Property owners have a duty to keep their premises reasonably safe for the benefit of people who may come lawfully onto their property. This duty may include keeping an eye out for dangerous conditions, and either repairing them promptly or warning people of the danger. A slip and fall or trip and fall on unsafe or dangerous property can cause very real and serious injury, including fractures, concussions, and back or neck injuries. The attorneys at The Upton Law Firm take these claims very seriously. If you have been injured on another’s unsafe property in Connecticut, our lawyers will fight to see that you are fully compensated for all your legal damages, including present and future medical expenses, lost income if you missed work or became disabled, and your pain and suffering.
Our premises liability practice encompasses all the following common causes of premises liability accidents, among many others:
- Icy sidewalks and slippery entrances
- Cracked or broken sidewalks
- Food or drink spills in grocery stores or restaurants
- Objects blocking aisles or falling from shelves in retail and department stores
- Broken stairs or missing handrails
- Malfunctioning elevators or escalators
- Unmarked steps, ramps and inclines
- Exposed wiring
- Assaults due to inadequate security
- Injuries on public property
Facts about Connecticut Premises Liability Law
The duty owed by a property owner in Connecticut depends upon the legal status/relationship of the individual who was injured. There are three broad categories of persons under Connecticut premises liability law, but these categories can be further broken down, and it is often a complicated matter to sort out a person’s status and determine the duty owed by the property owner. In general, Connecticut law recognizes the following classes of persons and duties owed:
Invitees – An invitee is someone who comes on to the property for the benefit of the property owner, or for the mutual benefit of both parties. An invitee can be a public invitee (a member of the public on property open to the public), a business invitee (a person who enters for a purpose related to a business dealing with the owner), or a social invitee (a guest). For invitees, a property owner has a duty to inspect the premises for hidden defects and either repair them or put up safeguards to make them reasonably safe.
Licensee – A licensee is someone who is allowed to come onto the premises at the property owner’s consent or invitation. While there is no duty inspect for hidden dangers, a property owner can be liable to an injured licensee if the owner knew of a condition that posed an unreasonable risk and was not obvious to the licensee, yet nevertheless did not warn the licensee or make the condition reasonably safe.
Trespasser – A property owner has no duty to warn or protect a trespasser from potentially dangerous conditions, but a property owner may not set out to intentionally harm a trespasser by setting traps. The law is different in the case of children, however. If the property owner has reason to expect children might trespass on the premises, the owner should take reasonable steps to eliminate a dangerous condition or keep children away from it.
Complicated Nature of Connecticut Slip and Fall Cases
Premises liability claims are often very difficult to bring and prove against a negligent property owner. In order to be successful, an injured plaintiff must be able to prove that the property owner knew about the dangerous condition (or had reason to know about it), and that the condition existed long enough that the property owner had time to discover it and fix it or put up a warning before the accident occurred. Proving these timing issues can be especially difficult in cases where the dangerous condition was something temporary or which happened quickly, like a spill or fallen object.
Also, property owners may claim that the injured victim was somehow responsible for the accident by not watching where he or she was going. Such defenses can lower the amount of a plaintiff’s recovery or even prevent any recovery at all, so it is important to have an attorney who will thoroughly investigate the accident and vigorously fight any unfounded claims that the plaintiff was somehow at fault.
Get Help from Experienced and Successful Connecticut Premises Liability Lawyers
At The Upton Law Firm, we understand how to build and present a strong case that clearly establishes the defendant’s liability, while fending off claims of the plaintiff’s own comparative fault. If you have been injured in a slip and fall or trip and fall on dangerous premises in Connecticut, contact The Upton Law Firm for a free consultation about your potential claims, at 203-877-4141 in Milford and New Haven County, or 860-893-0558 in West Hartford and Hartford County.