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How to Prove Injury on Someones Property?

Thousands of accidents occur each year on someone else's property. Whether it is a slip and fall, falling down a flight of stairs, or an injury from a falling object sometimes it is difficult to determine whether it is your fault or the fault of the property owner. If you have questions about your injury you can discuss your case with a personal injury lawyer.

General guidelines for determining premise liability

In general, assuming you legally enter another person's property or business, there is an expectation that the owner has kept the property safe and properly maintained. If a business owner or homeowner fails to perform their legal duty, they may be responsible for accidents and injuries that occur on their property.

To determine liability after an injury on someone's property the court will review several elements of the case. For example, the court may review whether the injured party was a trespasser who did not have the right to enter the property, a guest who was invited onto the property, or a licensee who entered the property for their own purpose with the owner's consent.

State laws vary. For instance, some states will allow that the invitees, social guests, and licensees should be able to expect reasonable care, while the trespasser should not.

The court will also review a variety of other factors including:

  • Did the owner cause the damage?
  • Did the owner know about the damage but failed to perform their duty to fix it?
  • Should the owner have known about the damage if they did not?
  • Did the injured party have a legitimate reason for being on the property or in the dangerous area? Could this reason have been anticipated?
  • Would a reasonable person have anticipated the danger and avoided it?
  • Did any of the injured party's actions contribute to the accident? For instance, was the injured party running or not paying attention?
  • Did the owner provide warning signs?
  • Did the property owner take what the court considers "reasonable care" to repair the property (i.e. they had a regular maintenance schedule)?
  • How long did the danger exist?
  • Did the object or situation that caused the injury have a legitimate purpose? For instance, if an individual tripped over a drain or a curb the court might conclude the object was a hazard, but it had a legitimate purpose and was permanent.

Other issues can also be considered. For instance, although an object may be needed and is permanent the court could determine the store or person had a responsibility to warn guests or provided better lighting.

Determining fault

Assuming you have a great premise liability claim and you believe you are entitled to compensation it is also important to understand states have different laws to determine how to allocate damages for premise liability cases.

In some states if you are responsible for your own injuries you may not be entitled to any compensation. Other states will only allow compensation to the injured party if they are 50% or less responsible for their injuries. Other states will determine the fault for each party and award compensation accordingly.

Given the information provided above and the complexity of personal injury law, you might want to discuss your case with an injury lawyer.