Premises liability law in Louisville involves far more than the standard slip-and-fall accidents that typically dominate the news. The truth is that not every accident that occurs on private property can reasonably be faulted to the owner, and sorting out liability in cases such as these often requires considerable research. The law recognizes three types of visitors to any property, for instance, and each of these comes with its own set of rules, regulations and expectations:
- Invitees, or people who were invited/welcomed onto the premises. This category includes personal guests, visitors to a sale or open house, and customers in any place of business that is open to the public.
- Licensees, including tenants in a rental space and/or anyone using a given area (such as a wedding hall) for a fee.
- Trespassers, which includes unwanted visitors, intruders, and unexpected guests on a property, no matter what size or what age the guests.
It may not surprise you to learn that your rights as a plaintiff decline steeply as you move down this list, with trespassers in particular winning precious few cases here in Kentucky. Notable exceptions include accidents where a given acreage is known to attract unsanctioned visitors, though even here, the law is hardly simple.
There is a movement underway in premises law to transfer more responsibility onto the shoulders of visitors as well. The fact is that nobody should be exploring an abandoned well or climbing a crumbling staircase in an abandoned property no matter what signage exists, and it is not unusual for Kentucky juries to toss out claims they find frivolous or unsupported. Thankfully you still have some recourse in cases where caution was employed, and there is rarely a clear-cut liable party when devastating accidents occur.
It is for this reason that the concept of comparative fault has gained traction throughout the state. Simply put, this principle divides up liability into reasonable percentages based on the available evidence – inspection of property, behavior of the visitor and what sort of reasonable expectations attended both parties. Proving liability in premises law requires making the case that an owner knew about a given hazard and failed to adequately repair it or post warnings. Often such cases enter a gray area of inattention on both sides, and comparative fault lets juries assign fault accordingly: 25% visitor/75% owner, for instance. Any rewards are divided according to the ratio.
If you have been injured on the premises of an individual or business and believe your injury was preventable, it is important to speak with a Louisville, KY premises liability lawyer who understands Kentucky law in this area. Often getting your hands on an appropriate compensation takes little more than patience and some good documentation, so do not hesitate to ally yourself with experienced counsel. If you have any questions whatsoever, feel free to call Thomas Law Offices at any time.