Property owners possess a duty to keep their property safe.  When property owners fail to do so, people are hurt.  Anytime someone sustains injury while on someone else’s property, claims arising out of the injury involve some form of “premises liability.” Premises liability claims include:

  • Slip and falls,
  • Snow, ice, or water left on walkways,
  • Poor construction,
  • Defective building materials,
  • Defective conditions,
  • Dog bites,
  • Improper maintenance,
  • Building code violations,
  • Elevator, escalator, and stairway accidents,
  • Swimming pool accidents,
  • Toxic fumes or chemicals,
  • Fires,
  • Poor lighting or inadequate signage,
  • Failure to warn,
  • Falling objects,
  • Building collapse,
  • Inadequate security,
  • Explosions,
  • Balcony, porch, and deck collapses or defects,
  • Carbon monoxide injuries,
  • Malfunctioning automatic doors,
  • Unprotected holes in walking areas and uneven surfaces,
  • Theme park or amusement park ride accidents, and
  • Window falls.

In most premises liability cases, the injured person must show the property owner was negligent in the maintenance, ownership, control, or repair of the property.  “Negligence” can include a showing that the property owner knew or should have known of an unsafe condition and failed to take appropriate measures to fix the condition.

Property owners have a duty to use ordinary care to identify and repair dangers on the property and warn guests and visitors of known dangers.  Most jurisdictions are moving toward a general rule requiring property owners to exercise reasonable care in the ownership, control, maintenance, and repair of their property with respect to anyone who might enter their premises.  But, some jurisdictions apply an old rule which limits the property owner’s duty depending on the status of the injured person.  In jurisdictions applying the old rule, visitors to property are divided into three categories: invitees, licensees, and trespassers.  An invitee is someone with express or implied permission to enter the property (friends, relatives, neighbors, and customers).  A property owner owes the highest duty of care to invitees and must take precautions to ensure an invitee’s safety.  A licensee is someone with permission to enter the property, but who enters the property for his or her own purposes (like a salesman).  Property owners still owe licensees a duty, but the duty is less than the duty owed to invitees.  A trespasser is someone who enters the property without the owner’s permission.  Traditionally, property owners owed no duty to trespassers, with the exception of trespassing children in certain situations (like swimming pools).

Different local, national, and state codes govern the construction, maintenance, operation, and repair of property.  At the law offices of DeCamillis & Mattingly, PLLC, we have worked with nationally renowned experts to pursue negligence claims against architects, builders, contractors, property managers, and property owners.  We possess the knowledge and experience to evaluate codes, investigate premises liability cases, and hold negligent property owners accountable.  If you or someone you know sustained injury on someone else’s property, contact us today at (502) 589-2822.