Premises Liability FAQ's

If you are injured while on someone else's property, you may have a barrage of questions that you want answered. Michael J. O'Connor & Associates may be able to help you ascertain whether or not the property owner is liable for your injury. Some commonly asked questions are:

If a neighbor invites a person onto their property and thereafter the person is injured, what is the result?

In this situation, it would depend on how the injury occurred, as "social guests" are sometimes able to recover damages from the "host" or property owner. If the Homeowner fails to either correct or tell their guests about any dangerous conditions on the property that the guest is unlikely to recognize, then the property owner may be held liable for the person's injury. For example, if a guest is injured by sitting on an unbalanced chair that tips the person over onto the floor, the injured person may be able to recover damages if they can prove that the property owner knew other people had also tipped over on the same chair, and, that the injured person was unlikely to recognize the danger. The property owner may have a legitimate argument to not be held responsible if they had either warned the person of the chair's propensity to tip, or had removed the chair for the security of the person.

If a person is injured while walking on a public sidewalk beside a construction site when they are hit by falling debris, who is liable for the person's injuries?

The answer may not be a simple one. The construction company has a duty to protect the public by taking reasonable precautions such as removing bricks and assorted debris from public sidewalks close to their construction sites. Furthermore, a construction company also has a duty to post advisory warnings indicating that pedestrians may be at risk around the construction area. A failure of the construction company to adhere to any of their duties that results in a person sustaining an injury may enable the injured person to recover from the construction company. For example, if a construction company fails to erect barriers and warning signs by a construction area in which falling debris is landing on a public sidewalk, if a person is injured by such falling debris when walking on the public sidewalk, the construction company may be liable.

Is a person able to sue a city if they are injured from falling over a piece of the city sidewalk that broke off?

The answer is not entirely straight forward, as it may depend on the type of statutes on the books in the state where the injury occurred. Many states enact statutes that provide local governmental entities, such as cities, with immunity from recovery in certain types of cases brought against said entity (city). Conversely, if the state in which the injury occurs failed to enact such a statute, then the injured person may have a cause of action against the city, as a city does have a duty to maintain, in good repair, their sidewalks and streets. If the injured person can prove that the city failed to maintain its sidewalk in good repair, he or she may have a case.

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