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Who is Accountable for Premises Liability Accidents

When an accident occurs on or around building and grounds, it is referred to as a “premises liability” accident. This type of accident can happen on public property, such as public transportation, parks or streets. Premises liability accidents can also occur at a commercial building like an office or store, or at a residence, such as a rental or private home.

Some of the things that can happen to you in premises liability accidents are having an object hit or fall on you, tripping, slipping or falling. These things usually happen as the result of dangerous clutter, faulty design, poor maintenance or shoddy building or construction materials.

When premise liability accidents occur and someone is injured, who is accountable for these accidents?

In premises liability accidents, there are two basic things to consider. They are that the owner has a responsibility to keep their property safe, and the visitor has to use the property normally.

A legal obligation

First, the owner or the person occupying the property has a legal obligation to anyone who comes on to the property. This includes a business or personal visitor, a tenant or a shopper. The owner or occupier has a legal obligation to not subject a person coming on to the property to an unreasonable risk of injury due to the construction, condition or design of the property.

The idea behind this legal obligation regarding premises liability accidents is basic and simple. While the visitor has no control over the safety of the property, the owner does. For instance, if the owner of a building has a stair that is broken and does not repair it, he or she is accountable if someone trips and falls and is injured on that broken stair.

On the other hand, a visitor has a responsibility to use the property normally. This has to do with how a visitor conducts themselves on the property. If a visitor is injured as a result of conducting themselves in an unauthorized, unexpected or dangerously careless manner, the owner or occupier is not accountable for the visitor’s injury. For example, if a visitor is jumping down several stairs at a time and falls and is injured, the owner or occupier is not held accountable for the injury.

Two different people

In many instances, the owner and occupier of a particular piece of property may be two different people. One person may own a building while another person is occupying the building to run a business of some kind. Or, one person may own a home while another person is occupying or living in the home, renting the home from the owner.

If you are the innocent victim of a premises liability accident, and the owner and occupier of the property on which you were injured are two different people, who should you bring a personal injury claim against? It is always a wise idea to file a personal injury claim against both the owner and the occupier. It is the job of the insurance companies to determine which one, or both, is accountable for your accident. It is also wise to have a personal injury attorney standing with you as you file a personal injury claim.

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