Premises Liability Defense
Home and business owners are obligated to take steps to maintain safe conditions on their property to keep their guests, patrons, and employees safe. Despite an owner’s precautions, accidents can occur at any home or business, resulting in costly premises lability lawsuits by injured parties. When they involve employees, these accidents may also result in governmental inspections and citations, including Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) proceedings. Mooney Wieland’s attorneys are experienced in handling all aspects of premises liability defense, from an investigation hours after an accident occurs through dispute resolution, formal litigation, and appeal.
Premises Liability Law
Property owners and lessees can be held responsible for negligence in maintaining their property for other parties.
There are myriad circumstances and accidents that can lead to a premises liability lawsuit, including:
- Inadequate or broken handrails
- Improperly designed stairs
- Poor lighting
- Cracked sidewalks, parking lots, or other walkways in disrepair
- Poorly secured merchandise or other objects
- Negligent security
- Slippery floors or other tripping hazards causing “slip and fall” hazards
- Toxic exposure
- Malfunctioning elevators, escalators, or other transportation equipment
A business owner’s standard of care, which dictates the extent to which it can be held liable for an accident, depends on the status of the plaintiff at the time of the injury.
Generally, there are three different classifications of guests on a property:
- An “invitee,” which includes persons invited onto the property by the owner. This generally includes business customers and patrons.
- A “licensee,” which includes persons who were not invited to the property but are otherwise visiting the property with the owner’s permission. Social guests typically fall into this category.
- A “trespasser,” which includes persons who entered the property without consent.
Depending on the applicable law, business owners owe the highest duty of care to invitees, a slightly lower duty of care to licensees, and the lowest duty of care to a trespasser.
Premise Liability Litigation
Mooney Wieland’s attorneys are experienced in assessing the complexities of each set of circumstances in light of the applicable law to determine the client’s duty of care and develop the strongest defenses to liability in each case. We also assist clients with insurance coverage issues and governmental (including OSHA) proceedings related to premises injuries. We take a pragmatic approach to premises liability litigation to achieve the most cost-effective resolution, employing early investigation and evidence preservation techniques, focused discovery strategies using the latest technology, effective dispositive motion practice, and alternative dispute resolution methods. If a case cannot be resolved, our team includes experienced trial attorneys to achieve a favorable result at trial and, if necessary, on appeal.