Can You Sue Someone if You Are Injured on Their Property?

Can You Sue Someone if You Are Injured on Their Property?

Suppose you are walking into a grocery store, and there is a puddle of cooking oil on the floor. You slip, fall, and break your ankle and arm. Can you sue the property owner for your damages? Generally, yes. Being injured on another person’s property might result in a successful premises liability claim, depending on the situation. However, you have to prove that the property owner didn’t know or should’ve known of the hazard or didn’t provide a sufficient warning.

Receiving compensation in a lawsuit depends on the strength of the evidence and other factors. After reading this article, talk to a premises liability attorney in Lutz if you have questions about a premises liability claim.

What Is A Premises Liability Claim? 

Injured on Others Property

A premises liability claim is a civil action holding a property owner responsible for an accident on the property. Premises liability law refers to business and residential property, although the duty of care owed varies, depending on the property.

A typical premises liability case occurs when the property owner does not maintain a property as they should, and someone is hurt. A premises liability lawsuit can be filed to compensate the injured party for their losses.

Common causes of injuries in premises liability claims are:

  • Slip and falls
  • Wet floors
  • Drowning
  • Unsafe sidewalks and stairs
  • Tripping hazards, such as loose carpeting
  • Poor lighting
  • Hazardous chemical or pesticide exposure
  • Dangerous elevators or escalators
  • Shock or electrocution 

Premises liability claims often happen at grocery stores, shopping malls, bars and restaurants, movie theaters, sports stadiums, hotels, bus stations, apartment buildings, nursing homes, gyms, and nursing homes.

Why Were You On The Property? 

One of the critical factors in a premises liability lawsuit is why you were on the property. Most state laws refer to three types of people on property, to which owners owe various levels of duty of care. Which group you are in dictates if you can hold the property owner liable for your injuries:


An invitee in a premises liability claim is someone the owner expects to be on their property to do some type of transaction or interaction. The property owner owes the invitees and tries to profit. As the invitee, you are on the property to buy the product. Common examples are grocery stores, electronic stores, and any other type of retail establishment with goods for sale.

As an invitee on the property, you have the right to enjoy a safe environment and be there without being harmed. If there are dangers on the property, there should be warnings. For example, if there is a puddle on the grocery store floor, there should be a sign warning of the danger. The owner or manager also needs to try to fix the problem quickly.


The property owner owes a licensee the second-highest duty of care. Common licensees are guests at someone’s home or a party doing work at the property. The guests have permission to be there. For example, you are a licensee if you and your wife go to a friend’s house for a birthday party. You aren’t there to conduct business but have a valid reason to be present.

The owner must provide a warning if there are any dangers on the property, such as a swimming pool without fencing or cover. Or, if broken steps are going up the front porch, a warning should be posted, or you should be verbally warned.


A trespasser is an uninvited or unwanted guest on a property. The property owner owes these parties the least duty of care. A trespasser enters a property, home, or business without permission.

Can You Sue Someone if You Are Injured on Their Property

Generally, the property owner doesn’t owe a duty of care to trespassers, but exceptions exist. For example, if a homeowner has a pool without a fence or cover and a child sneaks in and drowns, there might still be a premises liability lawsuit. The owner may owe a duty of care to children, even if they are trespassers. State laws vary considerably on this point, so review the matter with your premises liability attorney.

If you are a licensee or invitee and suffered an injury on a property, you can have a successful premises liability claim. It’s possible to resolve a claim successfully as a trespasser, but less common. Also important in whether you win a lawsuit is if the property is a business or residence.

Is It A Business Or Residential Property? 

Another factor in whether you can successfully sue for a premises liability claim is whether it is a business or residential property.

A business owner has a higher standard of care than a homeowner. Businesses have more foot traffic, and additional parts of the property can pose a danger. The business owner must also inspect their property often because a hazard can appear anytime. If the weather worsens, the property owner must take more steps to avoid injuring patrons. For example, there should be anti-slip mats near the entrance and exit.

A homeowner has a standard of care for guests, but they don’t have the same level of traffic as a business. When someone visits the property, the owner usually expects them there and can give a verbal warning of any dangers. Also, a homeowner probably doesn’t have the same amount of insurance coverage as a business. So, your potential financial recovery by suing a homeowner can be less than that of a business.

Was The Defect Foreseeable And Reasonable? 

The court that reviews your premises liability lawsuit will look closely at whether the issue with the property was foreseeable and reasonable. The court will review how the owner used the property, why the person was on the property, and if the danger causing the injury was foreseeable. Also relevant is whether the property owner took any measures to remedy the danger or warn guests.

Was There An Attractive Nuisance? 

As noted earlier, occasional exceptions exist when a trespasser can file a successful claim for their injuries. The attractive nuisance theory states that a property owner has special legal obligations to children who enter a property because of something that looks attractive or fun. A common example is a swimming pool. If the owner has a pool or hot tub, it should have a cover or fencing. It should be difficult or almost impossible for a trespasser to be injured by the attraction.

