Premises liability cases usually occur when a property owner has failed to take proper precautions for preventing foreseeable accidents and injuries which occur on the property. If a property owner does not secure against an accident, an injured party can seek damages and penalties against the property owner for their accident. Premises liability cases differ widely, but the most common include:
1) Serious slip and fall accidents. Often, these lawsuits occur when someone has been given permission or been invited onto a property and slips and falls, either sustaining a serious head injury or another type of serious injury. In these cases, the injured party must prove that the property owner has done or neglected to do something that has caused the accident. The owner is responsible for warning the person on the property – in this case, the victim – of any possible dangers and is expected to take reasonable precautions to prevent accidents and injuries on the property. These cases can be challenging to pursue because the person who has slipped is expected to take reasonable precautions. The fact that the slip and fall accident has occurred alone is not evidence of wrongdoing. The plaintiff must show that some negligence or action led to the injury.
2) Swimming pool accidents and near drownings. Owners of swimming pools need to take steps to make their pools relatively safe. The owner must ensure that there are reasonable provisions for safety, resuscitation, and life-saving devices. In a public pool, public pool owners are expected to have lifeguards or specific safety equipment available or must have warnings clearly posted about any possible dangers. Private pools are expected to be secured against uninvited children to a reasonable degree.
3) Assaults. The owner of a business must take reasonable precautions to ensure the safety of employees, clients, customers, and visitors. If there is a history of crime in the area, for example, the business owner must warn people visiting the business or must take steps to protect people who use the business regularly. For example, owners of automatic teller machines where robberies have occurred need to ensure that there is adequate lighting and security cameras in place to protect people who are withdrawing money.
4) Sexual assaults. As with assaults, business owners are responsible for taking reasonable precautions to provide for the safety of people who visit their business. How much care is considered reasonable relates to the type of assaults, how easily the assault could have been foreseen, and the history of sexual assaults in the area. Poorly lit parking garages, for example, may be more likely to provoke a premises liability case than a parking lot in a relatively safe area with good lighting.