What Fall Under Premise Liability

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Premise liability is a legal concept roughly stating that property owners have an obligation to ensure the safety of those who visit their business or residence.  When property owners fail to meet minimal obligations ensuring their visitor’s safety, they can be held liable for visitors resulting injuries, accidents, or wrongful death.  The following are a few instances that fall under premise liability cases:
  • Slip and fall cases
  • Ice or snow accidents
  • Dog bites
  • Stairwell and stair injuries
  • Loose or missing handrails 
  • Driveway and walkway injuries
  • Inadequate lighting 
  • Inadequate security that leads to injury or assault
  • Failure to mark or block off construction zones
  • Leaking water or flooding
  • Toxic fumes or chemicals
Most premise injury cases are based on negligence, to win a premise liability case, the victim must prove the owner of the property was negligent with general maintenance of the property, with negligence defined as failing to take reasonable care of their property.  

It is worth noting that it does not define property owner negligence solely because you were injured on another’s property.  Furthermore, just because the property was in an unsafe condition does not dictate that the property owner was negligent.  An individual must show that the property owner knew that or should have reasonably been aware that the premise was in an unsafe condition, and further, failed to take proper measures to remediate the situation. 

Types of Premise Liability

Premise liability cases can vary widely; even dog bites fall under premise liability because animals are considered property, reside on the property, and present a potentially unsafe condition.   In addition, although many states require owners to exercise reasonable care and maintenance in property ownership concerning visitors of the property, other states utilize an older statute that may limit the property owner’s responsibilities dependent on the condition of the visitor.

In these states, visitors are divided into three categories: invitees, licensees, and trespassers.

An invitee is an individual that has the property owner’s implied or express permission to enter the property.  Invitees are people such as friends, neighbors, and relatives.  The property owner is this situation owes an invitee the duty of reasonable care to keep the property fairly safe for the invitee.

A licensee is an individual who has the property owner’s implied or express permission to enter the property. However, the licensee is entering the property for personal or business purposes.  Licensees are generally individuals like salespeople.  The property owner, by tradition, owes a licensee the lesser duty of warning the licensee of hazardous conditions that may create an unreasonable risk of harm if the property owner is aware of a situation, and the licensee is unlikely to discover it.

A trespasser is an individual that is not authorized to be on the property.  Customarily, property owners owe no duty to trespassers except in the event the trespasser is a child.  In cases like these, the property owner is obliged to exercise reasonable care to prevent a foreseeable and reasonable risk of harm to children produced by artificial conditions (i.e., swimming pools).

Because these rules can be pretty convoluted and differ from state to state, you should contact an experienced local premise liability lawyer about questions of liability.

Premises Liability Cases
Slip and Fall are fairly straightforward premises liability cases.  Slip and Fall liability occurs when a visitor slips, trips, and/or falls on another’s property.  Several conditions that lead to a slip, trip, and fall are:

  • Defective staircases and hand railings
  • Ice and occasionally snow in the south
  • Wet flooring
  • Slippery or oily floors
  • Unseen extension cords
  • Loose rugs or carpets
  • Thresholds, broken or loose floors, steps, sidewalks, or stairs

Inadequate Building Security cases usually arise in apartment complexes or office buildings.  Owners of multi-family and commercial spaces have a duty to perform reasonable security measures to access the facilities. This duty is why larger apartment communities and office buildings typically have doormen or security guards.  Smaller communities and buildings typically tenants to maintain locked front and back doors.  If an assault or worse happens due to an unlocked door, the victim may have a premises liability case against the property owner;  if it can be proven the property owner did not take reasonable actions in securing the property.

Swimming Pool Accidents generally involve unsupervised children and an unsecured swimming pool.  For this reason, nearly all states and towns have laws and regulations that require swimming pools to be enclosed in a fence, often with a keypad or keyed locking gate.

Do you have questions for a premise liability attorney in Lake Charles, LA?  Call Lundy, Lundy, Soileau & South for a free consultation 337-439-0707.


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