What is Premises Liability?
Premises liability simply refers to the scenario whereby an individual or individuals suffer an accident on another person/organization’s property. The outcome of slip and fall cases relies a lot on the intricate weavings of the premises liability law. In Michigan, there is almost no distinction between premises liability and general negligence in a slip and fall case.
Establishment owners are generally responsible for the injuries that visitors may suffer on their premises. However, when the dangers are very open and obvious to everyone, i.e. it is expected for people to take extra care in those areas, the establishment owners are freed from such responsibilities. Furthermore, establishment owners may not be held accountable for injuries suffered if they had warned the visitors beforehand. The “open and obvious” rule is highly practiced in Michigan’s premises liability law.
It is important to note that if the dangers are excessive or practically unavoidable, then the building owner(s) will be held accountable for any accidents, regardless of whether they provided sufficient warning or not.
It is the job of the personal injury attorney to navigate these loopholes and determine whether or not the dangers were open and obvious to the public, and if they’re not, negotiate an appropriate settlement for their client’s troubles.
How to Prove Negligence in a Premises Liability Case and Who is Responsible
In order for a plaintiff to prove negligence, they must prove beyond a reasonable doubt, that
- The establishment owner(s) caused the accident due to the poor maintenance of the building.
- The owner(s) neglected to warn them of the possible dangers before they stepped foot on the premises or at any point in time while they were in the building.
As stipulated above, the establishment owners are ordinarily responsible for their invitees. For instance, if the establishment is a government office is the scene of the accident, the government will be held responsible. In a scenario where it’s an apartment building, the landlord will be held responsible because the affairs of the building including the maintenance are in their hands.
In the case of a landlord who owns a multi-unit apartment, it is important to note that the landlord is only responsible for accidents that occur in common areas like the lobby, stairwell, or the roof of the building. The landlord is to be held accountable for failing to repair the old, broken areas in the apartment after receiving rent. However, the tenants are responsible for the implementation of several measures in their own homes including security. Therefore, landlords are exempt from the responsibility of accidents that occur within the apartments.
Accidents That Qualify for a Premises Liability Claim
Accidents that qualify for a premises liability claim typically involve a neglectful owner and their property. Sometimes, this may even include other types of personal injury cases. Some of these accidents include:
- Slip and fall cases
- Dog bite injury, a personal injury case. However, it becomes a premises liability claim if the assault takes place on the property of the dog owner.
- Fire accidents
- Water pollution
- Elevator accidents
- Being struck by falling objects in a building