How Do You Prove A Premises Liability Claim? 

Suppose you slipped and fell in a retail store. You have a strong premises liability claim but must prove several facts to receive compensation. The first element is the duty of care. For example, a grocery store owner has a duty of care to guests to ensure the property is safe and free of hazards.

Injured on work place

Second, you must prove that the property owner violated the duty of care. Suppose a wet floor at the restroom entrance caused you to slip and fall. Third, you must show that the breach of duty of care caused your injuries and that you have damages. Damages you might have suffered in a slip and fall case are medical bills, lost earnings, and pain and suffering.

If you prove those three elements, you can receive compensation in a premises liability lawsuit. However, you must have enough evidence to prove that the property owner was negligent and caused you harm. For example, any photos or video footage of the accident or hazard are helpful, as are eyewitness statements.

The property owner will provide a defense no matter how strong your evidence is. A common defense in these cases is that the injured party wasn’t a guest. Depending on the situation, they can argue that you were not invited. Another option is to argue that you were reckless and caused your own injuries. Your attorney is familiar with all property owners' defenses and will refute them to the best of their ability.

What If You’re Hurt Working On Someone’s Home? 

Suppose you are a contractor and do work on people’s homes. For example, if you are a roofer and fall and injure yourself, can you sue the homeowner? Laws vary by state, but generally, the homeowner isn’t liable for an injury sustained by a contractor working on the home, with limited exceptions.

The first exception is if the property owner is in control of the work being done. The second exception is if the owner knew about the hazard. These two factors don’t usually apply in these kinds of cases, so the homeowner isn’t usually liable.

Common Myths About Premises Liability Cases

Premises liability law is complex. That’s why there are many online myths about these cases, so don’t fall for any of the following. Instead, speak to a premises liability attorney today:

The Property Owner Is Always Liable 

Workplace Injury

Many injured parties assume that the business or homeowner is always liable for an injury on the property. However, to succeed with a lawsuit, you must prove that the property's owner or person in control was somehow negligent.

The property owner has a duty of care of varying degrees for invitees, licensees, and trespassers. If they violate their duty of care, they can be found liable in a lawsuit. But the burden of proof is on the plaintiff, and compensation isn’t assured.

A Premises Liability Lawsuit Is Easy 

Many think that compensation is almost guaranteed if you suffer an injury on someone’s property. Not true. Even a seemingly "clear-cut" premises liability claim can be difficult to prove. Successfully resolving a premises liability lawsuit means establishing a duty of care, breach, causation of injuries, and damages.

Also, insurance companies and owners often defend these claims aggressively. This makes it imperative to have a strong premises liability attorney working for you.

You Can Only Receive Medical Expenses

Injured parties may not realize they deserve much more than their current medical bills. If you successfully prove your premises liability case, you can receive compensation for medical bills, future medical expenses, rehabilitation, property damage, and pain and suffering.

All Premises Liability Claims Are Slip And Falls

Many of these claims are slip and falls, but many other types of premises liability incidents exist. For example, if someone attacks you in a store parking lot with poor lighting and no security cameras, there can be a valid claim. Another common source of premises liability claims is at bars and restaurants with inadequate security personnel. If someone starts a fight with someone nearby and you’re hurt, you can have a case.

Also, if you are bitten by someone’s dog on their property, you can file a claim, even if it was the dog’s home. The best thing to do after an injury on someone’s property is to get medical treatment and then have the case reviewed by a skilled attorney.

It’s Frivolous To File A Premises Liability Claim

James Holliday
James Holliday, Premises Liability Lawyer in Lutz

Some in society may view these as baseless lawsuits, but nothing is more untrue. Most premises liability cases are related to real injuries caused by a property owner’s negligence. Their negligence often leads to serious injuries that make it difficult for the injured to pay medical bills, earn a living, and enjoy life. There is no reason not to file a claim if you’re hurt on someone’s property if the hazard was unforeseeable.

Also, if you are hurt at a friend’s home, you may be reluctant to file a claim or lawsuit. But remember, most property owners have homeowner’s insurance, and their insurance policy will pay, not the homeowner personally.

Speak To A Premises Liability Attorney Today 

Filing and resolving a premises liability claim can take time. But with the help of a premises liability attorney, you can have a successful case outcome. Proving that the property owner was negligent and at fault can lead to compensation for your medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost earnings, and more.

Speak to an experienced premises liability attorney today to determine if you have a strong case. Consultations are free and you can learn about your rights to possible compensation.

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James Wayne Holliday Author Image

James Wayne Holliday

James Wayne Holliday has been practicing law since 1995. He has been named as a “Best Attorney” Lifetime Charter Member in Florida, an honor awarded to less than one percent of the nation’s lawyers.

Mr. Holliday has earned a reputation as a relentless trial lawyer because of his outstanding work ethic and thorough preparation of his cases for trial.

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