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Premises liability is the legal doctrine that holds property owners and their representatives responsible when hazardous conditions cause accidents on their property. Slips resulting in falls are the most common cause of these accidents, but premise liability may also apply to animal attacks, assault or battery in the absence of adequate security, and exposure to toxic fumes.
Premise liability is one of the most complicated areas of tort law, so if you’ve been injured on a third party’s property, it’s wise to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney who can evaluate the facts of your case and explain your rights in the matter.
Premise Liability and The Federal Tort Claims Act
Public property injury claims are among the most complex to adjudicate. Traditionally, both federal and state government entities benefit from sovereign immunity that protects them from civil suits.
In 1946, Congress passed The Federal Tort Claims Act, which allows citizens to pursue claims against federal government entities in a limited fashion. Thus, federal entities may only be held liable for negligent acts and not for intentional acts, and they may not be held liable for punitive damages.
A number of states have passed laws modeled after The Federal Tort Claims Act. In general, states mandate a lower duty of care for hazards on state property than they do for hazards on private property. State premise liability immunity statutes typically have tight deadlines and rigid claim requirements that must be adhered to, or the claim will be dismissed.
Proving Government Negligence
If you’ve been injured on government property and want to file a personal injury claim, you’ll be charged with proving five things:
• The property where the injury took place was owned by the government
• A hazardous condition existed on that property
• The government knew or ought to have known that the hazardous condition existed
• The government did not repair the hazardous condition although it had a reasonable amount of time to do so
• Your injury was not caused by your own negligence
If you’ve been injured on government property, it’s important to speak with a personal injury lawyer quickly because you will need to file a claim before its deadline.