Premises Liability: Holding Property Owners Accountable

Property Owners Owe a Duty to Guests and Visitors

“Premises liability” is a legal term that can be confusing. Slip-and-fall accidents are a common form of premises liability. Dog bites are another form of this type of accident. In general, premises liability covers incidents where the owner of the property was negligent and someone got hurt because of it.

For the average homeowner in Minnesota, premises liability means that they have a responsibility to ensure the safety of individuals who enter their property. This includes guests, visitors, and even trespassers in certain situations. Homeowners must address any potentially dangerous conditions on their property, such as uneven walkways, broken steps, or hazardous objects.

Common Premises Liability Accidents

Any unsafe condition of a property can lead to a claim for premises liability. If the property owner knows about the condition or reasonably should have known, that owner can be held liable. 

Common examples of dangerous conditions include:

  • Icy steps or sidewalks
  • Uneven or broken pavement
  • Cluttered floors or walkways
  • Wet or slippery floors
  • Loose handrails
  • Unlit or dark entrances, stairs, or hallways

The type of property plays a role in whether the property owner can be held liable as well-

  • If you own a bar or nightclub where security is an issue, you may have to take additional steps to make the property safe. 
  • An apartment building may need to keep the parking lot well-lit, whereas a homeowner doesn’t have to do the same for the driveway.
  • Nursing homes and hospitals are examples of properties that may have additional requirements. Residents or patients who are at greater risk of falls must be cared for. The owner of a nursing home is well aware of that need. That owner must take steps to prevent falls that another property owner might not have to take.

If someone is injured on your property due to a hazardous condition that the home or business owner should have known about or failed to address, the owner may be held liable for the injuries and damages. This could include medical expenses, pain and suffering, or lost wages.

The Duty of Care

Not every injury on someone else’s property can lead to a successful premises liability claim. You must be able to prove that the owner of the property failed to maintain the property as they should.

One of the keys to proving that an owner was negligent is demonstrating that they knew or had reason to know about the dangerous condition of the property. They must also have been given sufficient time to correct the dangerous condition and failed to do so to prove negligence.

One example of this would be slipping on a spilled drink in a restaurant. If a customer spills their drink on the floor and another customer immediately slips and falls because of the spill, the owner may not be held liable.

Getting Compensation for Injured Victims

It’s essential for home and business owners in Minnesota to be proactive in maintaining their property, promptly addressing any hazards, and taking reasonable steps to ensure the safety of individuals who enter their premises. Regular inspections, repairs, and warnings can help reduce the risk of accidents and potential liability. However, it’s important to consult with a legal professional to understand the intricacies of premises liability law in Minnesota and how it specifically applies to your situation.

In most cases, an injured victim will be paid by the property owner’s insurance company. If you have been injured in a slip-and-fall or other premises liability accident, you need legal help right away. 

At White & Associates, our attorneys have extensive experience in personal injury law. Call our Elk River, Minnesota, law office at 763-241-0477 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with a caring and skilled lawyer.

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