Premises liability refers to when an individual has been injured on or by another individual’s property. Premises liability is classified as a civil tort claim and recoverable compensation is limited to compensatory damages in most cases. Punitive damages may be awarded in some situations, but this will require taking an injury claim to trial.
Winning a Premises Liability Case
Premises liability claims can be filed against both private individuals and commercial entities, including landlords, but the two basic requirements are the same. The plaintiff legal counsel must provide evidence that an injury actually occurred, and then demonstrate that the injury occurred because of the property owner’s negligence.
Simply being on the defending respondent’s property does not make a claim valid. In addition, all states use some form of contributory negligence legal doctrine, and the court will evaluate the plaintiff for a reasonable assumption of risk. This is a common liability defense, and will generally result in a percentage reduction of the claim value.
Many times a premises liability claim will involve an insurance company that carries liability protection for the property owner. This means that there will often be more than one entity investigating the claim and having standing for legal input. Often times a lawsuit is filed because an insurance company has denied the claim even when the property owner acknowledges that the accident occurred and they are legally responsible.
In addition, many states use contributory negligence doctrine that assesses the injured victim’s reasonable assumption of risk in the incident. Multiple defendants will always complicate the claim in some manner.
Reasonable Duty of Care
Property owners are responsible for property maintenance with regard to potential safety issues that may cause an accident. Examples of poor property maintenance extend beyond structural repairs, as other examples can include untrimmed trees and exposed or damaged electrical components. This includes appliances and breaker boxes. Damaged electrical lines can also include the utilities company as a potential co-defendant because the company is responsible for line repair. This is often an issue in cases stemming from rental property that is not reasonably maintained.
Property owners who are aware of a potential problem and do not attempt repairing the defective property are often found negligent, which is crucial in a successful premises liability claim. However, in commercial cases, accidents as simple as a slip and fall injury can be recovered when the case is presented properly. Proving a breach of reasonable duty of care can be complicated, so having a diligent attorney is necessary for a maximized claim.
Typical Compensatory Damage Claims
Compensatory damages can be recovered for all medical bills associated with an injury, as well as recovery for any valid financial expenses incurred by the plaintiff. Premises liability can also cover property damage in some instances, such as damage to a personal vehicle. Many times a property damage claimant can include the actual property owner when the insurance carrier denies a claim. Injured victims can also recover damages for pain and suffering, but these damages are classified as non-economic compensatory damages.
How we can help you
Pursuing a claim for premises liability can be very complicated. Premises liability cases have several legal components which make them particularly difficult to understand. In order to ensure the best result for your case, it is recommended that you work with a qualified legal professional.
Have You Been Injured In An Accident Virginia, Maryland or Washington D.C.?
If you've been hurt in an accident you need to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. Please contact us online or call our Vienna, Virgnia office directly at 703.991.7978 or our Rockville, Maryland office at 301.637.5392 to schedule your case consultation.