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Who Can Be Held Liable for a Premises Liability Claim?

The legal concept of premises liability allows a victim who is injured due to defects on someone else’s property to file a claim or lawsuit seeking damages, or financial compensation, for related losses. While property owners are the most common liable party in a premises liability claim, other parties can also be named as defendants, depending on the circumstances. 

Property Owner Liability In Connecticut

In Connecticut, property owners have a legal responsibility to maintain safe premises. If an owner fails to meet this duty of care, he or she can be held legally responsible for any injuries that visitors sustain due to this failure. This breach of duty is known in personal injury law as negligence. At Jacobs & Jacobs, our New Haven premises liability attorney’s main objective is to make sure that our clients have an advocate by their side after suffering an injury. Contact us today for a free case evaluation. 

The duties of care a property owner has vary based on the classification of the visitor:

  • Invitee: someone who has the property owner’s permission or invitation to enter the property and does so for the owner’s benefit, such as customers at a business. Invitees are owed the highest duties of care, which include a duty to inspect the property for new or unknown hazards, repair any known defects, and warn visitors of nonobvious injury risks.
  • Licensee: someone who has permission to enter a property but does so for his or her own purposes, such as a salesperson. Licensees are owed a lesser duty of care than invitees, which includes repairing known defects and warning licensees of potential hazards. 
  • Trespasser: someone who does not have permission or legal authority to enter or remain on a property. Property owners owe the lowest duty of care to trespassers and are generally not required to ensure their safety. However, there are exceptions for trespassers under the age of 18.

If the owner of a private residence, business or commercial property is negligent in his or her duties to maintain a safe premises, the property owner can be held liable in a related premises liability claim. This means the property owner will be financially responsible for an injured visitor’s medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses.

Landlord or Property Manager Liability

If a property is managed or controlled by someone other than the owner, such as a landlord or property manager, this party will share responsibility for maintaining a safe premises for visitors. Landlords are responsible for maintaining all common areas of a rental property, such as lawns and stairways. 

 If a tenant or another lawful property visitor gets hurt due to a hazard present in a common area, the landlord or property manager can be held liable. However, if the accident occurs in a tenant’s private unit, the tenant could be held accountable. Tenants or occupiers of a property are responsible for maintaining their areas of a rented premises.

Government Entities

If a slip and fall accident, dog attack, swimming pool accident, or another type of premises liability incident occurs on public property in Connecticut, a government entity may be held liable.  

State, local and federal governments are responsible for ensuring the reasonable safety of public spaces. If an individual trips and falls on a cracked public sidewalk, for example, a premises liability claim may be brought against the government agency responsible for maintaining that area.

If you were recently injured while on someone else’s property in New Haven, contact the premises liability lawyers at Jacobs & Jacobs for a free case consultation about your legal rights. We can investigate your case and determine the liable party or parties. 

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