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Who is liable when you get hurt in a business or rental home?

When you go to visit a friend at their apartment or stop into a shop to browse their offerings, you don’t expect that you’re going to get hurt. Unfortunately, innocuous trips and friendly visits can sometimes turn into life-altering moments.

Wet floors, poorly maintained carpets, dark stairwells and a lack of security could all easily lead to a preventable injury or incident. In some cases, these scenarios can lead to claims of premises liability against the property’s owner or manager. If you got hurt in a business or on someone else’s property, who is responsible for your medical costs, property damage and lost wages?

Liability depends on a variety of factors

The first step toward determining what forms of compensation you might have a right to involves trying to critically look at the situation for fault. It is all too easy to see yourself as a victim, but you need to think about how others will perceive the circumstances.

Were you under the influence of alcohol, cold medication or narcotic pain relief? If so, falling down a flight of stairs could be at least partially your fault. However, if the staircase was dark, if the handrail was loose or if a piece of peeling flooring tripped you, then the issue has more to do with the safety of the space than your behavior. The same is true for a slip and fall if you were in a business that clearly hadn’t tended to a spill or rain accumulation on the floor.

In order to make a claim in civil court, you typically need to show that the owner’s or manager’s  behavior or neglectful lack of action contributed to your injuries.