Whether the property in question is a private residence, a retail store, or even a public park, the owners and operators of that property have a legal responsibility to keep lawful visitors safe from harm. However, the exact duty property owners owe to visitors varies depending on the visitor’s purpose for being on their property—and accordingly, so does a visitor’s right to file suit over injuries sustained on someone else’s land.
If you want to hold someone financially responsible for an injury you sustained on their property, you should strongly consider talking to a New Brunswick premises liability lawyer before trying to pursue a claim by yourself. A qualified personal injury attorney could examine the circumstances of your potential case, explain your legal options to you, and work tirelessly to maximize the amount of compensation you can recover.
There are four categories a visitor on someone else’s property could fall into, three of which may allow for civil litigation in the event that visitor suffered an injury. Property owners do not take on any civil liability for injuries to visitors who fall into the third category of “trespassers” unless they intentionally and knowingly try to cause injury to trespassers—for example, by setting traps.
Conversely, property owners do owe a “duty of care” to licensees, which are lawful visitors who are on the property for their own purposes, such as the mail carrier or the UPS delivery person. In the interest of protecting licensees from foreseeable harm, property owners must warn this type of visitor about known hazardous conditions on their land.
An even higher standard of care applies to invitees, who are lawful visitors on the property for the benefit of the property owner, such as retail customers. When it comes to protecting invitees, property owners must not only provide warnings about known hazards but also inspect their property regularly to ensure that a hazard the owner reasonably should have known about does not cause harm to an invitee.
Finally, a residential property owner or tenant owes a social guest a duty to disclose known but hidden hazards, like a loose brick on the front steps. A New Brunswick premises liability attorney could clarify what category a particular visitor falls into and what that might mean for their prospects of civil litigation.
Importantly, even if a lawful visitor has valid grounds to file suit against a property owner over a dangerous condition on their land, that visitor’s own negligence could reduce the amount of compensation available to them. Specifically, under New Jersey Revised Statutes §2A:15-5.1, any civil plaintiff who bears a percentage of the blame for their own injuries is subject to a proportional reduction of any damage award they receive, and any plaintiff more than 50 percent at fault for their own injuries is ineligible to seek any compensation at all.
If there are no issues with comparative fault, though, a successful plaintiff could recover for both economic and non-economic damages through a successful premises liability claim. Specific losses that an experienced property liability lawyer in New Brunswick could help seek restitution for may include:
If you recently got into an accident while visiting another person’s property, you may be able to hold that person civilly liable for the harm you suffered. However, you must be able to prove that the property owner owed you a legal duty that they subsequently violated, a requirement that can be next to impossible for someone inexperienced with civil litigation to fulfill.
Working with a knowledgeable New Brunswick premises liability lawyer could significantly boost your odds of a favorable case resolution. Call today to schedule a consultation.