Premises Liability Attorney in Nevada
When you enter a property like a casino, restaurant, or store, you expect the owner to exercise a reasonable duty of care. So in the event of an injury, you might be wondering who is held liable for your pain and injuries. Bighorn Law personal injury attorneys for casino accidents and other events can help you today.
Common Premises Liability Situations in Nevada and Utah
Premises liability situations can occur in numerous places. Essentially, any area or venue with a large group of people is responsible for keeping these individuals safe. Some of the most common areas where we see premises liability injuries occur include:
- Swimming pools and water parks
- Concert venues
- Amusement parks
- Stadiums and arenas
- Playgrounds and parks
Typical Injuries We See From a Premises Liability Accident
There are numerous ways to be harmed in these various venues. Some of the most common injuries we see at places like hotels, restaurants, stores, and stadiums include:
- Food poisoning: Establishments that sell food are responsible for ensuring the food is safe to consume for attendees.
- Burns: Issues with the plumbing in a hotel room or public bathroom can cause scalding water.
- Slips and falls: Hotels, restaurants, casinos, and grocery stores with inadequate signage, cleanup, or maintenance can cause slips and falls.
- Assault: Casinos, hotels, and stadiums without proper security increase the likelihood of physical assault.
- Physical injuries: Amusement park rides, playgrounds, and elevators can cause other injuries.
- Drowning: Hotel and public pools with inadequate safety measures can result in drownings or near drownings.
Legal Requirements of a Property Owner
Property owners who host guests, attendees, and workers on their property have a legal liability for providing a safe space. The owners are responsible for knowing the conditions of their property. Any issue they should reasonably know about and respond to, including those listed above, requires disclosure by law.
Posting warnings, giving notifications, and fixing the hazards are the property owner’s responsibilities. If they do not respond reasonably to the danger, the property owner could be considered negligent.
As a plaintiff, you must prove that you were permitted to be on the property and that the hazard existed when you became injured. Victims also need to verify the owner reasonably should have known about the danger that caused the injury.
Gaining Compensation From Being Injured on Another’s Property
There are several ways you can recover compensation for injuries on another’s property. Some of the items the negligent party might have to pay for include:
- Medical expenses
- Physical and emotional pain
- Present and future wage loss
- Wrongful death damages
You can also gain compensation for punitive damages in some cases. Hiring an experienced premises liability attorney lets you receive compensation quickly.
A Property Owner’s Duty of Care In Nevada
A premises liability case can involve a slip and fall or trip and fall accident, a falling object, or any dangerous condition on someone else’s property. It is also important to note that premises liability applies to the person in possession of the property, not necessarily the property’s owner. This means that a tenant or lessee could also be held liable for your injuries under the theory of premises liability.
Those who own or possess property owe a duty of care to those who visit their property. This duty of care varies depending on how the visitor is classified.
Nevada has three classifications of visitors to someone else’s property:
- Licensees; and
For each of these classes of visitors, a different standard of proof must be met to hold the property owner liable for a premises liability accident.
An invitee or business guest is most commonly seen in situations where you are a customer in a store, a patron at a restaurant, or a guest at a hotel. In this case, the property owner owes you the highest level of care. The main characteristic of an invitee is that the property owner has invited you onto the property for mutual benefit.
You may have been specifically invited onto the property, or there may have been an implied invitation, such as when you visited a store or business to purchase goods or services or to transact business. Either way, to be successful in a premises liability case as an invitee, you must prove three basic elements of your case:
- An Unreasonably Dangerous Condition
While a puddle of water in a parking lot or on the sidewalk in front of a supermarket might not be considered an unreasonably dangerous condition, the same puddle of water in the shopping aisle or in the checkout line of that same supermarket would be considered an unreasonably dangerous condition. So, this element really depends on the specific facts and circumstances of your case.
The property owner must have had either actual knowledge or constructive knowledge of the dangerous condition on their property. Constructive knowledge means that even though the property owner had no actual knowledge of the dangerous condition on their property, they should have had knowledge of hazard if they had taken reasonable steps to inspect their property. In other words, if the property owner had inspected their property frequently or frequently enough, they could have discovered the dangerous condition.
