Who Can Be Held Liable For Dangerous Property Conditions?
Premises Liability is a legal cause of action holding landowners, or people in possession and control of real property, legally liable for injuries and damage caused by certain kinds of dangerous conditions.
PREMISES LIABILITY APPLIES TO PEOPLE WHO OWN OR CONTROL REAL PROPERTY.
Liability for dangerous conditions on land (and certain types of fixtures, buildings, and improvements on that land) can apply to:
— land owners.
— lessees/tenants and other people in possession of premises.
— people who control, or have the legal right to control, premises.
“Premises” means real property (land), but it can also refer to buildings, rental spaces, and other places people can enter on or into.
PEOPLE WHO OWN AND CONTROL LAND HAVE A DUTY TO KEEP PREMISES REASONABLY SAFE AND IN COMPLIANCE WITH LAW.
People who own, possess, and control premises to which liability laws apply have two different duties of care and maintenance relating to the property:
1. A duty to exercise ordinary, reasonable care in managing and maintaining property.
2. A duty to act in a reasonable manner in order to prevent harm to other people resulting from dangerous conditions on the land.
In both cases, the person who owns or controls the property must behave in a reasonable manner. Premises liability requires more than a “trivial defect,” and repair, mitigation or prevention of the defect must have been reasonable–property owners are generally not held accountable for failing to prevent injuries that no one could have foreseen.
The most important element in determining whether a person can be sued for premises liability is the degree of control the potential defendant had over the subject property. In most cases, only a person who had control (or, in some cases, ownership) over the property at the time of the injury can be sued for premises liability. Exceptions do exist; for example, where a prior owner knew about the dangerous condition, did not disclose it to the new owner, and the new owner did not discover the problem in time to repair or prevent the harm.
If you were injured on someone else’s property, consult a lawyer promptly for an evaluation of your rights and your potential claims.