If you’ve experienced a slip and fall or other type of injury on someone else’s premises, then you may be wondering who you can go after to cover your medical bills. That greatly depends on a variety of factors including why you were on the property when you were hurt, how well it was maintained and the actions both you and the owner took before and following your injury.
Types of visitors
Individuals that come onto another person’s land or into the place of business may be referred to as either a licensee, invitee, social guest or trespasser.
A licensee is someone who has received the consent of an owner to be on a property as a guest for their own purposes.
Business owners who run stores are assumed to have taken necessary precautions to ensure that their property is safe. Because of this, shoppers are referred to as invitees.
Social guests are others that are also welcome to the property by its owner.
Trespassers, in contrast, are those who visit a property without getting prior permission from its owner. There’s no obligation to ensure that premises are safe for unannounced visits by trespassers.
The nature of the visit
What circumstances led the injured party to be on the premises will greatly affect whether he or she is able to hold the property owner liable for his or her injuries.
Why the visitor was there and how he or she was using the property will be taken into account as will whether the property owner could have reasonably foreseen an accident occurring. If an incident was foreseeable, then how much effort was put into repairing the property to make it safe for visitors will be called into question.
Eligibility to file suit
If an injured party is injured through no fault of his or her own, then he or she may be able to file a premises liability lawsuit to recover medical costs he or she has amassed. However, if both the property owner and the injured party are found to have contributed to the injuries, then both may be held comparatively at fault for covering expenses.
In rare cases, trespassers may even be able to recover damages for injuries that they suffer if the property owner failed to provide adequate warning of harm.
Sorting out who can be held liable for your injuries is something that is best left to an experienced Tampa attorney.