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What Must You Prove to Win a Premises Liability Case?

May 16, 2019

slip-and-fallElements of a Premises Liability Claim

If you are injured on someone else’s property, who pays for the medical bills and other expenses? If you can meet the elements of premises liability, the property owner will be on the hook for your injuries. Here is a short guide to proving a premises case.

What Is Premises Liability?

Property owners have a legal responsibility to make their premises safe for visitors. Whether the property is a building, an open field, or any combination, the owner has the duty to make sure their space is safe for others. This may include taking precautions to prevent accidents, including warning signs, safety equipment, and other measure to help protect others from getting injured. Premises liability can apply to a wide range of properties and events, and can include everything from slip and falls and dog bites at someone’s home to fires and equipment accidents at a construction site or other commercial building. Each case is built under the negligence principles, and each case is heavily affected by the specific facts and circumstances of the incident.

The Elements to a Premises Liability Case

The legal elements to prove liability must be met in order for an injured party to receive compensation. These are:

  • Prove Legal Ownership. The defendant must have legal ownership of the property at the time that the accident occurred.
  • Owner Was Negligent. The plaintiff must prove that the the defendant broke his “duty of care” by failing to warn of potential dangers that a visitor wouldn’t notice on their own. If the owner knew of this danger and had time to correct it, but failed to take reasonable care to warn others, they showed negligent behavior.
  • Prove Damages. The plaintiff must prove that their injuries were the result of the defendant’s negligent behavior. Eyewitnesses and medical experts are important pieces in proving this.

Potential Complications

Not everyone gets the protection of premises liability. It depends on your status as a visitor on the property: an invitee, a licensee, or a trespasser. An invitee is logically someone invited onto the property by the owner, and receives the highest level of protection. Licensees are those who are implicitly allowed on the property, like family and close friends. They will be charged with a higher awareness of danger and have less protection. The trespasser receives the lowest level, as they have no permission to be on the premises in the first place.

Another fact to consider is the expectation of danger on the property. If you go onto someone’s property where the danger is obvious and well-known, you are less likely to receive the protection of premises liability.

Premises liability cases can get complex very quickly. You will likely need quite a bit of evidence to prove your case, so consulting a personal injury attorney is paramount to making sure you get the compensation you deserve. It is also important to note that in New Jersey there exists a Statute of Limitations for these cases. This means that you will need to file your claim within 2 years of the date of the accident. Beyond that, your claim is expired and you may never see compensation.

Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Premises Liability Case in New Jersey Today!

Did you or a loved one sustain serious injuries on someone else’s property in New Jersey? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party or their insurance company to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive personal injury attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at Hoyt & Hoyt represent clients in Morris and Middlesex counties, and throughout New Jersey. Call 973-292-2299 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 67 E Park Pl, Morristown, NJ 07960, as well as an office at 315 George St, New Brunswick, NJ 08901.

The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.

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