Frequently Asked Questions About Premises Liability

Kennedy, Johnson, Schwab & Roberge, L.L.C., represents individuals in New Haven, the Gold Coast and statewide Connecticut who have been injured through negligence.

This FAQ should not be construed as legal advice and is not a substitute for speaking to a lawyer. Contact us today to a schedule a free consultation about your possible claim.

Premises Liability FAQ

What is premises liability?

Under the doctrine of premises liability, property owners can be legally responsible for injuries that occur on their property (premises). However, owners are not automatically liable for every accident or injury.

  • There must be some lasting injury. For instance, if you fell but were not seriously harmed (merely shocked or embarrassed), there would be no damages.
  • There must be a dangerous condition. It could be an unseen hazard, neglected maintenance, code violations, poor security, or failure to supervise.
  • There must be notice or knowledge. It must be proven that the owner knew or should have known of the danger and failed to warn people or correct the unsafe condition in timely fashion.

Are all property owners liable?

Commercial property owners have a duty to provide safe conditions for their patrons and the general public. Residential landlords have a duty to their renters as well as visitors. Homeowners can be liable if the person had a lawful reason to be on the property.

Government entities are not immune to premises liability lawsuits. However, in Connecticut, you must file a notice of claim within 90 days of the accident to preserve your right to sue a municipality, school district, county or the state.

What are some examples of premises liability?

The most common premises liability claim is a slip-and-fall accident: slipping or tripping because of an unsafe property condition, such as a floor spill, icy sidewalk, uneven sidewalk or broken handrail.

Other examples include fires, hazardous exposures, falling objects, swimming pool accidents, playground injuries, animal attacks, and assaults or sexual assaults.

What damages can I recover?

You deserve to be compensated for all medical care arising from your injury, including any rehab or surgery. Any lasting disability or disfigurement is compensable. If you missed work while recovering, you can be reimbursed for those wages. Personal property that was damaged (such as a smartphone) should be replaced. Lastly, you are entitled to damages for your pain and suffering.

What are the defenses against premises liability?
Property owners may contest whether the injuries are serious or whether the injuries even occurred on their property. They may argue that the hazardous condition was open and obvious. They may argue there was no notice or reasonable opportunity to discover and fix the problem. They may argue that the victim was trespassing or caused their own injury through careless or reckless actions.

Are dog bites covered by premises liability?

Special laws apply. Pet owners are strictly liable (automatically liable), whether the attack occurs on or off the owner's property. See our Dog Bites page.

Do I need a lawyer?

Technically speaking, no. However, the average person may make mistakes in presenting the claim or simply not be taken seriously by the property owner and their insurance carrier.

In a free consultation, our personal injury attorneys can determine if you have grounds to sue. If we take your case, we do all the investigative work and you owe no attorney fees unless we recover compensation.

Call Kennedy, Johnson, Schwab & Roberge, L.L.C., at 866-689-1248.