- A Failure to Remedy or Fix
The property owner failed to take reasonable steps to remedy, fix, or sufficiently warn you of the dangerous condition on their premises. If there was a spill in a shopping aisle, then the property owner had a duty to have it cleaned up or to place a “wet floor” sign in front of it to warn you of its existence until they could have it cleaned up.
As you can see, a property owner has a responsibility to make sure that their property is reasonably safe for you as an invitee. However, they are not an insurer of your safety. In other words, they are not automatically liable just because you were an invitee and were injured on their premises. To hold the owner liable for the injuries you sustained on their property, you have to actually demonstrate the three necessary elements of premises liability explained above.
The second category of visitors in premises liability cases are people who have the property owner’s consent to visit the premises. This usually means you were a social guest on the owner’s property.
As a licensee, you and the property owner may have mutually benefited from your being on the property, but it was not economic. For instance, you were simply at a friend’s house for a party, a cookout, or some sort of social gathering.
Premises liability cases involving licensees are harder to win. This is because although the property owner owes you a duty of care, the standard of proof is higher with regard to the level of knowledge that the owner must have had.
In these cases, you still have to prove that there was an unreasonably dangerous condition and that the owner failed to either remedy, fix, or warn you of the danger. However, the owner’s level of knowledge has to be that they actually knew about the dangerous condition.
As a licensee on someone else’s property, you cannot hold them liable unless you can prove that they had actual knowledge of the unreasonably dangerous condition that resulted in your injuries. The mere fact that the owner had constructive knowledge of the unreasonably dangerous condition on their property will not be enough to win your case.
The third and final visitor status in a premises liability case involves that of a trespasser, which is a person who enters the owner’s property without their consent and remains there. Trespassers are owed the lowest level of duty of care that a property owner can have.
It is very hard to win a premises liability case if you were trespassing. This is because the property owner’s only duty of care to you (as a trespasser) is to refrain from causing you willful or wanton injury. That means the property owner would actually have had to injure you on purpose. They must have intentionally created a dangerous condition to injure visitors to the property.
So, unless you can prove that the property owner buried landmines on their property, for example, you probably will not prevail in this type of premises liability case. Even if the owner did bury landmines, but also installed a fence around their property, and erected a sign warning of those landmines that was clearly visible to everyone, you would not be able to hold the owner liable if you climbed that fence, stepped on a landmine, and blew yourself up.
The Difficulty With Premises Liability Cases in Nevada
The state of Nevada has gone to great lengths to stringently define the elements for being successful in a premises liability case, and the most difficult element is the knowledge element i.e. that the property owner either knew or should have known of the unreasonably dangerous condition on their premises.
For instance, if you slipped in a puddle of water in a shopping aisle, you do not know how long that puddle of water had been there (for two, five, 10, or 30 minutes?). But, it is your burden as the injured plaintiff to bring forth evidence that that puddle of water was there for a sufficient length of time or under certain circumstances that the property owner should have known about it, but failed to remedy, fix, or warn you of the danger. Because of this, it is very difficult to win a premises liability case involving a casual spill.
On the other hand, if a leaky AC or refrigeration unit caused the puddle of water, you may have a better chance of winning. This is because you might then be able to bring forth evidence that the property owner knew about the malfunctioning AC or refrigeration unit and should have either inspected the property more often and cleaned up the leaking water, or fixed the malfunctioning unit before you were injured.
Moreover, a property owner’s liability for your premises liability accident is not an automatic thing. To establish liability, you must either file a claim with the property owner’s liability insurance provider or initiate a lawsuit against them before the statute of limitations for doing so expires, which is generally two years from the date of the accident. Then, to be successful in a premises liability lawsuit, you will have to prove negligence on the part of the property owner and meet every other requirement necessary for a favorable outcome.
As you can see, premises liability cases are very fact-specific and hard to win. That is why if you or someone you care about was injured on someone else’s property in Las Vegas, and you think you might have a claim, you should refrain from discussing the accident with any insurance company, the property owner, or the store manager until you have consulted with an experienced Las Vegas premises liability attorney. What you say after being injured in a premises liability accident can go a long way toward hurting your case.
Schedule a Free Consultation With a Premises Liability Attorney
Our premises liability lawyers have the expertise to determine the property owner’s liability in your case. We will help you fight for the compensation you deserve after injury on someone else’s property. Please get in touch with Bighorn Law online or call (702) 333-1111 today for a free consultation.