When Is An Alabama Property Owner Liable For Premises Liability?
People visit other people all the time, and in most situations, nothing out of the ordinary occurs. However, sometimes an injury or even a fatality may happen while a person is on someone else’s land, or inside someone else’s home or business. When this happens, an area of law called premises liability will govern who pays medical bills and other damages. The owner of the home, land, or business may be liable for the visitor’s injuries in some cases.
If you have been injured on someone else’s premises, know that you have the right to try and hold the owner liable if you believe that they played a role in causing the harm you suffered. A Birmingham personal injury attorney from the firm of Goldasich, Vick & Fulk can help articulate your rights and determine whether you may be entitled to compensation.
Different Levels Of Care Owed
Premises liability is a legal theory which states that owners owe a certain duty of care toward certain visitors that may appear on their land (or in their business or home). At common law, a different duty of care was owed toward different classes of visitors – invitees, licensees (those present on the property for their own business, rather than the owner’s), and trespassers. While this is no longer the case in some U.S. states, Alabama still recognizes this distinction.
What this means is that owners must legally take more steps to safeguard invitees’ safety than they must take for licensees or trespassers. Invitees are on the premises for a purpose benefiting the owner – for example, museum guests are considered public invitees, while customers in a store are considered business invitees. As these are the most ‘wanted’ visitors in most respects, their well-being is seen as most important. Owners must exercise “reasonable care and diligence” to either keep the premises safe, or to properly warn of dangers.
Slip & Fall Cases Can Be Difficult To Win
While premises liability cases can be winnable in court, the so-called “slip & fall” case is treated differently in Alabama and many other U.S. states. Unlike with more ‘standard’ premises liability actions, where the duty to make the premises safe and the failure to do so lies squarely on the landowner’s shoulders, a potential plaintiff in a slip & fall case must affirmatively show certain things: (1) that the substance they slipped on was on the floor long enough where the defendant should have known of its presence or that the defendant affirmatively knew of it; and (2) the defendant was delinquent in not cleaning up the substance.
There are certain situations in which an owner can assert a defense – arguing that the injured plaintiff assumed the risk of injury in a certain situation is a common one. Another is when a condition is allegedly “open and obvious” – in other words, it is either known – or should be known – to the plaintiff by exercising reasonable care. Nonetheless, this does not mean that an injured visitor has no right to seek compensation if they believe that their injuries were the fault of the owner.
Review Your Options With Our Attorneys
Being injured is always a difficult event in one’s life, and if it has happened to you, it is important to enlist help that can get you through the process of getting the compensation you deserve. The Birmingham premises liability attorneys from Goldasich, Vick & Fulk have handled these types of cases before, and are ready to put their knowledge to work for you. Contact our office at (205) 731-2566 to schedule a consultation.