Types of Premises Liability Cases

Smith Law Center
Last Updated:
June 14, 2024
A woman suffers a slip and fall incident in her office, one of the many types of premises liability cases.

Exploring the Various Kinds of Premises Liability 

Imagine slipping on a wet floor in a grocery store or being caught off guard by a loose railing on a staircase in an office building. It’s easy to brush off such mishaps as mere accidents, faulting yourself for not being more careful. However, many don’t realize that these incidents fall under a legal term called premises liability. 

Premises liability cases hold property owners accountable for accidents and injuries that might happen to people on their property. This includes injuries occurring in businesses, homes, and other locations. 

Many people who were hurt on someone else’s property struggle with self-blame or uncertainty about their rights. We will examine the different types of premises liability cases so you can better understand your rights and take legal action confidently. 

The Smith Law Center has decades of combined experience helping people in complex injury cases and holding the proper party responsible. Contact us online or call (757) 244-7000 to understand how a premises liability lawyer can get you compensation for your injuries. 

What Is Premises Liability?

Premises liability holds property owners responsible for injuries occurring on their premises due to unsafe conditions. At the heart of these cases is a legal concept known as “negligence.” Negligence arises when someone fails to demonstrate the reasonable level of care expected in a situation, resulting in someone being injured. 

The injured party must show that:

  • The property owner owed a duty of care to keep the property safe for visitors.
  • There was a hazardous condition on the property. 
  • The property owner knew about the danger but didn’t fix it.
  • The owner’s failure to repair the hazard led to their injury. 

For example, a property owner knew about hazardous conditions like a slippery floor or broken stairs but did not repair them or did not warn the public about said dangers by putting up a sign.

What Type of Visitor Am I Considered?

The level of care required by property owners depends on the visitor’s status. Visitors are broken up into three categories: invitees, licensees, and trespassers. 

  1. Invitees are people who are invited onto the property for business purposes, like customers in a store, hotel guests, or someone attending a concert. 
  2. Licensees are individuals who have the property owner’s permission to enter the property, such as friends, family, social guests, and others who go to the property for non-commercial purposes.
  3. A trespasser is someone with no legal right or permission to enter the property, like a burglar or someone hunting on land without permission.

The highest level of care is owed to invitees, followed by licensees. Property owners aren’t usually liable for injuries to trespassers. However, if the property has a feature that might attract children and they don’t ensure it’s reasonably safe, they can be held responsible if a child trespasses and gets hurt.

Property owners have a moral and legal obligation to prioritize visitors’ well-being. You have every right to feel at ease in public spaces and confident that you are safe. 

Some lawyers are hesitant to take on premises liability claims due to the challenges in establishing a property owner’s liability, but not the team at The Smith Law Center. We have a long history of successfully representing people in several types of premises liability cases. Contact us online or call (757) 244-7000 to learn how we can help you, as we have done for so many others.

Premises Liability Examples

There are several scenarios in which someone can be harmed on someone else’s property due to negligence. A few of the main premises liability examples include: 

Slip, trip, and fall icon.

Slip, Trip, and Fall Claims

The second leading cause of unintentional injury-related death is falls. Each year falls cause over 8 million emergency room visits, making up 21.3% of all visits. Slips and falls alone lead to over 1 million of these visits, making up 12% of all falls. Negligent conditions on a property that can result in a slip, trip, or fall include: 

  • Slippery floors due to leaks, spills, or inadequate cleaning.
  • Uneven, raised, or damaged flooring, stairs, or sidewalks. 
  • Debris on the floor, sidewalks, or stairs.
  • Loose rugs or mats.
  • Lack of lighting.
  • Cracks or potholes on the pavement or parking lot.
  • Missing steps or handrails on stairs.

Listen to the Harrowing Story of Our Slip & Fall Client

Dog icon.

Dog Bite Claims

Usually, you can only sue the dog owner if you were attacked. However, if the dog bite happened at a business, apartment complex, or another commercial establishment, the property owner may also be liable if: 

  • The landlord or property owner knew there was a dog on site.
  • They were aware of the dog’s aggressive behavior or previous attacks.
  • They failed to take action to prevent the dog from harming others again.
Elevator icon.

