Your property is your domain. That means that you’re responsible for maintaining it and keeping it safe. But what happens when someone gets hurt on your property? Are you liable?
These guests may be able to bring a personal injury lawsuit against you. However, a lawsuit doesn’t always mean that you are actually at fault.
Our expert premises liability lawyers will break down everything you need to know about what happens if someone is injured on your property.
For more assistance determining what to do if a guest sues you, contact a premises liability lawyer from Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath. Our attorneys have been helping clients protect their rights for decades.
See how we can help you with a free, no-obligation consultation. Schedule yours today.
Who is liable if someone gets hurt on your property?
If a guest, customer, or even a trespasser is injured on your property, you may be liable. Depending on the circumstances of their injury, they could have a claim for a personal injury case.
The law requires property owners to maintain a reasonable level of safety of their property. For example, repairing their roof so it doesn’t fall on guests, causing a traumatic brain injury. A reasonable individual would expect a safe roof when they visit your property.
If a property owner does not properly maintain their area, then they can be found negligent and be forced to pay damages to the injured party.
However, liability can depend on circumstance. Did the individual do anything to cause the accident? For example, if they had dislodged a roof tile that then fell on them, that would not be your fault. Were they trespassing? The law is typically more likely to side with a guest than a trespasser.
Liability for a commercial property is greater than for a private residence. At your home, you are not expecting hundreds of customers each day. However, at a store where individuals can enter frequently, they will expect that they can do so safely.
Can my social guests sue me?
Social guests are categorized as anyone invited to residential property by the owner. Owners have a legal duty to keep their house and land well maintained. This is partially for their safety and partially for the safety of others.
Keeping this area safe from dangerous situations is known as premises liability. These laws dictate how and when a property owner can be found liable for injuries on their premises.
However, property owners owe individuals different duties of care. While a guest is directly invited, trespassers or individuals who visit for their own purposes may be owed less. These individuals were not directly invited onto the property, so they do not need forewarning of any dangers, especially if there was no time to provide them.
For example, if there is a stone loose on your front steps and you do not warn a guest, you are more likely to be liable if they are injured than if someone delivering flyers is injured in the same way.
Can my customers sue me?
Premises liability isn’t just for homeowners, it’s also for business owners. The premises in this case can be any form of business or public facilities open to customers at the time. Customers include individuals who are browsing or have not purchased an item.
Customers are the visitors that require the highest quality of care. You, as a business owner, are responsible for providing a safe shopping experience for them, regardless of their intention to purchase.
In the case of businesses, a property owner must fix known dangers as soon as reasonably possible. They must also inspect for dangers in areas that customers have access to at reasonable intervals to ensure that they are aware of all potential hazards.
Like a social guest in a private residence, a business owner must alert customers to hazards. The most common form of this is “slippery when wet” signs on freshly mopped floors in stores.
If a business fails to alert customers to a known danger or fails to fix the danger within a reasonable period of time, it may be liable for an injured customer.
Duty to Keep a Reasonably Safe Property
Property owners have a responsibility to those who visit their property. The main duty is to maintain the safety of their home to a reasonable level and to fix known dangers as soon as reasonably possible.
If someone gets hurt on your property, they can sue. You will likely be found to be liable if you do not exercise this duty of care properly.
For example, if you know that your banister beside the staircase is loose, but fail to fix it or to warn a guest, you will be liable if the banister breaks and they fall, sustaining an injury.
If someone is injured on your property, the best course of action is to contact a Florida premises liability lawyer. They can help determine if you are liable, how to best settle the case, and what to do to prevent such lawsuits in the future.
Our team is here to help protect your rights and ensure you are not falsely accused of liability.
Should you hire a premises liability attorney?
Sometimes, a premises liability claim doesn’t require an attorney. However, all too often people assume that the case will be easier than it is and end up in a stalemate or paying damages they shouldn’t have to.
To best protect your rights, hire a premises liability lawyer as soon as a legal claim has been filed against you from someone getting hurt on your property.
If someone is suing you because they were injured on your property, we can help you. Our team of West Palm Beach premises liability attorneys and Boca Raton premises liability attorneys will ensure the costly and stressful experience of handling a trial on your own is far easier. Contact Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath today.