There is a phrase that describes dangerous property: an accident waiting to happen. This can range from a wet tiled surface to a rotten floor boards. While these circumstances certainly constitute a high risk of someone getting inadvertently injured, they are not enough to constitute premises liability. One of the basic requirements for this to apply is reasonable care taken by a visitor.
The liability of the property owner, lessee, or anyone else that has control of the premises is not automatically presumed even if the injured party has a legal right to be there. That is, the injured party is a visitor or invitee and not a trespasser. While the property owner has a duty of care towards people who may legally be on the property to ensure that no harm comes to them, the visitor or invitee also has a duty to take reasonable care to avoid harm.
For example, if the wet tiled surface is on the perimeter of a swimming pool, those who traverse the surface should not be running or using footwear that tend to slide on smooth surfaces to avoid slipping. Visitors should also avoid portions of the property where the surface is obviously unstable. Visiting children should be kept away from or be supervised when in the kitchen, near a grill, around water, pets, or unsecured high places.
On the other hand, property owners who know or should have known about the potential dangers of the property should give adequate verbal or written warning about these dangers to visitors. Areas that are inherently unsafe should have restricted access. According to Pohl & Berk, LLP lawyers, failure to take these measures may constitute negligence by the property owner.
When injury occurs on a property despite reasonable care taken by the visitor or licensee, a claim of premises liability may be eligible. Consult a premises liability lawyer to assess the case.