This content has been reviewed by Jason D. Stone
It happens all the time. An individual visits a business or other person’s property and suffers an injury as the result of an accident. Data from the U.S. Department of Justice indicates there were approximately 600 such cases filed in 2001 alone, which resulted in more than $4 billion in damages being awarded to victims.
These numbers leave many people wondering what constitutes a case of premises liability. The Boston premises liability attorneys with Jason Stone Injury Lawyers explain there are several questions that must first be answered before determining whether or not a person has been harmed by a premises liability issue, including:
- Was the property owner aware of the injury-causing hazard?
- Was the victim warned or told of the injury-causing hazard?
- Was the victim invited to the location of the incident?
- Did the property owner fail to take proper precautions to prevent the hazard?
Why These 4 Questions Are So Important in Premises Liability Cases
There are good reasons that premises liability lawyers make answering these questions a top priority.
- “Was the property owner aware of the injury-causing hazard?”
This question matters because a property owner’s awareness of the hazard must be established if a case is to be successful. Proving what someone is aware of is challenging, but there are different approaches attorneys take. For example, an attorney might:
- Interview people who interact with a property owner about issues on their premises, such as an employee or a maintenance/repair professional.
- Gather evidence of any previously placed signage indicating the owner knew of the hazard.
- Establish that the hazard was so obvious that the property owner almost certainly knew (or should have known) it existed.
- “Was the victim warned or told of the injury-causing hazard?”
The answer to this question can establish that the injured person wasn’t property warned and, thus, the property owner was negligent in their failure to warn people on their premises about the hazard.
The injured victim’s account of the accident that led to the injury will be a significant piece of evidence. Witnesses of others who were on the property and any pictures that show a lack of proper signage can also help establish negligence on the part of the property owner.
- “Was the victim invited to the location of the incident?”
The answer to this question can further prove the plaintiff’s claim that the property owner expected (or should have expected) the presence of the injured person. If an invitation was extended through a text message, email, or letter, then hard evidence might be available. If the property in question was a business open to consumers, then the invitation might be implied.
- “Did the property owner fail to take proper precautions to prevent the hazard?”
Once it’s established that the property owner knew (or should have known) about the hazard, it’s often simple for an attorney to connect the dots to the property owner’s failure to prevent the hazard. To some extent, the hazard’s existence is proof that the property owner failed to take proper precautions to prevent the hazard.
To further establish a failure on part of the property owner, an attorney might create a timeline showing how long the hazard existed before the plaintiff was injured. A lawyer can also conduct investigations to discover evidence of repair attempts (or lack thereof) by the property owner.
Property Owners Have Responsibilities; You Have Rights!
Property owners have a legal responsibility to prevent accidents from occurring on their property by taking action to prevent hazards and warning others of the dangers that are present.
Failure to do so could result in a property owner being held liable for injuries. Also, whether an individual was invited to, or was trespassing on, a location where an accident occurs may also have an effect on a premises liability case.
When someone is injured on another’s property and that property owner’s negligence was responsible for their injury, the injured person has the right to pursue compensation for the many injury-related costs they face.
If You’ve Been Injured on Someone Else’s Property, You Better Phone Stone!
The Boston premises liability attorneys with Jason Stone Injury Lawyers encourage those who have been harmed on another person’s property to discuss their legal rights with a qualified attorney immediately.
This post was originally published in March 2014. It was updated in March 2021.