Premises liability is a general term for risk that can take many forms. It generally involves injury or property damage that occurs on property you own or control, such as under a lease. However, it can include harm to someone outside of your property resulting from a condition on your property. An example of this is a tree growing on your property falling onto a car parked on the public street, causing damage.
The law specifies that property owners have a duty to maintain their property in such a way that it does not pose risk of injury to persons or things on or off their property. This duty requires that property owners make reasonable, periodic inspections of their property to ensure that it is safe. The reasonableness of the level and frequency of inspections will be determined by the specific facts of each case. For instance, it might be perfectly reasonable for the owner of raw land in the middle of nowhere to inspect her property only every couple of years; whereas the owner of a busy commercial building might fall below what is deemed reasonable even if he makes inspections every two or three hours. Indeed, restaurants and grocery stores are expected to make very frequent inspections, because of the likelihood that food or liquid will end up on the floor, causing slip and fall hazards.
Having homeowner's insurance is one way a property owner controls the risk of having to pay for injuries suffered by guests, neighbors, and passersby, resulting from hazards on their property. Homeowner's insurance is not only a good idea, it is required by lenders. However, many times insurance does not cover the specific kind of injury suffered or the conduct that caused it. For instance, if a guest at a party on your property is injured as a result of intentional conduct, it is unlikely your insurance company will accept the claim, leaving you on your own to defend yourself, and/or pay for the injured party. There are many exclusions that will allow an insurance company to deny coverage under homeowner's policies, general commercial liability policies, and personal liability policies. If you are concerned about whether you will be sued as a result of your conduct or an event that happened on or near your property, we can help you determine your risk of liability, and whether your insurance policy will be "triggered" or not. Oftentimes and early visit to your lawyer can keep a bad situation from turning into a disaster for you and your family.
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