Getting hurt unexpectedly is never fun. While many hazards are apparent, others may not be as noticeable. The Nevada premises liability laws allow victims to receive compensation for injuries sustained on commercial and private properties. Our Las Vegas premises liability lawyers explain what you need to know about personal injury claims and laws.
What Is Nevada Premises Liability?
Although most people typically associate premises liability with slip and fall accidents, this area of personal injury law encompasses a much more comprehensive range of elements. Nevada law allows victims to receive compensation if a property owner doesn’t prioritize keeping their property safe and someone sustains injuries. Understanding the different aspects of premises liability can ensure you are protected if you’re ever injured on someone else’s property.
Types of Premises Liability
When most people think of premises liability, they think of slipping on a water hazard on a business floor. This example is only one of the ways a property owner can face premises liability. Premises liability may include:
- A dangerous animal
- Chemicals on the property
- A building with negligent security
- Slip and fall accidents
- Snow and ice
- Elevator and escalator accidents
- Dog bites
- Swimming pool accidents
- Defective conditions on the property
- Inadequate maintenance
- Water leaks or flooding
- Amusement park accidents
When an injury occurs, the victim should evaluate their situation to see if a condition on the property contributed to the injury.
What Are the Standards for Different Property Uses?
Not all properties provide the same functions. Because of this, the specific duty an owner has for their property depends on the reason other people come onto the property.
In premises liability cases, the jury must determine why a person entered the property and decide the standard of care that applies to the case. Here are three main property functions.
A person who owns a business has the highest duty to shoppers that come onto their property. In that case, the business owner invites people to enter the property for the owner’s benefit. That makes the customer an invitee.
When a person enters a property for the property owner’s benefit, the owner must take care to inspect their property and fix potential dangers. Customers don’t have a reasonable amount of time to discover hazards on the property. Instead, the owner must actively look for hazards on the property and repair them quickly.
A property owner has a significant duty to people who enter their property for mutual benefit. An individual who goes onto another person’s property for mutual benefit is called a licensee. An example of this might be an individual who goes to a friend’s house for dinner.
In the case of a licensee, the property owner must warn the guest about dangers or repair them. The owner has a reasonable amount of time to discover these risks, but they don’t have to take active steps to inspect their property as a business owner does. If danger is obvious, the guest should avoid the danger.
Even though a property owner owes the least duty to a trespasser, an owner can still face liability towards an intruder in limited circumstances. A property owner can’t intentionally injure a trespasser or set traps to hurt them.
There’s one notable exception to a property owner’s duty to trespassers. That’s for child trespassers. If a property owner has things on their property that a child might want to play with, such as swimming pools or firearms, the owner may have liability if a child gets hurt.
This concept is called the attractive nuisance rule. A property owner shouldn’t have an unsecured, dangerous item or condition on their property that a child might want to sneak onto the property to use.
What Are the Elements of Premises Liability?
To win a premises liability claim due to a dangerous condition on the property, the victim must prove that several things are true:
- They must show that they were on someone else’s property.
- They must demonstrate that the property had a dangerous condition.
- They must show that the hazardous condition caused the injury.
The evidence must prove that the dangerous condition caused the person’s injuries. The victim must also show that they have damages. Finally, the injured party must demonstrate that the property owner failed to meet the appropriate duty to warn them about the danger or repair it in time.
What Is the Latest Premises Liability Nevada Law?
The Nevada courts recently made it easier for victims of premises liability to recover their losses. In the Foster v. Costco1 case, the Nevada Supreme Court said that property owners have some duty to warn invitees and licensees even if the danger on the property is open and obvious. In the Foster case, a shopper tripped on a wooden pallet at Costco and then brought a suit to recover compensation for their injuries.
The Nevada Supreme Court said that the jury should decide whether the store had a duty of care to warn the customer even though the danger was obvious. They stated that Nevada law should allow the jury to weigh the shopper’s actions against the store’s actions and decide where to place the blame. A jury can also consider if either party could have acted differently to prevent the harm.
This 2012 change to the law significantly expands Nevada’s premises liability laws. Before that time, courts routinely threw out premises liability personal injury cases because the danger should have been obvious to the injured party. Now, injured victims can bring their case to the jury to look at the actions of everyone involved to assign blame and award a recovery.
Should I Work With a Premises Liability Attorney?
If you’re hurt on someone else’s property, a qualified attorney can help you pursue a claim. It’s essential to work with a lawyer to evaluate the type of duty the property owner should have exercised in your case. Your attorney can also help you evaluate your damages to value your claim adequately.
Contact our experienced Las Vegas injury attorneys at Adam Kutner law firm for a free consultation about your case.
1Foster v. Costco Wholesale Corp., 128 Nev. Adv. Op. 71 (Dec. 27, 2012). Retrieved 29 April 2022.
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