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Assessing liability in a premises liability action

Whether we are headed to the store, a friend's house or an office building, most individuals in New York and elsewhere do not think about the potential dangers they could encounter when entering these properties. In fact, most visitors and guests are under the impression that these places are safe from hazards. Unfortunately, some property owners are negligent, resulting in serious accidents.

Property owners as well as non-owner residents have the duty to maintain a relatively safe environment so those coming onto the property do not suffer an injury. And when an injury does occur, it may be possible to hold the owner or resident liable through premises liability.

When assessing liability, one must look at certain factors in the situation. To begin, the legal status of the visitor should be explored. This means understanding whether someone is an invitee, which is a person invited on the premises, a licensee, such as a guest, a social guest, which is a welcomed visitor or a trespasser, which is a person that enters without any rights to do so.

Another factor to consider is the condition of the property as well as the actions of the property owner and visitor. One typically will ask: under what circumstances did the visitor enter the property, how is the property being used, was an injury or accident foreseeable and did the owner or possessor make reasonable efforts to repair dangerous conditions or warn visitors of these dangerous conditions.

When taking these and other factors into consideration, it can be clear why a person was on the property and whether the property owner had knowledge of the dangerous conditions. If a person was rightfully entering property and a property owner failed to repair a dangerous condition, then the property owner could be liable for the injuries suffered by a visitor injured in an accident on the property.

Whether it is a slip-and-fall or any other type of accident, it is important for victims to understand their rights and options. This may look like filing a premises liability action. This not only helps a victim hold a negligent party accountable but it also assists with the recovery of compensation.

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