If you or somebody you love recently got hurt while patronizing a local business in Delaware or while visiting Delaware, it is important to know that you may be eligible to file a premises liability lawsuit in order to seek compensation for your injuries. Premises liability law is a broad area within the more expansive category of personal injury law, and it allows an injured person to hold a business owner responsible for injuries resulting from hazardous conditions on the business premises. In general, business owners have a duty to ensure that their premises are free from hazards and to make sure that the premises do not pose an unreasonable risk of injury to paying guests (or potential customers) on the property.
Both slips and falls and injuries arising out of negligent security can occur on business premises when an owner fails to take reasonable care. How can you hold a business owner accountable for injuries? Consider the following information from our Delaware premises liability lawyers.
Business Owners Owe a Duty of Care
Before we explain how business owners can be liable for injuries resulting from both slips and falls as well as negligent security, it is important to understand why business owners owe a duty of care to customers or paying guests. Under Delaware law, business owners owe a duty of care to parties known as “invitees.” You are an invitee if you are implicitly or explicitly invited onto the property for business purposes. An invitee might be, for example, a person dining at a restaurant, a customer at a local retail store browsing for clothing, or a paying guest at a hotel.
In any of these scenarios, an invitee might suffer an injury in a slip and fall accident caused by a liquid spill on the premises that was never cleaned up, or in a third-party assault that occurred in part as a result of the property owner’s negligent security. What is the difference between a negligent security claim and a slip and fall accident claim? There are some significant differences and similarities to consider.
Slips and Falls Versus Negligent Security Claims
Both slips and falls and negligent security claims often result from a property owner’s negligence, and both types of claims are forms of premises liability lawsuits. In a slip and fall accident, the plaintiff alleges that the property owner’s failure to maintain the premises in a reasonable or safe manner led to the slip and fall. In a negligent security claim, the plaintiff alleges that the property owner’s failure to maintain the premises in a reasonable or safe manner allowed a third-party assault to occur.
These types of claims can seem very different, but they actually have more in common than you might think. Both types of claims require a plaintiff to prove the following elements:
- Defendant owed a duty of care, which you can typically prove if you can show that you were an “invitee” on the premises lawfully;
- Defendant breached the duty of care by negligently maintaining the premises, which may include failing to clean up a liquid spill or to repair damaged flooring (thereby leading to a slip and fall accident) or failing to repair a broken door lock on a hotel room (thereby leading to a third-party assault);
- Plaintiff’s injury was caused by the defendant’s breach of the duty of care; and
- Plaintiff suffered damages as a result of the injury.
Contact a Delaware Premises Liability Attorney
If you were injured in any kind of accident or assault on a business owner’s premises, you could be eligible to file a premises liability claim. A Delaware premises liability lawyer at Freibott Law can help. Contact us online or call our firm in Wilmington: (302) 633-9000.