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What is premises liability?

New Hampshire residents and businesses alike should understand the basics of premises liability. Businesses should have an understanding of this point of law to understand when they may be on the hook for damages. Residents should understand how best to protect their interests should they be involved in an accident on a business premises.

The Graziadio Business Review provides a primer for businesses regarding premises liability, concentrating mostly on slip, trip and fall injuries as they relate to law in another state. The primer points out that premises liability is governed by each state, though some basic principles usually apply in most cases.

Broadly, premises liability refers to the responsibility that the owner or operator of a location has when someone else is injured while on the property. If an injury is proven to have occurred because of a defective condition, disrepair or dangerous situation on the premises, then the owner or operator -- or both -- may be held liable for expenses related to the injuries.

Premises liability is not an issue limited to specific locations, though busy commercial areas are often the site of accidents. For example, Wal-Mart stores reportedly see over 1,000 injuries daily worldwide because of slips and falls. The Graziadio Business Review points out that only a small percent of such accidents become lawsuits.

When an accident occurs on someone's property, the owner or operator of the location is usually not automatically held liable. In some cases, property insurance claims may be adjudicated to cover expenses related to injuries caused in the accident, but in other cases, an injured party may need to seek legal recourse before appropriate compensation is awarded.

Source: Graziadio Business Review, "Slips, Trips, and Falls: A primer for businesses on the law of premises liability" Dec. 23, 2014

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