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Three Categories of Visitors Who can File a Premises Liability Lawsuit

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Slipping, tripping or falling is a very common accident in the US. Though the ones most prone to this type of accident are people aged 55 or older, it can happen to anyone and the results can be from bruises to the hand/s or arm/s to fractured bones or a spinal column injury.

Based on injury facts records of the National Safety Council (NSC), more than 8 million slip and fall accidents occur in the US every year. Some of their most common causes include: wet, oily, icy or slippery floors or surfaces; defective staircases; uneven, loose or broken floors, steps, sidewalks or stairs; unsecured rugs or carpets; and, hidden or tangled extension cords.

While one may immediately think that people who slip or fall should blame no one else except themselves (for being careless), in the mind of a Milwaukee accident attorney, the one at fault may actually be the owner of the property (a homeowner, the owner of a business establishment or a landlord) where the accident occurred.

Property owners, especially places that are open to the public, such as malls, hospitals, government offices, supermarkets, parking lots, playgrounds, swimming pool areas, restaurants, food courts, churches, etc., have the responsibility of keeping their premises free from risks of accident at all times, or they can face legal complaints, more specifically, premises liability lawsuit, from people who get injured while within their premise.

Premises liability is defined as a landowner’s accountability for certain injuries suffered by persons on his or her property where a defective or unsafe condition exists. More than just sustaining an injury due to slipping, tripping or falling, premises liability also includes in its scope injuries that are caused by falling objects, open excavations, electrocution, broken benches or chairs, and so forth.

Proof of ownership of property and breach of the duty of care or negligence on the part of the property owner in making sure that his or her property is kept from risks of accidents, are important factors for premises liability to apply. Thus, an injured person may have the legal right to seek compensation from the property owner whether he or she is:

  • An Invitee – a person (maybe a friend, a relative or a neighbor) who has a landowner’s expressed or implied permission to enter his or her property
  • A Licensee – a person, who has the landowner’s expressed or implied permission to enter the property, but who goes there for his or her own amusement or purpose, rather than for business purposes. Party guests, family friends, people who enter stores to ask about something or to retrieve something that they own, are examples of licensees
  • A Trespasser – a person who, actually, has no authority to be on the property.

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