Premises liability is a term used to describe a landowner’s or store owner’s fault for someone’s injuries, when a fall occurs due to a dangerous condition on the property. The unsafe condition could be a liquid or a defect that had been in existence for an extended period of time.
There are two common misconceptions regarding premises liability or slip and fall or trip and fall cases. One is that when an injury occurs the owner is automatically or always responsible. The Arizona law is that the owner must have either created the condition or have known about it long enough to have time to provide a remedy, repair or warning, otherwise the owner may not be legally responsible. The possible or partial negligence of the customer or visitor is always considered as well.
Another common misconception is that the injured person usually suffers relatively minor injuries, frequently this is also not true.
I represented a 57 year old woman, who was an employee at a large downtown office building in Phoenix. My client tripped and fell due to a raised, uneven, and unsafe lobby entryway, which resulted in shoulder dislocation, which required surgery, massive rotator cuff arthroscopy and acromioplasty. A permanent shoulder injury was suffered, she had extensive medical bills and lost income.
Investigation and discovery during the litigation revealed that the building’s property manager knew about several other prior trip and falls resulting in injuries.
Although the property manager knew about the tripping hazard, no repairs were undertaken. Negligence was proven and serious injuries were suffered. The lawsuit against the building owner was settled with its insurance carrier. The proper repairs were done and the building entry was made safe for visitors.