Most people only rarely consider whether residential home owners or businesses are keeping their property safe for other people by making necessary repairs and completing routine maintenance. Typically, another person’s property obligations are not considered until an issue arises, such as a business owner failing to repair a hole in its parking lot that cannot be avoided when driving.
It is not uncommon for a property owner’s lack of action in maintaining their property to have a more significant impact than just vehicle alignment concerns.
If you or your loved one has been injured because a property owner was reckless or negligent in maintaining their property, consult with a Cumberland County premises liability lawyer to learn about your legal options. A skilled personal injury lawyer can help you hold the responsible parties accountable.
Premises Liability Legal Theories
Premises liability is the legal theory that makes a property owner responsible for the injuries of people with a lawful right to be on that property when the injury is the result of an unsafe or defective condition. Property owners are responsible for warning guests of danger that are known and that should have been discovered, and for making necessary repairs.
This duty obligates a property owner to inspect their property in order to remain knowledgeable about potential defects. Property owners that fail to meet their legal duty can be liable for injuries sustained. Premises liability cases include slip and falls in businesses that are open to the public and construction accidents, among others. They may occur because employees failed to inspect the store as required to become aware of spilled liquids, a business owner failed to repair reported maintenance issues, or a property owner failed to post signs warning of known unsafe conditions.
A Cumberland County premises liability lawyer can work with individuals to attempt to establish the property owner’s liability.
Duty of Care
A property owner’s legal responsibility for maintaining their property is the duty of care associated with ownership. The actual duty to another person can change based on their relationship with those entering their property. The duty of care for invitees, which are people that are invited either expressly or implicitly, is the highest. The most common implied invitation is a person entering a retail or grocery store during business hours. The property owner has a duty to inspect the property to ensure that it is reasonably safe for invitees. Additionally, the property owner is liable for discoverable hazards and has a duty to notify visitors of unsafe conditions.
The duty of care for a licensee is less than the duty to an invitee. A licensee is a person that enters the property for their own purposes, with a semi-implied invitation. Postal delivery employees and public utility employees are common examples of licensees. A property owner’s duty to a licensee is to correct defects in the property that the property owner was or should have been aware had an unreasonable risk of harm and to warn guests of known defects if they are not obvious.
Conversely, a property owner’s duty to a trespasser is only that they not purposefully injure the trespasser. In New Jersey, property owners are obligated to take reasonable steps to ensure that their property is safe from dangerous conditions. When they fail to do so, they can be held liable for injuries sustained from their inaction. Although that seems like a simple concept, the process of determining a visitor’s status and the corresponding duty based on that status can be difficult. Determining who the property owner is can also be a challenge.
How a Premises Liability Attorney Can Help
If you believe that you have a premises liability claim, contact a Cumberland County premises liability lawyer to have your case evaluated. A determined personal injury lawyer can work diligently to build your case. Your attorney can devote the time and resources necessary to build a solid case for you.