There are many factors that go into premises liability cases. Who owns the property? How did the injured person enter the property? What type of injury was suffered? These are all important questions to ask, and one thing that must be considered at the same time is the foreseeability of said injury.
In essence, this refers to how easy it would be for someone to assume that an injury would happen in the future. For example, an injury could be foreseeable if an apartment building has a missing banister on an upper balcony. This is clearly a risk, it is a violation of the building codes, and it's easy for the landlord to guess that someone is eventually going to fall from the balcony and be injured.
This is important because injuries can happen when the landlord didn't have any chance to anticipate the danger. If one resident breaks the balcony while horsing around and then someone else comes out and falls off right away, the landlord may not be liable. It's not realistic to expect him or her to make repairs -- or even to know about the danger -- instantly.
Attempts to Fix the Problem
Another key factor that is closely related is whether or not the landlord -- or any property owner -- made a realistic attempt to make the space safe again by making the necessary repairs. If so, he or she may not be liable.
For instance, the landlord could rope off the balcony and drive to the lumber yard to buy a replacement railing, putting up a sign to warn people of the danger. If someone falls anyway, ignoring the sign, the landlord may be innocent because he or she was in the midst of trying to fix the issue and simply didn't have time. If the landlord ignores the problem and leaves the unsafe balcony open for use, though, saying he or she will get to it eventually, that may not show a realistic attempt to rectify the problem.
If you were injured on someone else's property and you believe the owner should have anticipated the injury and done something to prevent it, but nothing was done, you may be able to seek compensation. You have a basic right to safety on someone else's property, and a violation of that right may give you the edge in court.
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