When we leave our homes and spend time on someone else’s property—whether it be a park that’s owned by the city, a public street, a state building, an apartment complex, or a homeowner’s yard—we trust that we’ll be safe at all times. All property owners have a legal duty to keep their properties safe and well-maintained. This includes any buildings, walkways, landscaped areas, and structures. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen. Sometimes accidents occur and people become injured.
These accidents shouldn’t always be written off as simple, forgivable mistakes, however. When a property owner fails to keep their building or property safe and injuries occur as a result, U.S. citizens can take legal action against the property owner to ensure that they get the help they need to recover from their injuries. In doing so, the property owner also learns about the importance of building and property upkeep.
Cases like this are part of a legal branch we refer to as premises liability law. When accidents and injuries occur on a premises other than your own home, the property owner can be held financially and legally responsible for those injuries. A skilled Milwaukee, WI premises liability lawyer can hold the property owner accountable and help the injured victim get back on their feet again.
Understanding the Basics of Premises Liability Law
There are many different types of accidents that are part of premises liability law. Any case that results from an accident where someone slips or trips then falls on another person’s property, often referred to as a “slip and fall” accident, can be defined as a premises liability case. Accidents involving falling debris, broken stairs or handrails, uneven pavement, unmarked potholes, building design or construction defects, dangerous chemical spills, or an unsteady roof are other examples.
Premises liability cases can be difficult to prove in court. In the state of Wisconsin, one or more of the following statements needs to be proven in a premises liability case:
- The accident was directly or indirectly caused by the property owner’s negligence i.e. failure to properly maintain the building or property
- The property owner knew about the dangerous condition and did nothing to fix the condition or place adequate warning signs/tape to keep visitors safe
- The property owner should have known about the dangerous hazard and taken preventive measures
The last two points can be especially tricky to argue. Essentially, the term “reasonable” plays a rather large role in premises liability law. Property owners must be given a reasonable amount of time to apply fixes to dangerous building and property conditions. In the meantime, warnings signs must be placed in locations that are visible and give visitors enough time to react in order to avoid the hazard.
Similarly, premises owners must also be expected to regularly inspect their property and keep an eye out for any hazards or conditions that need to be repaired or upgraded. When a judge states that a property owner should have known about a dangerous hazard, they are essentially saying that they had a reasonable amount of time to perform those inspections and had a duty to do so and notice the hazard. The term “reasonable” varies and its exact meaning will be decided upon by the judge and the specifics of the case.
Get Expert Help from an Experienced Milwaukee, WI Premises Liability Lawyer
If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in an accident that occurred on someone else’s property and you feel the property owner was negligent and failed to properly maintain the premises, you have a right to file a lawsuit against the owner. To learn more, don’t hesitate to reach out to Urban & Taylor S.C. today.
Our law offices can pair you with an experienced Milwaukee, WI premises liability lawyer who can tell you if you have a possible case on your hands and walk you through every step of the filing process. We also have branches situated throughout the entire state of Wisconsin and will be happy to meet with you anywhere.