Have you ever been injured while visiting someone else’s property? Maybe you slipped and fell on a wet floor at a grocery store, or perhaps a malfunctioning handrail gave way at an apartment complex. In these situations, you might be wondering what legal recourse you have, especially if the injury caused significant medical bills and lost wages. This is where premises liability law comes in, and a qualified premises liability lawyer can be your advocate in seeking fair compensation.

Closeup shot of a businessman signing some official papers

Understanding Premises Liability

Premises liability is a legal concept that holds property owners responsible for maintaining a safe environment for visitors. The specific duty of care owed by the owner depends on the visitor’s status. Broadly, there are three categories of visitors:

  • Invitees: These are individuals the property owner expressly or impliedly invites onto the property for a business purpose. This includes customers at a store, patrons at a restaurant, or guests at a hotel.
  • Licensees: These are individuals who are allowed on the property with the owner’s permission but not necessarily for a business purpose. This could be a social guest at a home or someone using a shortcut across private property.
  • Trespassers: These are individuals who have no permission to be on the property. There are exceptions, however, such as trespassers on construction sites or children who are unaware of trespassing.

Young workmates with folder

The duty of care owed by the property owner increases as the visitor’s status goes from trespasser to invitee. For invitees, the owner has a duty to:

  • Maintain the property in a reasonably safe condition
  • Inspect the property for hazards and correct them
  • Warn invitees of any hidden dangers

For licensees, the owner generally only needs to avoid creating hidden dangers. Trespassers typically have very few rights, though property owners cannot intentionally injure them.

When to Consider a Premises Liability Lawyer

If you’ve been injured on someone else’s property, here are some situations where seeking legal counsel from a premises liability lawyer might be prudent:

  • The severity of your injuries: If your injuries are serious and require ongoing medical care or significantly impact your ability to work, a lawyer can help ensure you receive appropriate compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
  • The cause of the accident is unclear: Premises liability cases often involve complex questions about the property owner’s knowledge of a hazard and their actions to address it. A lawyer can investigate the accident scene, gather evidence, and determine whether the owner was negligent.
  • The insurance company is offering a low settlement: Insurance companies representing the property owner may try to downplay the severity of your injuries or deny liability altogether. A lawyer can negotiate a fair settlement that reflects the true cost of your injuries.
  • The legal complexities of the case: Premises liability law can involve nuances depending on the type of property, your visitor status, and the specific cause of the accident. A lawyer with experience in these cases can navigate the legal landscape and ensure your rights are protected.

What a Premises Liability Lawyer Can Do for You

A qualified premises liability lawyer can significantly benefit your case in several ways:

  • Investigate the accident: The lawyer will gather evidence, including witness statements, police reports, and security camera footage, to reconstruct the events leading to your injury. They may also consult with experts on building codes, safety standards, or accident reconstruction to strengthen your case.
  • Determine liability: The lawyer will assess the property owner’s duty of care and whether they breached that duty by failing to maintain a safe environment. This involves analyzing laws and regulations relevant to the specific type of property and visitor involved.
  • Handle communication with the insurance company: Lawyers can deal with insurance adjusters on your behalf, ensuring they receive all the necessary information without compromising your claim. They can also negotiate a fair settlement that reflects the full extent of your damages.
  • Prepare for court: If negotiations with the insurance company fail, your lawyer will prepare your case for trial. This includes filing a lawsuit, gathering additional evidence, and presenting your case to a judge and jury.

Finding the Right Premises Liability Lawyer

Here are some tips for finding the right premises liability lawyer for your case:

  • Experience: Look for a lawyer who has a proven track record of handling premises liability cases.
  • Local knowledge: Consider a lawyer familiar with the laws and regulations in your jurisdiction.
  • Communication style: Find a lawyer who is responsive to your questions and concerns and clearly explains the legal process.
  • Fees: Understand the lawyer’s fee structure and discuss payment options upfront.

Building Your Case with a Premises Liability Lawyer

During your initial consultation, the lawyer will likely ask you detailed questions about the accident, including:

  • Where and when the accident occurred
  • The nature of your injuries
  • The cause of the accident (e.g., wet floor, broken railing)
  • Any actions you took after the accident (e.g., reporting the incident, seeking medical attention)
  • Witnesses who may have observed the accident

This information helps the lawyer assess the strength of your case and develop a legal strategy. Here’s how your lawyer might proceed:

  • Evidence Gathering: The lawyer will collect evidence to support your claim. This may involve obtaining copies of medical records, police reports, and witness statements. They may also request video footage from security cameras or photographs of the accident scene.
  • Expert Witnesses: Depending on the complexity of the case, your lawyer might consult with experts like accident reconstruction specialists, engineers, or medical professionals who can provide testimony on the cause of the accident and the extent of your injuries.
  • Settlement Negotiations: Most premises liability cases are settled before going to trial. Your lawyer will negotiate with the insurance company representing the property owner to reach a fair settlement that covers your medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.

The Legal Process: When Settlement Isn’t Reached

If negotiations fail to produce a satisfactory outcome, your lawyer may recommend filing a lawsuit. This initiates a formal legal process that involves:

  • Discovery: Both sides exchange information and evidence through depositions, interrogatories, and document requests.
  • Motions: Lawyers may file motions to exclude evidence, dismiss the case, or compel the other side to produce specific information.
  • Trial: If a settlement isn’t reached during pretrial negotiations, the case goes before a judge or jury. The lawyer will present your case, calling witnesses and introducing evidence to prove the property owner’s negligence and the extent of your damages. The opposing side will have the opportunity to present their defense.

The Importance of Timeliness

Premises liability cases are subject to statutes of limitations, which set deadlines for filing a lawsuit. These deadlines vary by state, so it’s crucial to consult with a lawyer as soon as possible after your injury. Delaying action can jeopardize your ability to seek compensation.

Leading Philadelphia Law Firm: Standing Up for the Injured

If you’ve been injured due to negligence on another’s property in the Philadelphia area, Alva Foster & Moscow, LLC, a leading Philadelphia law firm can help. Their experienced Philadelphia premises liability lawyers understand the physical, emotional, and financial burdens you face. They are committed to holding negligent property owners accountable and securing the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Contact Alva Foster & Moscow, LLC today for a free consultation. They will fight tirelessly to protect your rights and obtain a just resolution.


Premises liability claims can be complex, and navigating the legal process alone can be overwhelming. A qualified premises liability lawyer can be a valuable asset in pursuing compensation for your injuries. By investigating your case, gathering evidence, and representing you effectively, a lawyer can increase your chances of a successful outcome. Remember, the sooner you seek legal counsel, the stronger your case will be.

Back to home: