Property owners have certain obligations to protect visitors and guests. However, the owner is not automatically liable for every accident or injury that occurs on his or her land. In this video, attorney Christopher Castro explores the complexities of the law as he discusses the question: what is premises liability?
Premises liability includes cases that are on someone’s land. Or in their store. Or on their central, their premises. And premises liability cases, I would have to say to you, are quite difficult. Just from the jump. The law is not too, say, skewed in the favor of the landowner. But there are certain obligations that the injured party has to carry in order to prove a claim versus a premises owner. And those obligations, oftentimes, even though it’s simple to the injured party or, in their mind said, they believe I got hurt on that person’s premises, that they owe me something, that is not really the essence of the law. In a premises liability case, you have to demonstrate that the owner of the property or the people that oversee it had some kind of knowledge or notice of the problem on the premises. Which we would call a defect in the premises. And that they should have known about the problem and done something to repair it. Or, that they in fact themselves caused that problem to exist. In conjunction with the knowledge element, is an issue of time. And how long did this particular thing exist? Oftentimes, we’ll have people come to us and say, I was in a store. And I slipped and fell on water. Or on a piece of fruit or whatever it may be. If in fact, a customer had come along only minutes before and spilled the water. Or, a child was playing in the store and spilled his water bottle or a cup of something. And then you come along and you’re injured thereafter—doesn’t necessarily mean that the store is on the hook for that. So, it’s a time requirement. That the store owner, you know, had an awareness such that he could have done something, or she could have done something to have corrected the problem and didn’t do so in a timely fashion. Now, in the event that an employee of the store was mopping the premises and didn’t properly warn or properly clean up the mess that they might have created. Then, certainly, the store is going to bear liability more likely than not.