that the property owner breached the duty of care that was owed to the victim. When a person owns a property they typically owe a “duty of care” to invitees, guests, and others who may reside or stay at the property. Property owners have a duty to ensure their properties are reasonably safe and to remedy any known dangers or dangers they should have known about in a reasonable amount of time. If a property owners fail to maintain their property—thus breaching their duty—and someone is injured on the property—the owner could be liable. The duty of care may extend to a person occupying and controlling a property rather than the owner. In these cases, it is important to know who controls the property, where the accident occurs, and whether there are any other factors that could cause complications with claim or compensation. The duty of care owed to victims only applies to those who are legally on the property—property owners don’t owe trespassers a duty of care. Property owners only need to refrain from using willful or wanton harm against a trespasser.
What a Victim Needs to Prove to Hold a Property Owner Liable for Their Injuries
An injured victim needs to prove that a property owner breached their duty of care owed to the victim and that breach resulted in harm or injury. A victim will need to produce evidence that a dangerous condition existed on the property, an owner knew or reasonably should have known of the dangerous condition, and the property owner failed to remedy the danger in a reasonable period of time. Further, a victim will need to show they were on the property legally, the danger caused the victim’s injury, and that the victim suffered actual damages due to the accident.
Negligence in the Duty of Care
Failure to use reasonable care and protect someone that resides on or is invited to a property generally applies to either negligence or a breach in the duty of care in a premises liability situation. A property owner may act negligently and cause injury to others to occur which often leads to a less difficult claim to prove against the owner for injured victims. If a property owner knows there are dangers on the property but that are not “dangerous enough” to remove, it is possible that a victim can prove negligence. Some negligent activity is less easily observed such as dangers when repairing an item that only dangerous to others for a short time or if the owner does not believe a danger could cause harm to someone.
Claims Against the Controlling Party
As aforementioned, sometimes a party that controls a property rather than the owner of the property is the persons that owes guests or those residing on the property the duty of care. When the controlling party is not the owner of the property, the victim of the accident will need to prove the defending party was responsible for property at the time of the accident. Further, as in typical premises liability cases, that the injuries were a result of the defendant’s negligence or breach in duty of care. The controlling party has the same duty as a property owner—to make all reasonable efforts to remove dangers to invitees and guests on the property.
An Attorney Can Help Navigate
If you were injured on someone else’s property, the best way to recover is to focus on you and your health. You can focus better on your health if you let an experienced attorney handle the stress that comes with trying to navigate a lawsuit and get a fair settlement. Find an experienced personal injury attorney to help you navigate this complex process. Call Mark Grover with the Grover Law Firm at 913-432-1000 to set up your free consultation.
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