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Premises Liability and Foreseeable Harm: How Does It Work?

On Behalf of | Nov 10, 2017 | Premises Liability

When you enter someone’s property, you have a reasonable expectation that you will not be injured while on that property. In support of that expectation, the law requires that the property owner maintain the property and keep it relatively safe. If the property owner fails to keep their premises safe, and people visiting that property are injured, the property owner could be held liable for damages. The law, however, only requires that the property owner keep the property’s visitors safe from “foreseeable harm.” Therefore, if you are injured on someone’s property (private or public), you must understand the role foreseeable harm plays in a premises liability case.

Foreseeability of Harm

The foundation of a premises liability case relies on the predictability of harm. The predictability or foreseeability of harm is what establishes the property owner’s duty. The theory behind the requirement of foreseeability is that you cannot hold someone liable for injuries caused by harm that was not predictable, or knowable by a reasonable person. The key here is that the potential defendant is compared to a reasonably prudent person. So, if a property owner could not have foreseen anyone getting injured because there were no known – or reasonably knowable – dangers on his property; then he cannot be held liable for injuries. Conversely, if a property owner knew – or should have known – about a danger on their property but did not fix it or warn guests about it, then liability would attach for any resultant injuries.

Two Types of Foreseeable Risks

The first type of foreseeable risk is physical impact. The second kind of foreseeable risk involves the situation itself. Recovery, for the plaintiff, would depend on when a defendant or reasonable person should see a threat is severe enough to cause substantial injuries.

Does Comparative Fault Apply?

A common defense tactic in these cases is putting part of the blame on the injured party. This argument goes something like this, “if the plaintiff was partially at fault for his or her injuries, the defendant should not be entirely liable for the damages.” Most states use some type of comparative fault system, and most defense attorneys will do their best to get as much of the fault pinned on the plaintiff (injured party) as possible to lessen their client’s liability. Therefore, if a defense attorney or insurance company tries to claim you were partially at fault for your injuries, it is best to stop the conversation immediately – and go speak with a personal injury attorney.

Speak with an Injury Attorney Today

If you or a loved one has suffered from a premises liability injury, speak with a qualified personal injury attorney today. An attorney can help you explore your legal rights for compensation. The first step is to contact Jacobs Law, LLC to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation. You can call us at 317-520-9283, or contact us online today.


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