Friday, October 3, 2014

Premises Liability: Who is at Fault?

It is a property owner’s responsibility to ensure the safety of all those that enter their property. When a person visits another’s property, they are doing so under the reasonable assumption that the owner or manager has taken necessary action to prevent dangerous situations from occurring.

Premises liability law seeks to ensure that stores, homes, buildings, retail shops, outlets, restaurants, and other facilities are kept safe for public and private use. Property owners are required to provide safe conditions for visitors and patrons, in addition to warning of any potential hazards present on their property.  

Property Owner Carries Majority of Responsibility

An owner can be held liable for any injuries that occur on their property if they knew of the potential hazard, or should have known of the hazard, but did not make a reasonable effort to fix the problem. Property owners may also be required to provide reasonable warnings to potential trespassers for any hazardous conditions on their property that may not be obvious or visible.

For example, a property owner could be held liable for any injuries that occur on their premises because of:
  • Broken hand rails
  • Wet floor
  • Poor lighting
  • Lack of security
  • Cracked sidewalk
  • Exposed electrical wires
  • Hazardous materials

Comparative Fault in Premises Liability

Comparative fault refers to when both the property owner and the visitor share fault for the injury, often because the visitor failed to exercise expected care for their own safety. In other words, their actions may have contributed to their injury in some way. An example would be if a visitor cut their leg on the sharp corner of a shelf in a grocery store, but did so while chasing a friend through the aisles. In these incidents, the monetary recovery for the injuries can be reduced by the percentage of the visitor’s liability for the accident.

Standard comparative fault laws do not usually apply when a premises liability case involves injuries to a child. Because young children are typically unable to recognize potentially dangerous situations, the law does not hold them liable, even if their injuries were caused in part by their own negligence. For example, it is an owner’s responsibility to install a fence around their pool and keep the area locked securely. If an owner does not install a fence and a child wanders onto the property and drowns in the pool, the owner would be liable.

Know Your Options

If you or a family member was injured on another person’s property because the owner was negligent, you may be entitled to compensation under premises liability law. De Castroverde Law Group represents injury victims in Las Vegas, and we may be able to help you seek justice. Contact our experienced premises liability attorneys to learn about your rights and options if you were injured in Clark County.