Frequently Asked Questions About Premises Liability

Answered By Our Atlantic City Premises Liability Lawyer

What is premises liability?

Premises liability law is the body of law which makes the person who is in possession of land or premises responsible for certain injuries suffered by persons who are present on the property. Premises liability holds owners and occupiers of property legally responsible for accidents and injuries that occur on that property. In Atlantic City, many of these types of injuries occur in casinos.
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What is possession under premises liability law?

Under premises liability law, a person is said to “possess” land or premises when:

  1. The person occupies the land or premises with the intent to control it;
  2. The person formerly occupied the land or premises with the intent to control it, where no other person has subsequently occupied the land or premises with intent to control it; or
  3. The person is entitled to immediate occupation of the land or premises, if no other person is in possession as just defined.

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If a person suffers injury on someone else’s property, to what extent are the owner/ possessor liable?

An owner remains liable for the condition of property, even if it contracted with a management company to provide all service and maintenance in relation to the housing. Sometimes, the injured person will be partially at fault for what happened. A visitor has a duty, in most cases, to exercise reasonable care for his or her own safety. When the victim does not properly exercise this care, there may be a limit to recovery. The comparative fault system in personal injury cases contemplates a reduction in legal damages claimed by an injured person by a percentage that is equivalent to his fault for the incident. If you were injured at a casino due to the casino’s negligence, then the casino is liable for your medical bills and other reasonable expenses and damages.
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What is a slip and fall accident?

Slip and fall accidents or injuries come under the category of premises liability law. They occur when a person suffers serious injury by slipping or tripping and falling because of unsafe or dangerous stairs, railings or other structures. Restaurants, parks, casinos, museums, office buildings, homes, apartment buildings, outside steps, sidewalks, etc. are locations prone to safety problems. These may include slippery or irregular floors, irregular stairs, improper handrails, unsafe curbs, poor or improper maintenance, improper design, improper construction, unsafe equipment and improper repairs. Falls can take place both indoors and outdoors.
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Who is liable for slip and fall injuries?

Under general tort or personal injury law, slip and fall cases must meet certain criteria for a victim to receive compensation for their damages. A party is held liable for slip and fall injuries sustained on their property when the victim can prove that the party had knowledge of the danger and failed to act in an appropriate and timely manner to prevent injury. The injured party may not be able to receive compensation if he or she had knowledge of the hazard prior to the injury. An accident lawyer can assess the details of your scenario to help you then discern whether or not there is liability in your particular case.
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What are the recoverable damages in a slip and fall lawsuit?

Damages for slip and fall cases may include medical bills, lost time from work, permanent or temporary disability, pain and suffering, which includes physical and mental agony.
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If I am the victim of a crime, can the property owner be liable?

Under some circumstances, business and property owners can be liable for injuries due to crime on their property. Owners have a duty to take precautions to ensure the safety of visitors to that property. Prevention of crime falls under that duty. For a property owner to be responsible for injuries caused by crime, injured parties must be able to prove that it was foreseeable that a criminal act would occur. This can be proved in a variety of ways. For example, if a property exists in an area with high crime, then the property owner must take actions to prevent crimes from injuring visitors. This can include ensuring adequate lighting in parking and common areas, putting up security cameras, hiring security patrols, using adequate locks and running criminal background checks on tenants and employees.

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Are cities ever responsible for injuries on sidewalks or public places?

In some rare circumstances, a city, town or other municipality may be responsible for injuries that occur on public property. There are special rules regarding lawsuits against municipalities for sidewalk injuries.

Under New Jersey law, the injured party has 90 days following a sidewalk injury to file a claim against the county, state or municipal entity. There is then a six-month waiting period before the party can file a personal injury lawsuit. During that time, the municipal agency will likely contact the party to deny or settle the claim. Municipalities have large teams of experienced and expensive attorneys to fight these kinds of lawsuits. Due to this fact, it is important for you to discuss your case with a qualified personal injury lawyer.

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How do I pay for my medical expenses after a premises liability injury?

A verdict or settlement in your premises liability lawsuit can help you pay for your medical bills. However, many cases take some time before the victim recovers damages. In premises liability cases, generally, the victim will be responsible for medical bills until the resolution of the claim. However, some property owners have medical payment or “med pay” insurance coverage. If the owner has med pay coverage, then that insurance can pay for the victim’s injuries up to the policy limit. After that, the victim will be responsible for any outstanding medical bills.

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What are examples of premises liability cases?

Premises liability injuries can happen in a variety of ways. For example:

  • A casino overserves a patron alcohol, leading that patron to assault another
  • Broken or missing stair rails lead to a fall
  • Liquid or ice on steps or walkways cause a fall
  • Burns occur due to defective or damaged appliances
  • Inadequate fencing around swimming pools lead to drowning
  • Lack of warning signs lead to injury
  • An owner fails to properly maintain an animal, causing injuries such as dog bites

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