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Back September 11, 2019

North Carolina Premises Liability

North Carolina Premises Liability

Day after day, across the world, people are injured by hazardous conditions on property owned by others. Frequently these preventable injuries cause pricey medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering and other compensable damages. If you are hurt on someone else’s real property, you should seek the assistance of a licensed North Carolina Personal Injury Attorney as soon as possible to ensure your potential rights to compensation are preserved and fully exercised.

Property Owner’s or Renter’s Duty of Care to Lawful Visitors

Whether you’re on a commercial property like in a store, movie theater or restaurant or you’re on a residential property like in someone’s house or apartment that is owned or leased by another and you become injured by a hazardous condition on the property, you may be entitled to compensation from the property owner or renter. In North Carolina, property owners and lawful possessors, like tenants generally owe lawful visitors the duty of reasonable care not to unnecessarily expose such lawful visitors to any dangerous conditions and to repair any dangerous conditions prior to the entrance of the lawful visitors on the property or to warn the lawful visitors of any hidden dangerous conditions on the property. The Duty of Care requires property owners to exercise “reasonable care” to protect their lawful visitors from injury. This duty can include adequately maintaining their property to prevent hazardous conditions, cleaning up spills to prevent slippery surfaces, fixing broken stairs, securing animals that may bite lawful visitors and ensuring adequate security for guests, such as lighting dark exterior areas where robberies could and have occurred at night.

Injured Lawful Visitor’s Route to Recovery from Landowner or Tenant

If you were injured on another person or company’s property by a hazardous condition, and you seek to recover damages, you must, generally, prove that the property owner or tenant was aware of the hazardous condition or should have been aware of the condition, and that they failed to correct the hazardous condition prior to you’re encountering the condition or that they failed to warn you of the hazardous condition prior to your encountering the condition. However, if you were injured by a hazardous condition that would be obviously apparent and visible to a reasonable person, the property owner or tenant will likely not be liable to compensate you for your injuries.

Property Owner’s or Renter’s Duty of Care to Unlawful Visitors

Property owners and Tenants only owe a limited Duty of Care to protect unlawful visitors such as trespassers from becoming injured by hazardous conditions on their property. Property owners and Tenants are generally only required to refrain from willfully harming trespassers, such as by setting traps at the entrance of their property to intentionally injure potential burglars. Property owners and Tenants generally have no Reasonable Duty of Care to repair hazardous conditions on their property prior to the entrance of unlawful visitors or to warn unlawful visitors of the hazardous conditions on their property.

Exceptions to Limited Duty of Care to Unlawful Visitors

Property owners and Tenants should keep in mind that scenarios may arise where uninvited visitors are injured on their property by hazardous conditions and such uninvited visitors are deemed to have “implied permission” to enter their property. Scenarios may also arise under North Carolina’s “attractive nuisance” doctrine where minor children trespassers who are injured by dangerous property conditions may recover if such dangerous property conditions were ones likely to attract minor children such as construction equipment, swimming pools and broken playground equipment. For more information, read our (Attractive Nuisance Blog).

Homeowner’s & Renter’s Insurance-Potential Source of Funds

If you are injured on a property insured by Homeowner’s, Renter’s or Commercial Liability Insurance you will likely be able to recover damages from the policy if liability insurance is included in the policy coverage. If the policy only includes casualty or property insurance, you will most likely be unable to recover damages from the policy. Other scenarios may arise where the property owner or tenant has sufficient funds to compensate you for your damages. In that case, you can directly commence an action against the party at-fault.

Get Your Case Evaluated

We strongly encourage you to seek the advice of a licensed North Carolina Personal Injury Attorney at the earliest stage possible if you have been injured by a hazardous condition on someone else’s property where you could potentially recover damages for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, property damage and other compensable damages. At Biazzo Panchenko Law, we are prepared to negotiate a settlement for you or file a lawsuit and pursue your case through a jury verdict if warranted, to obtain the compensation you deserve. Contact Biazzo Panchenko Law today to schedule your FREE Personal Injury consultation. This blog is not to be construed as legal advice.

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