Many accidents in Wisconsin occur on someone else's property. Whether
such accidents occur inside or outside of a building, they are called "
premises liability" accidents. These accidents can occur at a private residence, a hotel,
a store, a commercial building, an office, or even at a park, or on the street.
A premises can be dangerous for a variety of reasons; for example, poor
maintenance, shoddy construction, or even dangerous clutter being left
about. If you enter a dangerous premises, you can slip, trip, fall, or
have hard objects fall on top of you.
The Basics of Proving Fault
When it comes to private or commercial property, the owner or occupier
has a legal duty to maintain the property, and they must ensure that anyone
who enters the property – a tenant, a shopper, customer, or business
client is protected from unreasonable risk of injury.
No visitor should be harmed because of a design or construction defect,
or because of a dangerous condition that is not rectified within a timely manner.
The reason for this governing principal is simple: owners have control
over the safety of their property, and visitors do not.
If you want to prove that you have a premises liability claim, you will
need to show that you were using the property normally. If you were injured
while behaving irresponsibly, or in an unauthorized or carless manner,
the property owner or tenant will not be responsible. For example, if
a guest slides down the stairs on a handrail, slides off to the side,
falls 15 feet and is injured, the owner will not be held liable.
To prove that an owner or an occupier of a premises are liable for your
injuries, you will need to prove one of the following:
- The owner of the premises or an occupant caused the dangerous condition.
- The owner of the premises or an occupant knew about the dangerous condition
but did nothing to rectify it.
- The owner of the premises or an occupant should have known about the hazardous
condition because any reasonable person taking care of the property would
have discovered and either repaired or removed it.
In almost any premises liability claim, the insurance adjuster will want
to examine whether your own carelessness contributed to the accident in
any way; however, you do not need to prove to an insurance adjuster that
you were careful, but you will want to describe what you were doing clearly
so the insurance adjuster will understand that you were not behaving carelessly.
To learn more about premises liability claims, contact a Wisconsin personal
injury attorney from Cannon & Dunphy S.C. In a
free case evaluation, you can learn how we can help you!