Premises Liability – civil liability for injuries from dangerous conditions on property
What is a Premises Liability case or claim?
The legal term premises liability refers generally to legal liability that can result in situations where one is injured on another’s property due to the property owner’s failure to keep the premises safe. It could be a commercial store or someone’s private residence, although private property owners may not have legal liability where one trespasses on their land uninvited. Cases can range from a slip in fall in a department store to an electrocution at a construction site. Property and business owners have a duty to keep their property safe for their customers and invited guests. They may also have a duty to warn of a potentially hazardous condition, so their guests can take appropriate precautions.
Property owners do not owe the same duty to trespassers, with the only duty being to avoid intentional or willful harm. Appalachian Power Co. v. LaForce, 214 Va. 438, 441 (1974). However, once the owner becomes aware of the trespasser, the law ceases to treat them as trespassers and the standard duty of reasonable care under the circumstances applies. Ches & O. R Co. v. Corbin’s Admin., 110 Va. 700 (1910).