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How liability is determined in premises liability cases

When someone enters a property, whether it is a public business or a private home, there is a reasonable expectation that one can move about it safely without being injured. It's the duty of both the property owner and/or tenant to keep a property maintained to minimize any risk of injury.

Under the field of law known as premises liability, both residents and landlords may be held either civilly liable for any injuries that occur on their properties. In some jurisdictions, a tenant can be held just as liable as the property owner for any injury that occurs. Who is ultimately seen as liable for the injury depends on the circumstances under which the visitor was on your premises.

In the case of an invitee, they are described as being someone who was invited to your property, such as a store customer. In the case of an invitee, there is a presumption that necessary measures have been taken to ensure that person's safety before he or she is allowed to step foot on your premises.

The same goes for what's called a licensee, or social guest. They are thought to have received prior authorization from the owner. In contrast to an invitee or licensee, a trespasser is not welcome to the property and thus has no assurances that the premises will be safe if he or she visits it.

When an injury does occur on a property, negligence is assessed by looking at a number of different factors. First, an insurance adjuster might seek to determine what circumstances led the individual to be present on the property in the first place. Next, he or she might attempt to assess how the property is most commonly used.

An adjuster then might look to determine how reasonable it would have been for the property owner to anticipate the accident that occurred. He or she then might also try to determine how reasonable it might have been for the owner to warn others of the potentially hazardous situation as well.

In some cases, the concept of comparative fault is employed. It essentially helps to divide up responsibility for an injury between the victim and the property owner.

If you've been injured on someone else's property, then a Los Lunas premises liability attorney can advise you as to the merits of filing a claim against its owner.

Source: FindLaw, "Premises liability: Who is responsible?," accessed Aug. 04, 2017

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