Elevator Accident Claim

We all use elevators every day without thinking twice about it. But many people are severely injured or have even died because property owners have failed to ensure elevators are in perfect working condition. Elevators and escalators kill about 30 and seriously injure about 17,000 people annually in the U.S.

Elevator accidents that result in premises liability cases include: 

  • Malfunctioning doors that close too quickly, trapping passengers.
  • Sudden stops or drops due to mechanical failures.
  • The elevator does not align with the floor, creating a dangerous gap.
  • Inadequate maintenance that results in electrical issues.
  • Poor signage, warnings, or railings to prevent individuals from falling down the shaft.
Swimming pool icon.

Swimming Pool Accidents

A fun day at the swimming pool can quickly turn to tragedy if there is negligent maintenance or supervision. A property owner could be held liable for: 

  • Lack of proper fencing or barriers surrounding the pool.
  • Absence of warning signs regarding depth, diving risks, or slippery surfaces.
  • Unsafe pool attractions like diving boards or slides.
  • Lack of proper supervision of children.
Negligent security icon.

Negligent Security Claims

Negligent security involves incidents where people are injured due to insufficient security measures on the property, leaving them vulnerable to criminal activities or assaults. 

For example, picture a parking garage in a busy urban area with poor lighting and no security guards. Despite frequent reports of thefts and assaults, the property does not take any steps to improve security. In this situation, the property could be held liable if a visitor is attacked or robbed because of the lack of security measures. 

A property owner may be liable for negligent security if they:

  • Keep common areas poorly lit, increasing the risk of assaults or theft.
  • Neglect to install or maintain security cameras or alarm systems, which deter criminal activity and alert the proper authorities.
  • Fail to hire security guards to protect visitors.
  • Refuse to fix entry points like broken doors, gates, locks, or windows. 
  • Fail to install a security gate. 
Fire safety icon.

Fire Safety Violations

Failure to follow fire safety protocols or building codes can lead to grave consequences for visitors or occupants. Property owners may be held liable for violations such as: 

  • Inadequate fire exits or emergency routes.
  • Lack of functional fire alarms, smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, or sprinkler systems.
  • Overcrowding beyond safe limits.
  • Poorly maintained electrical systems.
  • Absence of clear evacuation signage.
  • Unsafe storage of flammable materials.

Premises Liability Case Examples: Common Locations for Accidents 

Typically, we trust that property owners maintain a safe environment, but unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Danger can strike anytime and anywhere. You may have a premises liability case if you suffered injuries at one of the following spots: 

  • Bars
  • Homes
  • Movie theaters
  • Amusement parks
  • Gyms and other recreational centers
  • Grocery stores
  • Restaurants
  • Offices
  • Hotels and resorts
  • Workplaces
  • Schools
  • Hospitals
  • Airports, train stations, bus stations
  • Sports arenas
  • Apartment complexes

Injuries in Premises Liability Claims

In premises liability claims, several injuries may qualify you for compensation, such as: 

An infographic of injuries related to premises liability.

Settlements Secured By Our Team in Premises Liability Claims

Below is only a sample of a few of the impressive settlements we have won for clients in premises liability litigation in the past: 

  • $12.2 million to a client who suffered a mild traumatic brain injury from a slip and fall. This was the largest slip and fall verdict in Virginia history at the time.
  • $2.25 million against Pier 1 Imports for a mild head injury caused by falling merchandise.
  • A retired veteran who sustained serious burns in a fire in a rooming house with no smoke detectors received $1 million. 

These examples offer a glimpse into the favorable outcomes we’ve worked hard to achieve for our clients. At The Smith Law Center, you are not just another case or settlement to us. We treat our clients like family and will go above and beyond in your premises liability case.

The Smith Law Center Has Your Back in a Premises Liability Claim

Premises liability law can quickly get complicated. That’s why it’s helpful to have an attorney on your side with experience handling these types of claims. Trying to file a case on your own can seem impossible, but The Smith Law Center can ease the stress and support you every step of the way. 

If you were injured while on someone else’s property and feel like they didn’t take the proper steps to ensure your safety, contact us online or call (757) 244-7000 to find out how our team can protect you and your rights. 

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