Imagine a scenario where your or someone you love is injured because they walked into a low-hanging tree branch on someone else’s property. You intend to sue the owner and get a personal injury attorney to help you with your case. In response, the owner claims they aren’t liable and it’s instead the landscaping company they hired who should be held responsible.
Would such an argument hold up in a personal injury lawsuit? Chances are it won’t, at least to a certain extent, and it’s all because of what’s considered a non-delegable duty in premises liability law.
Liability can cost property owners a lot in a personal injury lawsuit, and what they pay in liability insurance premiums isn’t something to sneeze at either – especially if they have to file a claim. That’s why a property owner might be inclined to try to shift responsibility onto a third party; in our example, that’s the landscaping company.
Despite this, however, it’s widely accepted that a maintaining property’s safety and security is a non-delegable duty of the owner. Even if the they hire someone to maintain the grounds or provide security, it is the owner who is ultimately liable for the safety of the property.
This could also be true if a tenant is injured by a plumbing or electrical accident they didn’t directly cause (because tampering with your apartment’s plumbing or electrical features would likely release the owner of liability for injuries that occur as a result).
The same could be said for a plumbing or electrical accident. If someone is injured because of an incident involving either of these things, the property owner would be unlikely to successfully shift the full liability onto the plumber or electrician – but that doesn’t mean the property owner can’t hold such parties accountable in their own way.
While the injured party can sue the property owner for damages, the property owner could in turn sue the company they hired for maintenance or security for whatever they lost in damages from the first lawsuit. This could work to minimize financial harm to the property owner, but it may only be successful in cases where they can make a clear-cut case that a company negligently provided service that led to the accident.
Ultimately, the property owner has the greatest amount of liability in the equation and the most to lose when a personal injury plaintiff is victorious.
Do You Need Help Filing a Premises Liability Lawsuit?
Bailess Smith PLLC’s legal team has more than 25 years of experience successfully advocating on behalf of plaintiffs in complicated civil lawsuits where a lot of money owed to our clients was riding on the line.
We are capable of handling your personal injury lawsuit if you were harmed on someone else’s property and as a result of their negligent upkeep. With our help, you can seek compensation to cover the cost of medical bills, long-term treatment, loss of enjoyment, lost wages, and other damages that may have incurred.
Contact us online or call (304) 553-0337 to schedule a free consultation where you’ll have the opportunity to tell us about what happened and why you need to seek legal action.