Premises LiabilityThe field of premises liability involves claims alleging that an owner, lessor or possessor of property was negligent in the maintenance of the property or failed to remedy defects with the property. Examples of such allegations are improperly designed or guarded stairs, hidden dangers on the property and trip/slip/fall hazards on the property. A common claim under premises liability is that a fall occurred due to the presence of snow and ice on the property. This area of the law may also include claims that an animal attacked a person or otherwise caused injuries to that person, as such claims are typically applicable to an insured's homeowner's policy.
There are significant burdens that the law places on claimants to prove a premises liability case at trial. There are also several defenses that an insured could have in these cases that could make the case appropriate for dismissal or summary judgment before trial. It is critical to have the right defense attorney versed in these burdens and defenses so that the insured can be properly defended at trial, or possibly have the case dismissed prior to trial. Proper handling of the case begins during the very early stages of the case prior to discovery taking place, as the defense themes need to be fully explored and carefully constructed so that dismissal or a defense verdict is more likely.
Best, Vanderlaan & Harrington has attorneys who have spent many years successfully handling the defense of premises liability claims. Our work has resulted in numerous defense verdicts and dismissals before trial. Our experience also allows us to identify those cases that are appropriate for early resolution as well, so as to limit the defense costs and risk to the client and insured.