It is fairly common for an accident to occur on someone else’s property, especially if the individual is unfamiliar with the premises. However, determining who should be held legally liable can be difficult.
If you or a loved one has sustained injuries on someone else’s property, you might have a premises liability claim or lawsuit. If the owner or occupant of the property failed to correct a dangerous condition or warn about a hazard, then they may be held liable for any injuries or losses. It is worthwhile to discuss your situation with a Bridgeport premises liability lawyer as soon as possible. An experienced personal injury attorney like George W. Ganim, Jr. can analyze your situation and inform you of your legal options.
The Property Owner’s Relationship to the Injured Person
A person who owns or occupies property has a duty to keep it free from hazards, warn of any dangers and correct any adverse conditions within a reasonable timeframe. The extent of the owner’s or occupant’s duty depends on the relationship they have with the injured person: invitee, licensee and trespasser. That relationship depends on the reason the person entered the property in the first place.
The property owner or occupier owes the highest duty of care to an invitee. An invitee might be a customer, social guest, or a member of the public if the premises are a public space. If a property is open to invitees, an owner must:
- Conduct regular inspections to ensure the absence of hidden hazards
- Warn people of any hazards that exist
- Remedy any dangerous conditions within a reasonable time
An owner might try to avoid liability by arguing that they did not have actual knowledge of the dangerous condition that caused the accident. Be that as it may, the owner or occupant may still be held liable, given the duty to inspect the property for hidden hazards or hazardous conditions, George W. Ganim, Jr., a property liability attorney from the area may be able to assert that the condition could have or should have been discovered by reasonable inspection and the owner or occupant should be held liable.
A licensee is a person who has permission to enter a property, usually for some business purpose. A landscaper, meter reader, pool maintenance person, or cleaning service employee would be a licensee, rather than an invitee, in most cases. The property owner must keep the premises reasonably safe for licensees and warn them about known hazards. Notwithstanding they have no duty to inspect for hidden dangers for the benefit of a licensee.
There is no duty to protect an adult trespasser from hazards on a property or to warn them of dangerous conditions. An owner cannot, however, intentionally injure a trespasser.
Attractive Nuisance Doctrine Protects Trespassing Children
Property occupiers have an obligation to protect children who might trespass. If the property contains features that a child might find interesting or entertaining—known as an “attractive nuisance” —the occupier must take steps to prevent children from entering. If a trespassing child sustains an injury because an attractive nuisance was accessible, the owner could be held liable for the child’s injuries and losses.
Swimming pools and playground equipment are typically deemed to be attractive nuisances. There are also many less obvious features or conditions that could draw a child’s attention as well. Some examples are construction debris, ladders, old cars, pastured animals and dogs. A lawyer who handles hazardous property cases can argue that almost any condition in Bridgeport that drew a child to a site was an attractive nuisance that made the property owner or occupier liable for injuries.
Partner with a Knowledgeable Bridgeport Premises Liability Attorney
Premises liability cases are often complicated. The insurance company for the owner or occupier may try to argue that an injured person was not an invitee or attempt to pin the responsibility for the accident on the injured party. It is vital to have a savvy Bridgeport premises liability lawyer working to represent your interests and fight for fair compensation for your injuries.
Call today to schedule a consultation with Attorney George W. Ganim, Jr.