Premises Liability Claims
Many businesses are sued simply because someone was injured on their property. These are known as premises liability claims. Common premises liability injuries include slip and fall injuries, trip and fall accidents, allegations of negligent maintenance or repair, claims of inadequate security, swimming pool accidents, injuries related to ice and snow, toxic exposure claims, construction, industrial, and worksite injuries, and incidents at stores, restaurants, hotels, and other public spaces.
At Ekblom & Partners, LLP our premises liability defense attorneys represent commercial and large residential landlords, sports facilities, municipalities, and private businesses against claims for injuries from customers, visitors, or guests who were injured on their property.
What Is Premises Liability?
Premises liability claims can arise anytime someone is injured or otherwise involved in an incident or accident on your property. New York property law requires that property owners take reasonable precautions to protect the safety of any person who enters their property. If someone is injured on your property, the landowner could be liable for:
- The cost of medical bills
- Lost income
- Pain and suffering
- Punitive damages
Premises liability claims are based on the legal concept of negligence. To succeed, the injured person must prove:
- The landowner owed a duty to the injured person
- There was a dangerous or unsafe condition on the property
- The landowner knew of the unsafe condition and failed to address it
- The injury was caused by the landowner’s failure to prevent the accident and the resulting injury
Landowner Liability for Injuries That Occur on Their Property
A landowner’s liability for injuries that occur on their property often depends on the legal status of the person who was injured. A landowner owes the highest duty of care to invitees, a lesser duty to licensees, and little duty to trespassers.
- Invitees are customers or guests who have been invited onto the property. The landowner has a duty to warn all invitees of any risks the landowner is aware of and must inspect the property to make themselves aware of any hazards.
- Licensees are social guests who have entered the property for a purpose other than business. They have special permission to do something specific on the property. The landowner must warn licensees of dangerous conditions they are aware of.
- Trespassers are people who have entered the property without permission from the property owner. Landowners do not have a duty to warn trespassers of hazardous conditions, especially if the property is unaware of the trespasser’s presence.
Defense of Serious Injury Claims
If you are a property owner and have been sued in a premises liability claim, you have a number of legal defenses available. The success of these defenses may depend on the legal status of the injured person.
The most potent defense, of course, is that you were not negligent. This may be because you did not owe a duty to the injured person, there was no dangerous or hazardous condition on the property, you did not know of the allegedly hazardous condition, or the injuries were not caused by the hazardous conditions.
A property owner can also claim:
- Assumption of Risk. The injured person knew or should have known of the condition and disregarded the risk.
- Comparative Negligence. The injured person is partially responsible for causing their own injuries.
Toxic Tort Defense
As part of our premises liability defense practice, Ekblom & Partners represents commercial and residential landlords, sports facilities, municipalities, and private businesses in cases involving alleged lead paint exposure, Legionnaire’s disease, and other toxic tort claims.
Lead paint exposure claims often involve older homes that were painted with lead-based interior or exterior paint. Issues arise as the paint begins to flake or crumble, releasing lead dust into the air. Children who inhale even small amounts of lead dust may suffer brain injuries, a lower IQ, mood disorders, and a lack of ability to focus.
Families of children who suffer from injuries caused by lead paint exposure target people who own and manage rental properties. These cases can often be defended based on the residential and medical history of the child.
Legionnaire’s disease is a type of pneumonia that is caused by inhaling air that is contaminated with Legionella bacteria. Property owners such as hotels, resorts, and long-term care facilities are often targeted as defendants when cases of Legionnaire’s disease break out. The lawyers for people who contract the disease will claim it was caused by improper maintenance of water management systems.
The potential legal exposure that comes with Legionnaire’s disease can be substantial. People who contract Legionnaire’s disease will spend weeks or even months in the hospital and may suffer permanent impairment and substantial medical bills. According to the CDC, the death rate for people who contract the disease is between 20% and 40%.
Clients We Represent
Ekblom & Partners defends commercial landlords, large residential landlords, sports facilities, municipalities, and private businesses against premises liability claims involving alleged personal injuries. Contact us to see if your situation matches our expertise.