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Accidents on someone else’s property: who is responsible?

| Jun 9, 2016 | Injuries |

Recently, a deck collapsed on a mansion in Brooklyn injuring 16 people. So far, the owner of the property has been slapped with code violations, including fines, but there is a good chance that at least some of the injured persons will file a premises liability case with a personal injury attorney. A premises liability case looks into injuries that happened on someone else’s property due to its negligent upkeep. It does not cover any injury that happens outside a person’s own home. In most cases the following conditions must apply:

  • The injured person needs to have been lawfully on the property — such as an invited guest to the party.
  • It needs to be shown that there was a known dangerous condition, and the owner neglected to do anything about it. (Such as up-keeping the balcony, or roping it off to warn to users that is was not safe)
  • The injuries occurred because of that negligence. For example, if one of the party-goers was goofing around swinging from the balcony, fell, and was injured those injuries are more likely to have been caused by his own careless, and is less likely to be cause for a premises liability case.

Trespassers And Liability

Generally, people that trespass on property have a much harder time holding the owner of the property responsible for injuries they sustain, however there are some exceptions. For one, owners are usually held liable for injuries sustained by child trespassers, especially if there was something enticing them to the property. A pool without a fence can be attractive to children. Also, if the trespasser is known to the owner, then their injuries would be considered the property owner’s responsibility just as a guests injuries would if they were injured due to negligence.

If there was broken glass on the front sidewalk, and the neighbor was injured when they came to the door for whatever reason, they would probably have a good case even if they were not invited. If a stranger broke in without the owner’s knowledge and permission, and was injured that person would probably not have a valid claim.

Comparative Fault

Since liability for a premises injury is directly linked to negligence ii is possible for injuries to happen that are not absolutely the fault of one person or the other. For example, a person that falls on an icy sidewalk while they are reading text messages may have to bear some of the responsibility for the accident because they were not properly looking out for themselves, especially since ice on a sidewalk in the winter should come as no surprise. However, just because it is winter doesn’t excuse the owner from failing to maintain safe conditions.

If you’ve been injured on someone else’s property, liability depends largely on the circumstances. Explaining the situation to a premises liability lawyer can help you determine whether you would have a strong personal injury case, and if you might be entitled to compensation for your injuries.

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