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Are you responsible for an injury that happens at your home?

By John Hipskind on December 8, 2015

Determining whether you are liable for an injury that occurs at your home or place of business can be a difficult process.  Even more difficult can be learning whether you are covered by your insurance for such an injury.  The Personal Injury Bureau recently authored an excellent article providing a brief explanation about some of the facts that come up in these types of cases:

Proving who is liable for personal injuries on private property can be a complicated task. In some cases the private property is owned by one entity and operated by another. In other cases, the owner of the property is not located in the state where the injury occurred. The rules for liability in personal injuries on private property vary by state as well as by whether the property is used for business or residential purposes. Tackling these types of cases can be confusing and many people suffering from these types of personal injuries hire a personal injury lawyer to help them get the compensation they deserve. Here are some things you should know about personal injuries on private property.

Commercial Properties

Business owners are held to a relatively high standard by the laws of most states when maintaining a safe environment in the properties they hold. Business owners generally are required to keep their property in a reasonably safe condition to prevent and reduce the severity of injuries to customers or other individuals. These requirements include regular inspections of the premises for hazards. If a reasonably regular inspection would have uncovered the hazard, the business owner cannot claim ignorance and may be held liable for the personal injury.

Business owners are not generally held responsible for the actions of third parties on their premises. If one person is assaulted by another person while on the business owner’s property, the injured individual can sue the attacker but cannot sue the business for the injuries. However, if a business owner’s customers are regularly being assaulted and robbed because there is no security or proper lighting in the parking lot, the victim can sue the business owner for failing to maintain a safe property and for any resulting injuries.

Residential Properties

The laws of many states vary for homeowner liability for personal injuries on private property depending on the classification of the injured individuals as trespassers, licensees and invitees. The law classifies a trespasser as a person who is not permitted on the property; a licensee as a person who is permitted on the property but who is not there for business purposes; and an invitee as a person who is on the property for business purposes.

A homeowner must refrain from willful conduct intended to injure anyone on the property, but are generally not required to protect the safety of trespassers. A homeowner has a duty to warn licensees and most social guests of dangerous conditions on the property, but is generally free from liability once the licensee has been warned. The homeowner generally has the highest level of obligation to an invitee and is required to take reasonable measures to make the property safe for them.

If you or a loved one has been injured or has questions about potential liability please call one of the attorneys at Hipskind & McAninch for a FREE consultation: 618.641.9189 (IL) | 314.242.2930 (MO) | info@hm-attorneys.com

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