Property owners have a duty to maintain a safe environment for their customers and visitors. When they fail to do this, horrible, life-changing injuries can happen. If you've been a victim of a property owner's carelessness, you may be wondering what your recovery options are and who's legally liable for your injury. In this article, we'll outline property owner liability in personal injury cases.
If you've been hurt because a property owner failed to provide a safe space for visitors, you may have a premise liability claim. To schedule a consultation to speak with our premise liability lawyer in Salt Lake City, call us at 801-400-9860. You may also fill out our convenient and confidential contact form here.
Examples of Premise Liability Injuries
Unmaintained premises can be extremely dangerous for customers and visitors. Several injuries can result when a property owner does not take the proper actions to provide a safe environment. Some such injuries may include:
- Slip and falls - From icy walkways to unrepaired thresholds, slips and falls can lead to a lifetime of medical bills.
- Dog bites - Property owners should take necessary precautions to keep pets from harming visitors. If you are injured by a dog on someone else's property, your dog bite claim may fall under premise liability, and it may be the property owner's responsibility to pay for your medical bills and associated damages. Utah Code § 18-1-1.
- Hotel incidents - Hotels must ensure their guests are safe from risky incidents that could happen due to faulty room key distribution, broken locks, unrepaired thresholds, hazardous materials, etc.
- Parking lot injuries - Parking lots should be maintained, well-lit, and provide adequate security. Premises liability covers parking lot injuries such as slip and falls, assault, and more.
- Construction zone accidents - Construction zones should be clearly marked and adequately blocked off to maintain pedestrian safety.
- Swimming pool accidents - Property owners may be held liable for injuries that occur at their swimming pools, depending on the facts of the specific incident.
- Accidents due to negligent security - Accidents that happen as a result of negligent security may also fall under premise liability.
Holding the Property Owner Accountable
In Utah, plaintiffs must prove certain elements to bring a premise liability claim. These elements include determining property ownership (the defendant must have owned, occupied, or leased the property), demonstrating that the defendant was negligent, proving injuries were sustained due to the defendant's negligence, and proving that the negligence directly contributed to the plaintiff's damages. To determine what duty of care a defendant owes, a plaintiff's status will be assessed. A person entering a property may fall under one of these three basic classifications:
- Invitee - Someone who has been invited to the property by the owner. For example, a customer in a store is considered an “invitee.”
- Licensee - Someone who enters the property by his or her own choice and with the property owner's consent.
- Trespasser - Enters the property without the right to do so.
Determining a Premise Liability Case
The court will take several factors into account when hearing premise liability cases including:
- Was the property reasonably safe when the accident happened?
- Why did the victim enter the property?
- In what way did the victim use the property?
- What was the visitor's status (invitee, licensee, trespasser)?
- Was the accident foreseeable (an assault due to negligent security in an area that has a history of criminal activity or an unsupervised, open body of water around children)?
- Did the property owner make reasonable efforts to remedy unsafe conditions prior to the accident?
- Were visitors cautioned about potential dangers?
Depending on the case, other factors may be considered when determining liability.
Frequently Asked Questions About Premise Liability Claims
In this section, we'll address frequently asked questions about premise liability claims. Every case is unique, so be sure to consult a premise liability lawyer in Utah to know more about your specific claim.
Are Homeowners Liable Under Premise Liability Law?
Yes, homeowners have a responsibility to ensure their property is safe for visitors.
Are Trespassers Entitled to Compensation If Injured on Someone's Property?
It depends. A property owner should not willfully or negligently injure a trespasser. However, if a property owner should reasonably know trespassers commonly enter his or her property, reasonable measures should be taken to remedy potentially dangerous situations. This may also apply in situations where a premise contains an artificial condition, such as a swimming pool or another man-made body of water.
Can I File a Claim If I Was Attacked By an Animal on Someone's Property?
It's the homeowner's responsibility to ensure their pets are not posing a potential threat to visitors. Utah is a strict liability state when it comes to dog bites and other animal-inflicted injuries. As such, it's the property owner's responsibility to pay for animal-bite injuries. Some exceptions may apply, so be sure to speak with a dog bite lawyer about your case.
Call Our Premise Liability Lawyer
If you've been injured and have sustained damages on someone's property, you may have a premise liability case. You may be entitled to compensation designed to help you recover from your injuries. Some damages that may be recoverable depending on your case include:
- Past and future medical bills
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity
- Rehabilitation costs
- Physical therapy expenses
- Prescription costs
- Property repairs
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional trauma
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Loss of consortium
- Severe physical pain
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Wrongful death
To schedule an initial confidential consultation with our premise liability lawyer today, call Andrus Law Firm at 801-400-9860. You may also fill out our online form, and we will reach out to you to set up your initial consultation.
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