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Premises liability law defines landowner duties owed to invitees

In New Hampshire and elsewhere, premises liability refers to the legal duty owed by business owners to compensate people lawfully on their premises who have suffered injury due to the owner's negligence. In the law of premises liability, the business owner owes its highest duty of care to business invitees. For example, this would include retail customers who go to a restaurant, a grocery store, a retail store in a mall, a concert venue and a wide variety of other business establishments.

The owner owes customers a duty of due care to maintain the premises and keep it free of dangerous conditions that are known or should reasonably be known. This duty extends to making timely inspections to find dangerous conditions and to eliminate them or, alternatively, give adequate warning of their presence. An example of a typical injury on a business premises occurred recently when a woman fell in a Walgreen's Drug Store in Illinois, allegedly injuring herself.

She recently filed a state court lawsuit against the drug store, alleging that it failed to keep the premises reasonably safe. She asserted that the store allowed a wet and slippery floor area to go unattended. She claims that she fell on the slippery area and suffered serious injuries. That incident exemplifies a common type of slip and fall claim in a premises liability case.

Other common premises liability claims occurring in New Hampshire and elsewhere may include falling on loose tile, carpet, floor boards and even holes. Injuries may be caused when stock, boxes or heavy items fall from an upper shelf onto a customer. The owner must also provide sufficient security to prevent injury from known dangers presented by third parties. These incidents may include assaults, robberies, rapes and similar tragic events. In all of the cases, the plaintiff must prove that the owner knew or should reasonably have known of the dangerous condition and nonetheless did not take reasonable steps to counteract it or to give adequate warning.

Source:, "Customer sues Bond Drug over slip and fall at Cahokia store", Michael Abella, Aug. 26, 2016

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