Premises liability accidents in Arizona can result in serious injuries and deaths. These accidents can take place on any property, from a commercial business to a friend’s house. If you were injured because of a dangerous hazard or defect on someone else’s property, you may be entitled to financial compensation through a premises liability claim. Understanding this area of law in Arizona can also help you protect yourself from potential Scottsdale personal injury lawsuits.
The foundation of a premises liability claim is that a property owner can be held financially responsible for a preventable accident that injures a visitor. Property owners in Arizona have a duty of care to keep their premises reasonably safe and free from injury hazards. If a property visitor gets injured by a defect on the premises, he or she can file a claim against the home or business owner.
Common types of accidents that result in premises liability lawsuits are:
A premises liability claim seeks financial compensation from a negligent property owner to make the victim whole again – to restore the victim to the financial state that he or she would have been in had the accident never happened. The compensation that may be available could cover medical costs, property repairs, lost wages, pain and suffering, wrongful death damages, and more.
Homeowners have a duty to maintain reasonably safe premises. What this duty entails depends on the type of visitor that enters the property. There are invitees, licensees and trespassers. No duties of care are owed to trespassers, or people who enter a property without permission or legal authority. A property owner legally must inspect a premises for hazards, repair any discovered defects and post warning signs regarding any injury risks for invitees. The same duties of care apply to licensees, minus the duty to inspect the premises.
A property owner can defend against a premises liability claim in Arizona if the injured victim was trespassing at the time of the incident. Trespassers are not owed any duties of care by a property owner other than a duty not to act recklessly or wantonly. The only exception is if the trespasser is a child under the age of 18.
Other possible defenses are an “open and obvious danger” that an average person would have seen, the victim’s comparative negligence (contributed to his or her own injuries), the property owner had no knowledge of the hazard, and that the property wasn’t owned or controlled by the defendant.
Most home and business owners have property insurance that will pay for injuries suffered by visitors. If someone gets injured on the policyholder’s property – even because of the policyholder’s negligence – homeowners insurance or commercial insurance will typically pay for the victim’s damages. If the property owner does not have insurance, he or she may have to pay for the victim’s losses out of pocket.
In Arizona, there is a deadline on your ability to hold a property owner accountable for your premises-related injuries. A law called the statute of limitations gives you a maximum of two years from the date of your accident (or of reasonable discovery of your injury) to file a claim. In general, if you miss your statute of limitations, you will be barred from filing an injury claim. This is why it is imperative to contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible about a potential lawsuit.