Who Is Responsible In A Premise Liability Claim?
When someone enters your premises, there is always an assumption that you will be safe and not get injured. Property owners have the assumption that their premises provide a safe environment. According to the website of Schuler, Halvorson, Weisser, Zoeller & Overbeck, PA, property owners have the responsibility to address any dangerous situation. Unfortunately, many are unable to do so and this is where visitors or tenants can file a premise liability claim against the owner.
While premise liability holds the property owner liable for any accidents or injuries that occur on their property, there are certain instances when they are not totally liable. The laws and procedures of the state where the injury occurred will determine liability. In some states, the status of the injured visitor determines liability while in other states, the condition of the property and the activities of the owner and visitor will decide who has responsibility. It is worth noting that the tenant is treated similarly as a landowner in most situations.
However, in the case of commercial properties such as an apartment or condominium, liability is determined by the contract between landlord and tenant. In these cases, the tenant has more liability for accidents since they have more control over the safety of the premise than property owners. The latter will bear the responsibility for any accidents if they did not inform tenants about the presence of a dangerous condition.
Moreover, tenants have liability for accidents or injuries caused by movable objects inside their apartments. Property owners are liable for non-movable things such as windows, floors, walls, and ceilings. They are also responsible for fixtures outside the apartment. This is usually the principle followed by courts when the case involves rented apartments.
Premise liability is also governed by the legal obligation of acting reasonably as a prudent person under the circumstances. This concept is now starting to replace the old approach of trespasser/licensee/invitee.
Defining each term, an invitee is one who is invited to the property by a tenant. There is usually an implication that the person who invited has taken reasonable steps to assure the safety of the premises. The licensee enters the premises for personal purposes while a trespasser enters without any rights whatsoever. In the case of the licensee and trespasser, there is no implied promise of safety.