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When are property owners liable for injuries?

On Behalf of | Aug 17, 2022 | Personal Injury |

Nobody plans on being injured from a seemingly mundane trip to a store, hotel or other business or residence. Property owners have the duty to take reasonable precautions to prevent these injuries.

Tripping hazards

 Slips, trips and falls are among the most common causes of personal injury lawsuits involving premises liability. Dangers usually include:

  • Glossy tile, stone with a high polish, and other slippery floor surfaces.
  • Broken flooring with holes.
  • Surfaces that are not even.
  • Poor illumination, especially in stairwells or walkways.
  • Surfaces that are wet from spills, inadequate drainage, and bad weather.
  • Elevation changes.
  • Exposed wires, especially at entertainment or trade show venues.

Property owners have the duty of correcting any dangers. For example, restaurant owners and supermarkets should assure that spills are quickly addressed, or markers are placed as visible warnings. Burned out lightbulbs must be replaced quickly. Torn carpeting or missing tiles need to be fixed. Exposed wires must be addressed


 Property owners must take steps to prevent stealing, assault, violence, or other crimes that cause injuries or property loss. Owners are especially liable if crimes were predicable because of the property’s location, earlier incidents, or industry trends.

These are some of the precautions that property owners should take:

  • Eliminating hiding areas by trimming trees and shrubs.
  • Having adequate indoor and outdoor lighting, especially in parking areas.
  • Having surveillance equipment and security guards trained to recognize threats.
  • Insisting that visitors sign in and have packages inspected.
  • Not allowing access to secure areas except for authorized employees.
  • Having a management system for keys and reprogramming the key cards frequently.
  • Using an alarm system that is always monitored by security personnel or police.
  • Contacting local police and reviewing local crime statistics to be aware of local crime trends.
  • Taking steps to assure that liquor is not served to inebriated or underage customers at restaurants or hospitality venues.


Property owners must also assure that there is safe exiting from their buildings if there is a fire or other emergency. The nearest escape routes have to be clearly marked.

Property owners need to take these actions:

  • Inspecting emergency lighting and signs and assuring that they are working.
  • Keeping all exists unobstructed and unlocked from the inside.
  • Having evacuation routes visible and unimpeded.
  • Assuring that sprinkler and fire detection systems are up to code and functioning.
  • Communicating and posting emergency evacuation plans in a visible location.

It is important to act quickly after an accident or crime on another premises. Attorneys can assist victims with obtaining information and seeking compensation.