Nobody wants to live in a world where we constantly have to be on the lookout for hazards. We want to be able to go shopping without having to worry about getting hurt by some hidden danger. We want to go out to eat without worrying about whether or not there is something on the floor we might slip on. We want to be able to casually walk on the sidewalks without needing to inspect the sidewalk for anything that might trip us.
Every property owner must make sure that his property does not have any dangerous conditions that needlessly harm any person on their property. This includes tenants, visitors, and workers on the property.
Examples of Dangerous Conditions
There are many different hazards that can injure someone on a property, and these are just a few examples.
- A store leaves water on the floor of an aisle and doesn’t do anything about it.
- An apartment owner has stairs that violate the building code and someone falls on them.
- A city doesn’t maintain its sidewalks and several large cracks create tripping hazards.
- A homeowner doesn’t maintain or inspect his trees and a tree falls on someone.
- A business owner fails to provide adequate security when he is aware of violent crime near the property.
- A store owner doesn’t fix a broken shelf, and it falls on the customer’s head.
- A landlord installs a faulty circuit breaker and the tenant is electrocuted.
- An owner of a strip mall allows a leaking sprinkler to create a sink hole in a grass walkway.
What it means to be reasonable
A property owner is not automatically responsible just because someone gets hurt on his property. He is only responsible when he fails to act reasonably. Typically are three ways that property owners violate the safety rules.
- They create the hazard: If a property owner actually creates a needlessly dangerous condition, he will be responsible for all of the harm it causes.
- They Know about the hazard and don’t fix it: Once a property owner learns about a needlessly dangerous condition, he must fix it to make sure that it does not needlessly harm anyone.
- They should have known about the hazard if they acted reasonably: Even when a property owner does not actually know about a hazard, he still has the responsibility to take steps to discover dangerous conditions. For example if a store doesn’t have its employees walking the aisles looking out for spills and other hazards, it can be liable for failing to take reasonable steps to discover dangers.
Property owners have a responsibility to make sure that they are not needlessly endangering the public. If you have been hurt because someone had a hazard on their property, you will likely have a right to recover for all of your harms.