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.
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 in a timely manner.
The reason for this governing principle 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 careless 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:
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.