If you have been injured in an accident that took place on a defective or dangerous property your accident regardless of whether it took place inside our outside of the property will be known as a ‘Premises liability’ accident. Premises liability accounts for accidents that have taken place on or outside of:
- Rental homes
- Private homes
- Public transportation
There are many different reasons as to why a property may be dangerous, the design may be faulty, the construction may be poor, it could be poorly maintained, or there could be a lot of clutter around. You may have even been injured by something falling on or hitting you. Whatever caused your accident you may have fallen, slipped, or tripped and consequently become injured.
It can be hard to understand who may be legally responsible for your injury, so we have added a few guidelines to help:
Liability Rules for Accidents on a Property
There are a few rules that can help you determine who could be found liable for your accident
1. The owner of the property must keep it safe
The owner of the property or the occupier is legally obliged to keep visitors free from an unreasonable risk of injury. Visitors are:
- Business or personal visitors
- Shoppers or
Visitors should not be subjected to injury because of the poor state (or condition) of the property, or because of its design or construction. In other words, the owner of the property controls how safe it is, a visitor does not. Ultimately this means that if a visitor to a shop trips and injures themselves on a broken tile the owner of the property is liable.
2. Any visitor must use the property correctly
If the injured party is involved in an accident while acting in a dangerous, unauthorized or unexpected way then the property owner will not be found responsible for the injury. For example, if a visitor decides to climb on the shelves found in a shop and injure themselves by falling off, the owner will not be liable.
When Employees are Injured
When employees are injured the same rules will apply, however, they must file a compensation claim that is specifically for workers, as opposed to a private injury claim.
If an employee is injured on a property that does not belong to their employer then they can file a claim against the owner.
When the Owner of the Property is not the Occupier
If you are involved in an accident you should file a notice of claim against the property owner and the occupier. It is up to their insurance companies to decide who is responsible.
When the owner of the property is not the occupier it is not always clear who may be liable. This is where it can get difficult as it depends on the type of property that was involved.
– Commercial properties
If you have been injured on a business or commercial premises, in an office or a store, the individual who is likely to be found liable will be determined by where the accident took place. It will also be determined by what the business contract says about accident liability. Inform the business or store of your accident and their insurance company with either deal with your claim or pass it on to the owner of the building so that their insurance company can deal with it.
– Private Homes
Depending on the type of home or residence where the injury occurred, it may be fairly easy to determine who is liable for your accident. If you have been injured while staying in a rented property, or you were a guest in the property the individual who is responsible for keeping the property clean and maintained is liable.
The tenant is responsible for their belongings that can be found inside the rented home.
The landlord is responsible for anything that is outside the rented home, this includes stairs, the hallways, and entrances. They are also responsible for the walls inside the home as well as the floors, fixtures, and any appliances that are part of the rental agreement.
However, there is one exception and this exception occurs when the tenant is aware of a dangerous condition or situation inside the home, (Such as a damaged fixture), but they fail to do anything about it. In this situation, both the landlord and the tenant may be found responsible for the injuries.
– Adjoining properties
If an accident occurred at the edge of adjoining properties, for example, if you injured yourself by tripping over a piece of damaged fencing, it may not be clear who is at fault.
In such situations, a notice of claim should be filed against the owners of both of the properties. The owners will then have to decide between them who is to blame.
It can be hard to understand who may be legally responsible for your injury, so we hope our guidelines helped. If you are still in doubt as to who is responsible for your injury send a notice of claim to the tenant, landlord, and anyone else you think may be responsible.
If you are currently suffering from a personal injury and are unable to read ‘Accidents on a Defective or Dangerous Property: Proving who is at Fault’ please watch our Injury Pedia video so you can gain the Personal Injury Information and Answers you are seeking.