A premises liability claim may occur when you are injured while visiting another person’s or company’s property. If their negligent actions are to blame for what occurred, you could be entitled to financial compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. Premises liability requires an analysis of whether the property owner’s conduct was “reasonable in light of all of the circumstances,” meaning an assessment of your case by a trained attorney is key to understanding your rights.
A qualified Concord premises liability lawyer understands these laws and how to put them to use for you.
Premises liability makes a property owner responsible if their negligent actions cause injury to visitors. People who enter their property are owed a reasonable duty of care based upon the foreseeability of harm and the reasonableness of the landowner’s actions in maintaining its property in light of those foreseeable harms. This often happens on public property or business property where people are invited to visit.
How the premises are used will often dictate the liability a property owner faces as well as the protections afforded to the visitor. Grocery stores are typically treated differently than private homes. Each can carry unique characteristics that must be analyzed by a lawyer with experience in premises liability law.
The visitor’s status may affect the landowner’s duty of care toward that person when the visitor enters the landowner’s property.
Under New Hampshire law, all owners and occupiers of land are governed by the “test of reasonable care under all the circumstances in the maintenance and operation of their property.” Essentially, the traditional negligence test of “foreseeability” is used to determine the landowner may be liable in these cases. If the property owner “could not reasonably foresee any injury as the result of his act, or if his conduct was reasonable in the light of what he could anticipate, there is no negligence, and no liability.”
The N.H. Supreme Court has stated that the “character of and circumstances surrounding the intrusion will be relevant and important in determining the standard of care applicable to the landowner. When the intrusion is not foreseeable or is against the will of the landowner many intruders will be denied recovery as a matter of law. In other words, a landowner cannot be expected to maintain his premises in a safe condition for a wandering tramp or a person who enters against the known wishes of the landowner.”
All of this means that trespassers who are injured wandering uninvited in an unmaintained area of a landowner’s property may not be able to complain that the landowner did not improve his property to make it safer. On the other hand, a business that can obviously foresee multitudes of visitors walking in its parking lot and store will likely have a greater duty to maintain its premises in safe condition in the eyes of a court or jury.
New Hampshire has a “recreational use immunity” statute, RSA 212:34. Pursuant to this statute, a landowner “owes no duty of care to keep the premises safe for entry or use by others for outdoor recreational activity or to give any warning of hazardous conditions, uses of, structures, or activities on such premises to persons entering for such purposes.” This landowner immunity for recreational activities applies except in cases where the landowner charges a fee for admission to the property for recreational use, or where the landowner intentionally causes an injury or willfully or maliciously fails to guard against or warn a visitor about a known dangerous condition. It also does not immunize the landowner when permitted visitors cause injury to third parties on the property to whom the landowner owed a duty of care.
The Recreational Use Immunity statute was intended to protect landowners from personal injury claims by parties who use their land for activities like hiking, hunting, snowmobiling, ATV riding, and the like. There are situations where it unfairly prevents injured persons from obtaining a recovery for foreseeable injuries caused by landowner negligence. A skilled Concord attorney can help you to determine if you may still be able to press a personal injury claim in spite of the recreational use immunity statute, if you are injured on private property while engaging in recreational activities.
For injury to person cases like premises liability claims, N.H. RSA 508:4 requires the claim to be filed within three years of the date it occurred. Some premises liability claims have shorter statutes of limitations. If a person does not file within this time period, their claim could be dismissed as untimely, even if the case would have been successful if filed on time. A diligent attorney will ensure that a premises liability claim is filed within the statute of limitations.
Premises liability claims require a deep examination of the facts and applying them to state law. This is best performed with the help of a qualified attorney, as these situations can be complex.
Seek to prove your claim and win compensation with a dedicated Concord premises liability attorney. Reach out to us today.