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We often visit stores, businesses, and friends’ homes in our day-to-day life, and we expect these places to be safe. However, a careless employee or owner may allow unsafe circumstances to develop or fail to fix dangerous hazards like a liquid spill on a floor. Often referred to as slip and fall accidents, premises liability accidents are not just limited to slips and falls, but any accident on the property of another that results in injury.
Property owners have a responsibility to ensure their premises are safe for visitors, as well as properly warn visitors of any dangers that may exist. If you have been injured in a slip and fall or other premises liability accident, you should consult a premises liability lawyer from Zinda Law Group as soon as possible at (800) 863-5312 for a free consultation. If we are not able to win your case, you will not owe us anything.
For a free legal consultation with a premises liability lawyer serving Tucson, call 800-863-5312
WHAT IS PREMISES LIABILITY?
Property owners have a legal responsibility to ensure their property is safe for visitors. This means that property owners must typically ensure any issues that may pose a danger to visitors are addressed in a timely manner. Visitors should also be warned of any potential dangers that may exist on the property, if at all possible. Property owners are expected to be reasonably aware of any such potentially dangerous conditions on their property.
Property owners should be especially prepared to take care to prevent or fix any hazardous conditions that may frequently occur or that may be easily anticipated. For example, a supermarket should expect spills to occur, and should ensure employees quickly clean any spills as soon as possible and provide adequate warning of the slippery surface.
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WHEN IS A PROPERTY OWNER RESPONSIBLE FOR AN ACCIDENT?
Property owners may be liable for accidents occurring on their property in certain circumstances. Your local attorneys can help you determine whether the property owner may be liable for your accident. In Arizona, property owners may be responsible for accidents that occur on their property if:
- The property owner was aware of the existence of a hazardous condition.
- Enough time has elapsed that the property owner should have reasonably been aware of the dangerous condition’s existence.
- The hazardous condition was caused by the property owner’s intentional or malicious behavior.
- The property owner failed to warn visitors that a dangerous condition existed on the property.
If the property owner was not aware of the dangerous condition’s existence, they may still be responsible if it can be proven that:
- The routine conduct of business on the premises was likely to cause unsafe conditions, and the property owner should have reasonably anticipated their occurrence.
- The property owner failed to take proper actions to prevent an accident from occurring.
Why the Status of the Injured Party Matters
A property owner’s liability for injuries that occur on their property may also be impacted by the status of the injured party. Indeed, Arizona’s premises liability laws vary significantly depending on the injured party’s status. As your premises liability lawyer may explain to you, guests are generally classified into one of three statuses:
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Under Arizona premises liability law, property owners may be liable for accidents involving invitees. A person visiting a property for business reasons, or a property that is open publicly, may usually be classified as an invitee. However, an invitee must also be visiting the property for its intended purpose. For example, someone may be classified as an invitee while in the public area of a grocery store, but this status may be lost if the person ignores warning signs to enter an area of the property restricted to employees.
A guest who has express or implied permission to be on the property other than for commercial reasons is generally classified as a licensee. A licensee may be invited or uninvited. A social visit from a friend is one example of an invited licensee. An uninvited licensee is someone who may not have been invited onto your property, but has a reasonable purpose for being there, such as a delivery person delivering a package or utility worker conducting maintenance on a utility line.
Property owners may be liable for accidents involving either invited or uninvited licensees. It should also be noted that the standard for children involved in accidents is different. Property owners are required to warn child licensees in a manner in which they are capable of understanding.
A trespasser is a person who is present on a property without the owner’s permission. Property owners in Arizona may not be liable for accidents involving trespassers, unless they purposefully or maliciously caused the accident.
Property owners may also be liable for child trespassers in certain situations, such as:
- If the property owner has an “attractive nuisance” on their property, they may be liable if a child is injured. An attractive nuisance is an object that may entice children to trespass, such as a swimming pool or trampoline. Property owners should take proper precautions such as fencing in areas where these types of items are present.
- If the child is very young and not capable of appreciating the dangers inherent in trespassing, the property owner may be liable if an accident occurs.
- Overall, if the property owner does not take reasonable measures to ensure the safety of children on their property, they may be liable.