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What is “Premises Liability” and Who Is Liable?

PREMISES LIABILITY IS A FORM OF NEGLIGENCE RELATING TO THE USE AND MAINTENANCE OF REAL PROPERTY

“Premises” is another word for real property, which means land, and the buildings and other improvements made to land. Premises liability is a form of negligence, under which the people who own, control, or (in appropriate circumstances) manage real property may be held liable for failing to comply with a duty they owe to an injured person (or to the public at large).

CLAIMS FOR PREMISES LIABILITY INVOLVE THE SAME BASIC ELEMENTS AS OTHER NEGLIGENCE CLAIMS 

The elements of a claim for premises liability are similar to those of any negligence action. An injured plaintiff must prove duty, breach, causation and damages, each to the requisite legal standard of proof. While the details, and applicable laws, may differ from other negligence claims, the plaintiff’s basic obligations–to prove each element of the claim with admissible, legally recognized evidence–is the same.

WHO CAN BE HELD LIABLE UNDER PREMISES LIABILITY LAW?

People sometimes ask “who can be held liable for premises liability” – but the proper question is actually who is liable under premises liability law.

This branch of law creates potential liability for people (and legal entities like corporations, LLCs, and partnerships) who:

1.  Own real property (including land, buildings, condominimums, and other forms of real estate).

2. Lease real property (which may include both the landlord or “lessor” and the tenant or “lessee”).

3. Manage real property (Note: property managers are not always legally liable for injuries or property damage occurring on the property they manage, and in many cases the property owner must indemnify–legally protect–the property manager, there are circumstances where a manager may have liability, either under this or other under branches of the law).

4. Control real property.

While all of these people may have legal liability for negligence related to the use, management, and control of land, liability is not absolute. This means that injured people cannot always guarantee recovery–whether or not premises liability law applies, and whether or not liability exists, depends on the unique facts and circumstances of every case. Injured people should always consult an experienced attorney promptly for an individual assessment of their cases, rights, and potential claims.

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Disclaimer: THIS ARTICLE IS FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY, AND DOES NOT CONSTITUTE LEGAL ADVICE OR CREATE AN ATTORNEY-CLIENT RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE AUTHOR OR ROSS LAW AND ANY PERSON. Your rights and experiences may vary. Never use an online article (including this one) to evaluate your legal claims. Speak with an experienced lawyer promptly to obtain a personalized evaluation of your claims, possible damages, and options. You may lose or compromise your rights if you delay in consulting legal counsel. Most legal claims (and defenses) are complicated and fact-dependent. If you believe you have a claim against someone who injured you, a lawyer who represented you in a previous lawsuit, or any other type of legal claim, consult an experienced lawyer immediately for an evaluation of your personal rights and claims.

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