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What is North Carolina Premises Liability Law?

The premises liability law relates to the duties of care that property owners and management staff have to lawful visitors and the consequences for breaches of that care. When many people think of a premises liability case in North Carolina, they tend to think of slip and fall or trip and fall cases. And while such cases are definitely a leading cause for premises liability claims, they’re only a part of the bigger picture.

North Carolina’s premises liability laws state that a property owner or manager is responsible for providing a safe and hazard-free environment for lawful visitors. Anyone who is legally on their land or property (such as a customer, guest, employee, tenant, or individual in a public space) shall be provided with a safe environment. Failure to provide a safe environment, address dangerous conditions within a reasonable amount of time, or provide warnings of hazards could be met with legal consequences and liability.

If there is reasonable cause for concern that a dangerous condition could bring harm to a lawful individual on a piece of property or land, then the property owner must address these hazardous conditions within a timely manner. If the property owners knew or reasonably should have known about the dangers and an accident befell one of their lawful visitors, that visitor could file a personal injury lawsuit against the property owner or management staff.

However, property owners are not without their legal rights and have the option to defend themselves and their case in court. If you are facing a costly premises liability case, you must seek professional legal representation from our law firm today. Our highly skilled legal team has years of experience representing clients in complex personal injury cases, including premises liability claims. Schedule your free consultation today by contacting our Law Offices in either Raleigh or Tarboro, North Carolina.

When is a Property Owner Liable for Injuries?

The property owners owe a duty of care to those who are on their property and land. If an individual is on their property either by express invitation or as a legal licensee, they have the right to enter that property without fear for their life or limb. If property owners fail to uphold their legal responsibilities to maintain safe conditions for their visitors and a visitor is harmed, that property owner may be held negligent under the law. If the personal injury victim and their legal representation are able to prove negligence, the defendant may be held accountable for their breach of duty of care.

Please note that this applies to all lawful visitors only. North Carolina property owners and managerial staff are not responsible for injuries that befall illegal trespassers on their property. However, there is one exception to that rule, which is for child trespassers. Property owners can be held liable for injuries and wrongful death suffered by a minor trespasser who lacks the mature judgment to stay away from locked personal or public property. Any artificial condition on the premises that brings harm to a child trespasser could result in the property owners facing legal consequences.

What Types of Property Owners Could Face Premises Liability Lawsuits?

It is important to note that while premises liability law refers to the property owners, anyone with control over the property or land could be held legally responsible and financially liable in a premises liability claim.

Examples of defendants and premises liability lawsuits include:

  • Retail stores and grocery stores
  • Vacation rental homes.
  • Amusement parks.
  • Hotels and resorts.
  • Restaurants.
  • Homeowners.
  • Schools and universities.
  • Local, state, and federal government agencies.
  • Public transit authorities.

What Are Common Types of Premises Liability Cases?

The following may fall under the legal scope of premises liability cases:

  • Slip and fall injuries and trip and fall accidents.
  • Inadequate or negligent security leading to assaults.
  • Patio or deck collapses.
  • Elevator and escalator accidents.
  • Hotel and resort accidents.
  • Parking lot accidents.
  • Workplace accidents.
  • Dog bites and animal attacks.
  • Falls from great heights.
  • Swimming pool accidents.
  • Falling objects.
  • Construction site accidents.
  • Wet or slippery floors.
  • Slippery sidewalks.
  • Uneven or cracked flooring and pavement.
  • Loose cords and wires.
  • Unmarked stairs and steps.
  • Broken or missing handrails.
  • Obstructions In walkways.
  • Loose carpets, tiles, and rugs.
  • Inadequate lighting conditions, especially in stairways.
  • Poor maintenance.
  • Products blocking aisles in retail stores.
  • Faulty and dangerous electrical equipment.

How Can a Property Owner or Manager Uphold Their ‘Duty of Care?’

Property owners must routinely Inspect their property and land for dangerous conditions that could threaten the safety of lawful visitors. If a dangerous condition is detected, a property owner must either fix the condition in a timely manner or provide adequate warning to visitors of the dangerous condition.

If any known dangers are present in or on a piece of property, property owners should increase protections for the public and their lawful visitors. This may include hiring extra security, performing more rounds looking for defects and dangers, and taking a more proactive role in addressing potentially dangerous scenarios.

It shouldn’t need to be said, but property owners should also refrain from causing such hazardous conditions through improper care or neglect.

If a dangerous condition cannot be addressed immediately, proper warning signs must be posted to alert lawful visitors of the dangers.

Is North Carolina a Contributory Negligence State?

North Carolina is a pure contributory negligence state. In states like North Carolina, if a personal injury victim is even 1% at fault for causing the accident that resulted in their injuries, they may not be able to recover financial compensation for those injuries.

As your attorneys in a premises liability case, we would fight to show that negligence was partially on the shoulders of the injured victim as well, thus limiting your liability for causing the accident.

Schedule a Free Consultation with Experienced Premises Liability Lawyers Today

O’Malley Tunstall PLLC has extensive experience representing clients in personal injury cases across the state of North Carolina. Our award-winning legal team prides itself on providing dedicated and compassionate legal representation to clients in need, regardless of the type of personal injury accident case they are contending with. As your legal counsel, we would fight to prove negligence on the part of others involved in your accident case, thereby limiting your personal liability for any accidents or injuries suffered on your premises.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our law firm to schedule a free case evaluation today. You may contact our Raleigh, NC law office at (919) 277-0150.