By law, North Dakota property and landowners are required to maintain their premises and keep them reasonably clear of dangerous conditions. When they fail to do this, visitors can suffer serious injuries and, in the worst case, fatalities. If you were injured on public or private property, you could have grounds for a claim against the negligent property owner, manager, or another liable party. We encourage you to reach out to our North Dakota premises liability lawyers at Pringle & Herigstad, P.C. to learn more, including how our team can protect your rights and fight for the maximum compensation you are owed.
Put a team with over 100 years of experience on your side. Call Pringle & Herigstad, P.C. at (855) 245-5100 for a free consultation today.
Understanding Premises Liability Law
Public and private property owners alike are responsible for adequately removing, repairing, or warning visitors of any hazards that pose a foreseeable risk of injury to others.
If you were injured while on someone else’s property, you may have grounds for a premises liability case if you can prove all the following elements:
- The property owner owed you a duty of care, meaning you were lawfully on the premises as either a licensee or invitee (“lawful entrant”)
- You were injured while lawfully on the property due to a dangerous condition or foreseeable hazard that existed on the premises
- The dangerous condition was not “open and obvious,” meaning it was not so obvious that you could have taken reasonable measures to avoid it
- The property owner knew about or reasonably should have known about the dangerous condition or hazard
- The property owner breached the duty of care by neglecting to remove, repair, or warn potential visitors of the dangerous condition or hazard
- You suffered measurable damages, such as medical expenses, future care costs, lost income/wages, and pain and suffering
Generally speaking, North Dakota landowners do not owe a duty of care to unlawful entrants (trespassers). However, they are prohibited from causing willful or wanton injury to trespassers and could be liable in attractive nuisance cases involving unlawful entrants who are minors.
What is the most difficult element of negligence to prove?
The most challenging aspect of negligence to establish is often causation. Proving causation is intricate because injuries or illnesses can stem from various sources, and not all of them may be linked directly to negligence. In complex cases, determining a clear cause-and-effect relationship between the alleged negligence and the harm suffered can be arduous. Additionally, pre-existing conditions, intervening events, or other contributing factors can further complicate the task of establishing that the negligence was a substantial and direct cause of the specific injury or damages claimed. It necessitates a thorough examination of medical, factual, and circumstantial evidence to convincingly demonstrate the connection between the alleged negligent actions and the harm experienced by the plaintiff.
What is the difference between premises liability and personal injury?
Premises liability pertains to claims arising from hazardous conditions on someone’s property that result in harm or injury to individuals. It focuses on the responsibility of property owners to maintain safe premises. On the other hand, personal injury encompasses a broader spectrum of cases involving harm caused by someone’s actions or negligence, which may occur not only on another person’s property but also in various other settings. Both areas of law share the fundamental principle of seeking redress for injuries caused by negligence.
Examples of Dangerous Property Conditions
Property owners can be held legally liable when they know about dangerous conditions that exist on their properties yet fail to take adequate steps to repair, remove, or warn others about those conditions. But what exactly are “dangerous property conditions?”
Some of the most common examples of dangerous property conditions and hazards include:
- Accumulated ice or snow
- Spilled liquids
- Wet or slippery floors
- Uneven flooring
- Torn or ripped carpeting
- Spills and fallen merchandise
- Defective sidewalks
- Cluttered walkways and aisles
- Unrestrained dogs and other animals
- Inadequate signage
- Poor lighting
- Unsafe swimming pools
- Lack of or improper security
- Improper maintenance
- Exposed electrical wiring
- Defective appliances
- Hazardous gases, chemicals, and other substances
These and other unsafe conditions pose a serious risk to visitors and often lead to devastating accidents, injuries, and deaths.
What is an example of a premises liability case?
An example of a liability case could involve a slip-and-fall accident at a grocery store. Suppose a customer slips on a wet floor in the store that wasn’t adequately marked or cleaned up promptly. In this scenario, the store may be held liable for the injuries and damages suffered by the customer due to the unsafe condition of their premises. The liability would stem from the store’s failure to maintain a safe environment for customers and take appropriate measures to prevent accidents, such as promptly cleaning up spills or placing warning signs. The injured party (plaintiff) may file a premises liability claim seeking compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other losses resulting from the accident.
Types of Premises Liability Cases
There are several different types of cases that fall under premises liability law.
Some of the most common include:
- Slip and falls
- Dog bites/attacks
- Negligent security, leading to assault/criminal activity
- Swimming pool accidents
- Elevator and escalator accidents
- Defective property conditions
- Accumulated ice/snow
- Inadequate property maintenance
- Claims against government/municipal entities
- Theme park accidents
At Pringle & Herigstad, P.C., we have a long history of successfully representing victims of all types of property-related accidents. Our North Dakota premises liability lawyers have earned a reputation for providing caring, client-focused representation, as well as aggressive legal advocacy both in and out of the courtroom. If you were injured on public or private property, and you believe the property owner’s negligence is to blame, reach out to our firm right away to schedule a free consultation.
Call Pringle & Herigstad, P.C. Today for Help with Your Case
With offices located in Minot and Grand Forks, our firm proudly represents clients in complex personal injury litigation throughout North Dakota. We have been committed to helping individuals and families in our community since 1909, fighting to protect ordinary people’s rights against the interests of large corporations, insurance companies, and government agencies. As your legal team, we will do everything we can to secure the maximum compensation you are owed.
There is absolutely no risk in contacting Pringle & Herigstad, P.C., and speaking to one of our North Dakota premises liability lawyers about your potential case. We offer complimentary case evaluations and contingency fees, meaning you owe nothing unless/until we secure a settlement or verdict for you.