How to Prove Fault in a Premises Liability Lawsuit
Property owners can be held liable for injuries that occur on their property when they fail to keep the premises reasonably safe or warn visitors of known hazards. However, holding a property owner responsible requires proving the following elements of negligence.
Duty of Care
The first step in proving fault in a premises liability lawsuit is establishing that the property owner had a duty of care towards the plaintiff (victim). This means that the property owner was responsible for maintaining a safe environment for visitors.
Breach of Duty
Once a duty of care has been established, the next step is to show that the property owner breached that duty of care. This means that the property owner failed to take reasonable steps to ensure visitors’ safety—for example, regular maintenance, proper lighting, clear signage, installing security cameras, etc.
In order to prove fault, the plaintiff must also show that the breach of duty was the cause of their injury. This means there must be evidence of a direct link between the property owner’s actions or negligence and the injury.
Finally, the plaintiff must show that they suffered damages as a result of the property owner’s breach of duty. This could include physical injuries, medical expenses, lost wages, and other costs related to the accident.
Types of Evidence Needed to Prove Fault in a Premises Liability Case
Here are some types of evidence that can strengthen a premises liability case:
- Photographs and videos of the accident scene: These can help prove the condition of the property at the time of the accident, any hazards present, and the extent of the injuries suffered.
- Eyewitness testimony: Statements from people who witnessed the accident or knew about the property’s condition can be powerful evidence.
- Maintenance records: Documentation of routine maintenance and repairs conducted on the property can indicate whether the property owner was aware of any hazards and took appropriate action to address them.
- Incident reports: If the accident occurred on commercial property, filing an incident report with the owner or manager can provide more information about the accident.
- Medical records: Medical records can demonstrate the extent of the injuries sustained in the accident and the cost of medical treatment.
- Expert witness testimony: Expert witnesses, such as engineers and safety experts, can be hired to evaluate the condition of the property and testify as to whether the property owner acted reasonably to prevent the accident.
- Prior incidents: If there are records of similar incidents or accidents that have occurred on the property, this can be evidence of a pattern of negligence or that the property owner was already aware of the hazard.
The specifics of what constitutes property owner negligence and liability may vary depending on the circumstances of each case, including the nature of the property, the activities taking place on it, and the reason for the visitor’s presence. Due to the complexity of these cases, consult an Atlanta Premises Liability Lawyer to discuss your situation as soon as possible.