Premises liability is the area of law that covers injuries that occur when you are on someone’s property, such as in a friend or neighbors home, or at a store. The most common injuries in this area of law are from slip and falls or objects falling off of walls, shelves, or roofs.
Premises Liability law can often be quite complicated. Many people wrongly believe that if you slip and fall on someone’s property you are entitled to compensation. In reality, it depends on whose property (a business vs. a friend), what you slipped on, how long that object had been present, and numerous other factors.
Under Arizona Law, a business owner is required to use reasonable care to warn or safeguard against unreasonably dangerous conditions of which the defendant had notice. The Plaintiff or injured person must prove:
- The Defendant or its employees created the condition; or
- The Defendant or its employees actually knew of the condition [in time to provide a remedy or warning]; or
- The condition existed for a sufficient length of time that the Defendant or its employees, in the exercise of reasonable care, should have known of it.
Oftentimes, in these cases, the plaintiff slips on something that has spilled. These cases are particularly challenging because the Plaintiff must prove the spilled liquid had been on the floor for a sufficient amount of time that the business should have known about it. This may require interviewing witnesses and reviewing store security tapes.
Other cases of Premises Liability are more straight forward. When a store puts a heavy, bulky object on a weak top shelf, the store creates the dangerous condition. So when that heavy object falls and injures someone, the store is responsible for those injuries.
If you have been injured while on the premises of another person or business, you should consult with a person injury attorney to determine if you have a case. Even if you do not have a case, some businesses carry “no fault” insurance, or Medical Payments Coverage, that can pay your medical bills – even if the business did nothing wrong.