Under Connecticut law, commercial property owners do have a duty to the safety of anyone who comes on their premises. This includes not only paying customers but the general public. Even trespassers have (very limited) protections.
If you are injured on commercial property – as a patron, tenant or visitor — you may have grounds to sue for compensation if the owners or proprietors failed to keep you safe.
Premises liability on the part of businesses
Business owners and landlords have an obligation to provide reasonably safe conditions to anyone who enters the property. This duty is known as premises liability. This legal responsiblity applies to many scenarios that might result in lasting harm:
- Slip-and-fall injuries from spills or tripping hazards
- Snow and ice injuries outside the business
- Falling merchandise
- Assaults resulting from inadequate security
- Injuries inflicted by security personnel
Premises liability applies even in the business does not own the property where it is located. In that event, the building owner and the business entity, along with third parties such as a property management company or security company, might all be liable.
Are there defenses to premises liability?
Yes, businesses have legitimate defenses to a premises liability lawsuit. First of all, there must be a serious and lasting injury. Secondly, they may not be liable for dangers that are open and obvious, or for accidents arising from the reckless actions of the victim. And lastly, it must be proved that the business failed in one or more areas of responsibility:
- Inspection – Would the business proprietor have discovered the dangerous condition through regularly inspecting and patrolling the property?
- Correction – Did the owner have sufficient opportunity to address a safety hazard once it came to their attention? Or did they ignore the hazard or fail to address complaints?
- Warning – Sometimes there is no immediate fix to a dangerous condition. Did the business put out cones or a sign, rope off the area, or otherwise warn people?
Even diligent business owners and landlords sometimes fail in their duty to keep visitors safe. In the event of an accident, you should seek medical attention and talk to a lawyer. Most personal injury lawyers offer a free initial consultation to explore a possible claim.