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Understanding Premises Liability: What You Need to Know

Businesses and property owners in Phoenix have a responsibility to keep their premises in reasonable safety condition. If they fail to do so and an accident occurs, they may be held legally liable through a premises liability claim. Arizona’s premises liability laws are complex. The duty a property owner or business owes to a person depends, in part, on why they are on the premises. Within this blog post, our Phoenix premises liability lawyer provides a comprehensive overview of the most important things that you need to know about premises liability claims in Arizona. 

Premises Liability: Defined

What does premises liability mean? Broadly explained, premises liability refers to the legal responsibility that property owners and occupiers (including businesses) have for injuries that occur on their property. It is an area of law that dictates that property owners must maintain a safe environment for those who enter their premises. That being said, a property owner or business in Arizona is not automatically liable for an accident on its premises. Instead, liability only arises if their negligence contributed to the victim’s injuries. 

What to Know About Premises Liability Law in Arizona

Our state has unique premises liability laws. Unlike most other jurisdictions, Arizona law creates a formal distinction between different categories of people who are on property. The three categories are invitees, licensees, and trespassers (Bellezzo v. State). A property owner/business owes a different duty of care based on how/why a person is on their premises. 

  • Invitee: An invitee is someone who enters the property for the mutual benefit of both themselves and the property owner. The most common example is a customer in a store. Property owners owe the highest duty of care to invitees. They are required to regularly inspect the property and promptly fix or warn against any dangerous conditions.
  • Licensee: Licensees enter the property for their own purpose but with the property owner’s permission, such as a social guest. For licensees, the property owner must fix or warn about known dangers but is not required to inspect the property in the same manner. 
  • Trespasser: A trespasser enters the property without any right or permission. Property owners owe the least duty of care to trespassers. In Arizona, the owner is only required to avoid willful or wanton harm to the trespasser—meaning the property owner cannot intentionally create hazards to harm them.

Most Common Types of Premises Liability Claims in Arizona

Premises liability cases can take many different forms. Some of the most common types of premises liability claims that are brought in Phoenix include: 

  • Slip and Fall Accidents: These occur when a person slips, trips, or falls as a result of a dangerous or neglected condition on the property. Common causes include wet floors, uneven surfaces, or loose carpets. Hurt in a slip and fall? Contact our Phoenix, AZ slip and fall accident lawyer today for a free review of your case. 
  • Inadequate Maintenance: Property owners can be held liable for injuries resulting from failing to maintain the premises adequately. Examples include broken lighting, damaged staircases, or outright crumbling infrastructure. If your accident happened because property maintenance was not conducted, an Arizona premises liability lawyer can help. 
  • Negligent Security: In Arizona, property owners and businesses must provide reasonable security measures to prevent foreseeable crimes. For instance, if a lack of adequate lighting or security personnel leads to an assault, the property owner could be held responsible. Hurt due to poor security measures? Contact a Phoenix negligent security attorney. 
  • Animal Attacks: In some cases, property owners may be liable for injuries caused by animal attacks, particularly if the animal belongs to the property owner and they failed to secure it properly. Along with other cases, this can include situations where dogs, typically restrained or contained, are left unsupervised and able to harm visitors.
  • Swimming Pool Accidents: Arizona is full of swimming pools—both residential and commercial. Property owners with swimming pools must adhere to specific safety regulations to prevent accidents—such as erecting proper fencing, maintaining secure gates, and providing adequate supervision when in use. Failure to meet these safety requirements can result in liability for any injuries incurred in and around the pool area. Notably, swimming pool owners owe heightened responsibilities to young children. 

A Two-Year Statute of Limitations for Premises Liability Claims

Under Arizona Revised Statutes § 12-542, there is a two-year statute of limitations for premises liability claims. The time limit is crucial because failing to file within this period can bar the injured party from seeking compensation for their injuries. Only limited exceptions apply to the statute of limitations. Be proactive: You should consult with a Phoenix, AZ premises liability attorney as soon as possible after a bad accident. 

Injured Victims Have a Right to Seek Full and Fair Financial Compensation

A serious accident that happens on another person’s property can change your entire life. In Arizona, injured victims have the right to pursue compensation for the full value of their damages, inclusive of both economic losses and intangible losses. With that being said, the property insurance companies that defend most premises liability cases fight hard to pay out less. Our Phoenix personal injury lawyers are committed to helping victims seek the greatest possible settlement or verdict. You may be entitled to recover financial compensation for: 

  • Emergency room treatment; 
  • Hospital bills; 
  • Other medical costs; 
  • Physical therapy; 
  • Loss of wages; 
  • Loss of earning power; 
  • Pain and suffering; 
  • Emotional anguish; 
  • Long-term disability; and
  • Wrongful death. 

Contact Our Phoenix Premises Liability Attorney Today

At The Law Office of Paul J. Dombeck, PLLC, our Phoenix personal injury lawyer has the professional experience to handle the full range of premises liability cases—from slip and fall accidents to negligent security claims. If you or your loved one was hurt on another party’s property, please do not hesitate to contact our law firm for a free, no-strings-attached case review. With an office in Phoenix, we handle premises liability cases in Maricopa County and throughout all of Arizona. 

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