Limits on Premises Liability

ELI5: Negligence

Most of the time, if you’re injured on another person’s property, the person who owns that property is, at the very least, partially legally responsible for the damages you’ve sustained. This is because of a legal concept called premises liability. Premises liability holds that the property owner is legally responsible, or liable, for the injuries that guests sustain on their property. However, there are also many cases when the property owner isn’t responsible for a guest’s injuries.


You’ve probably heard nightmarish tales of burglars suing the homeowners that they were attempting to burglarize. However, these tales typically involve homeowners who attempt to take the law into their own hands using deadly force. As a property owner, you do not have the same duty of care to a trespasser as you do a guest whom you invited. So if a trespasser slips on a puddle while in your home, you  may not be liable for any injuries they sustain. This is because you are not responsible for keeping your home safe for people who want to break in. But watch out for uninvited children because, legally speaking, they’re almost never considered trespassers.


Premises liability lawsuits require that the property owner’s negligence resulted in the injury of a guest. If you were at a person’s house and you fell through a faulty staircase covered in rusty nails and rotting wood, the homeowner may indeed be liable for your injuries. But what happens when you fall down a perfectly good staircase? Is the homeowner still liable? Probably not. For the homeowner to be liable for your injuries in this scenario, they would have to have been negligent in some way, and that negligence would have been the direct cause of your injuries.


Like other claims, premises liability claims are also subject to statutes of limitations. If you are injured in Utah, you have up to four years to file a personal injury claim for premises liability. It is important for people to understand that the statute of limitations is four years from the date of the injury. And though you need to file your personal injury lawsuit by then, you don’t have to have gone to trial, or settled the claim, within four years.


Another roadblock in premises liability lawsuits is Utah’s modified comparative fault. Modified comparative fault allows two people to share fault at the same time. This is typically seen when the defendant was negligent but the plaintiff’s actions also contributed to the injury. So, if you were to slip and fall in a puddle that was right by a wet floor sign, you might be partially responsible for your injuries. An experienced premises liability attorney can help you figure out how much fault you’ve had in your injury. However, if you are more than 50% at fault for your injury, you won’t be able to get damages for premises liability.


If a homeowner’s negligence has left you with emotionally distressing injuries and loads of medical expenses, Moxie Law Group is here for you. We’re a female-led personal injury firm dedicated to fighting for our clients with integrity, tenacity, and empathy. If you need help getting through this difficult time, call Moxie Law Group to hear about how we can offer you support. Moxie Law Group is your source for Utah’s best premise liability attorneys.

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