Premises liability lawsuits are civil actions that are brought against the owners or occupiers of a property for injuries or damages sustained by an individual. These actions are based on the legal theory that property owners and occupiers have a duty of care to those who enter their property to keep them safe from harm. In other words, property owners and occupiers must take reasonable steps to make sure that the property is safe and free from hazards that could cause injury or harm to individuals that enter the premises.
The first step in determining whether a premises liability claim is valid is to establish that the property owner or occupier owed a duty of care to the injured party. Generally, a duty of care is established if the owner or occupier had knowledge of a hazardous condition or unreasonable risk of harm on the property and failed to take reasonable steps to reduce or prevent the harm. If the owner or occupier did not have knowledge of the hazardous condition or risk of harm, then the court may find that they did not breach their duty of care.
In addition to establishing a duty of care, the injured party must also demonstrate that the property owner or occupier was negligent in their duty to maintain the premises. To prove negligence, the injured party must demonstrate that the property owner or occupier either created the hazardous condition, failed to repair the hazardous condition or failed to warn of the hazardous condition. Negligence is an essential element of a premises liability claim and must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt.
In addition to negligence, the injured party must also prove that their injuries were a direct result of the hazardous condition or risk of harm. For example, if the property owner or occupier was aware of a dangerous condition on the property but failed to take reasonable steps to reduce or prevent the harm, the injured party must demonstrate that their injuries were directly caused by the hazardous condition. This means that the injured party must demonstrate that their injuries would not have occurred if the property owner or occupier had taken reasonable steps to make the premises safe.
Finally, the injured party must also prove that they suffered damages as a result of their injuries. Damages can include medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other costs associated with the injury.
Premises liability lawsuits can be complex, but they serve an important purpose in protecting the public and holding property owners and occupiers accountable for their negligence. By proving each of the elements outlined above, injured parties can seek compensation for their injuries and damages by hiring a local personal injury lawyer in Alabama to fight for them.