What is premise liability?

John E. Lawes

John E. Lawes, Esq

In Alabama property owners have a responsibility to maintain their property in a manner that makes it reasonably safe for the public, including a duty to warn the public in certain circumstances. Premise liability refers to the type of claim available to a person who has been injured as a result of the property owner not meeting that responsibility. These types of cases are often referred to as “slip and fall” or “trip and fall” cases.

An injury occurring on a property does not raise a presumption that the owner is liable. The injured person must prove that his or her injury occurred as a result of the unsafe condition. In certain circumstances the injured person must prove that the owner knew (or reasonable should have known) of the unsafe condition prior to the injury but did not take the reasonable steps to either warn of the condition or correct it.

An injured person may be prevented from recovery if the condition that caused the injury was “open and obvious”. An “open and obvious” condition is one that is known to the injured person or should have been reasonably observed by injured person.

If you feel you have been hurt because of a property owner’s failure to maintain a safe property, you should report the accident to the property owner immediately. If at all possible retain a copy of an incident report and take pictures of the condition to save as evidence. Seek the necessary medical attention and contact an attorney to see if you have a viable claim.

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