Premises Liability Accidents: Who is at Fault?

Published: 28th April 2009
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Premises Liability Accidents

Accidents may occur even within the premises of one's property. Such incidents are called premises liability accidents. These may possibly happen on public properties (such as streets, parks, or public transportation), residences (such as rentals or private homes), or commercial buildings (such as offices or stores).

Reasons Why Premises are Dangerous

Premises may become dangerous because of the presence of the following risks:

• Faulty design

• Shoddy building materials or construction

• Poor maintenance

• Dangerous clutter

Such hazardous premises may possibly lead to many different accidents such slipping, tripping, falling, or having something fall on or hit you.

Determining Liability in Premises Accidents

There are two basic rules in determining who is legally responsible for a premises liability accident:

1. The occupant or owner of the property has to keep the premises safe.

2. The visitor has to use the premises properly.

If the occupant or owner of the property maintains the safety of the premises and the visitor still gets injured, the responsibility lies on the latter.

On the other hand, if the visitor uses the premises properly but sustains injuries caused by a hazardous object in the property (due to the failure of the owner or occupant to maintain the premises safe), the owner or occupier will be held liable for the injuries and damages.

Owner or Occupier: Who is Responsible?

Usually, the property owner is different from the occupant. For instance, a house may be owned by one individual and rented or lived in by another, or the owner of a building may be different from the business that rents it to run a store.

If the occupant and the owner of premises are different from each other, it will be difficult to determine who is responsible for an accident. The rules that may be applied in such situations vary. This depends on the type of property that is involved, and even then, identifying liability can still be complicated.

The bottom line for such situations is to notify both the occupant and the owner of the potential danger. It is their insurance companies' responsibility to decide which one of them (or may be even both), is responsible for a premises liability accident.

Types of Property

1. Commercial Property

If you have sustained injuries in an office, store, or other businesses, whether the occupier or owner is liable for such an accident is generally determined by the location of the occurrence of the incident and what the lease or any other business contracts state regarding such liability. The insurance company of the business will either pass the problem on to the insurance company of the building owner or handle your claim itself.

2. Private Residences

The rules of liability that are applied for accidents, which occur on private residences, are quite simple. This depends on the type of residence:

• Private Home

If you have sustained injuries as a result of an accident caused by a defective or hazardous condition at a private home, the home owner is legally responsible. The tenant may also be held responsible if the entire home is rented out.

• Rented Apartment

If you are injured due to an accident that occurred on rental property, the one who may be held liable is the one responsible for maintaining the condition or area that caused the accident.

Los Angeles Premises Liability Attorneys

Various accidents happen in different areas in Los Angeles. If you are some of the victims of accidents that occur in someone else's property, it is wise if you consult with skilled premises liability attorneys in Los Angeles to help you in your legal concerns.

Our skilled Los Angeles premise liability attorneys specialize in cases such as slip and fall and other related concerns. For consultation, log on to our website and avail of our free case analysis.

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