In Connecticut, as elsewhere, property owners have a responsibility to ensure their properties are reasonably safe for anyone who may step onto the property. These visitors may include tenants, customers, friends, family members, and even delivery personnel. These premises liability laws are far-ranging and can even extend from property owners to property managers and landlords. In some cases, multiple parties may be responsible for an injury. If you own a property in the state, either residential or commercial, it can be very valuable for you to have a basic understanding of how premises liability laws can affect you, and to make sure you have appropriate liability coverage. If you’ve been injured on someone’s property, this knowledge may assist you in getting just compensation.
What Are Unsafe Conditions?
Most of us have been witness to unsafe conditions on a property. They may include:
- Broken or cracked sidewalks or driveways
- Poor lighting
- Cluttered stairways
- Uneven flooring or loose carpeting
- Slippery surfaces
- Broken glass
- Unsafe materials that are left unsecured
- Overcrowded store aisles.
Not only do property owners have a responsibility to prevent these situations from occurring, but if they do occur, they should take proper steps to warn visitors to the premises. This can include something as simple as a “Danger: Wet Floors” sign, or roping off areas where flooring or concrete may be unsafe. This serves as a warning to visitors, and it also demonstrates that someone is aware that there is a problem on the property.
Risks of Unsafe Conditions
Unsafe conditions can result in injuries, which in turn can lead to personal injury liability claims. Here are some of the more common personal injury liability claims.
- Slips and Falls – This is the most common of all premises liability claims. Slips and falls can occur in a parking lot, hotel lobby, retail store aisle, apartment building or while visiting a friend’s home. Many slips and falls occur because of unsafe conditions like unsecured cords or cables, loose carpets, overcrowded store aisles, wet floors, and more. The National Floor Safety Institute says that almost a third of Americans 65 years of age or older will suffer a slip and fall and that 5% of all slips and falls result in a fracture.
- Dog Bites – Property owners who have dogs have a responsibility to make sure that dog is not a danger to others. Dogs should be contained in a fenced-in area or on a leash. If you are bitten by a dog, you may have a liability claim against the owner.
- Pool, Trampoline, and Swing Set Injuries. Those who have homes with pools, trampolines or swing sets have a responsibility to make sure these items are secured from unauthorized use and are properly maintained to function safely. A Journal of Pediatric Orthopedics study states that trampoline injuries in a 10-year period from 2002 to 2011 resulted in over $11 billion in emergency room treatments.
- Security that is Lacking or Negligent. One often overlooked area of premises liability is negligent security. If you are staying in a hotel, shopping in a store, or even spending the night at a friend’s house, you should have reasonable expectations of security. Should you be injured or otherwise incur a loss due to poor security, especially if it can be shown that the owner was aware there could be a security issue, the property owner may be held liable.
While these are some of the more common examples, they are far from the only examples of premises liability.
The key to premises liability in Connecticut are the words “reasonably safe.” Here is where proper legal representation can make or break your personal injury case. An experienced attorney in premises liability and personal injury cases should be able to demonstrate that the property owner knew there was a risk and failed to take necessary steps to resolve the risk. This may include potholes in a parking lot that cause a fall, broken concrete on a sidewalk that has been there for years, or improperly stored inventory that falls from a retail shelf. In addition, an attorney experienced in this area of law knows that perhaps more than one party may be responsible. Perhaps loose flooring was manufactured or installed improperly. A delivery person may leave a package in an area where it could be a hazard. A janitorial company may be responsible for an unmarked wet floor.
With over 40 years of legal excellence, The Law Office of Ronald M. Scherban, P.C. knows how to win personal injury cases and those involving premises liability. There is no fee unless you receive compensation. If you have been harmed physically and or financially due to the negligence of a property owner or one of its agents, please contact us to discuss your case. The Law Office of Ronald M. Scherban, P.C. – Commitment. Excellence. Results.