It’s a hot day, so you decide to head to the gym to go for a swim. You come out of the locker room and make your way towards the stairs down to the pool. Once you hit the first step, however, your bare foot slips out from under you and you go tumbling down the slippery, wet staircase – severely injuring your tailbone.
Slip-and-fall accidents such as these happen all the time. And when they occur on someone else’s property, they may be legally responsible. This is because of a legal concept known as “premises liability.”
What is premises liability?
Whether you go to a public venue (such as a stadium) or a private residence (such as your neighbor’s home), you’re entitled to a reasonable expectation that you’ll be safe. Of course, no one can predict the future or prevent every accident from happening, and premises liability doesn’t allow you to sue just for making a clumsy mistake on someone else’s turf. Nonetheless, a property owner does take certain legal responsibilities for your wellbeing.
If you get injured on someone else’s property, you may be able to pursue a claim for premises liability if:
- You have permission to be on the property and
- The property owner failed to take reasonable steps to prevent the accident from happening.
Let’s take the example above. You went to the gym – where you are a member and permitted to be. You then fell down wet, slippery stairs on your way to the pool. Were there treads on the staircase to increase traction, or were the stairs slick? Was there a handrail? Was there any sign warning about the wet surface?
If the gym failed to take the necessary precautions to remove hazards and prevent injury, then you could have a case and be entitled to compensation. It’s a good idea to contact an experienced premises liability attorney to discuss your case and possible legal recourse.