Property owners have an obligation to maintain their premises in a safe condition when visitors. If they know, or should have known about a safety issue and a visitor is injured, the property owner can be held accountable. These premises liability issues are common at properties that see a large number of visitors. This includes malls, hotels, grocery stores, cruise ships, restaurants and more. What is surprising to many is just how far some property owners will go in ignoring or even covering up safety lapses.
A train derails
In July, a train carrying several dozen people derailed. Following the derailment, the train operators released contradictory and inconsistent information about what happened. It has since been discovered that track inspectors filed false inspection reports going back at least a year. The operators ignored a known safety problem, one with potentially deadly consequences, for months until a train finally came off the tracks. Fortunately, no one was killed in the derailment.
Property owner negligence
While the train operators were particularly egregious in their misconduct, it is not unusual for owners to neglect known safety hazards. Things like broken pavement, dark stairwells, loose carpeting, or unsupervised swimming pools are often the site of multiple incidents before property owners take action. Safety issues may go ignored until the complaints of visitors reach a crescendo, or until a serious injury or death results. When it’s the latter, the owners often plead ignorance of the dangerous condition, even if they have been receiving complaints for days, weeks, months or even years about the problem.
Holding property owners accountable
Injuries caused by property owner negligence are a serious concern. Getting proper compensation for these injuries is one way to hold the premises owner responsible. It also has the benefit of encouraging all property owners to address safety issues quickly and correctly. The goal is to make sure future visitors are protected from harm.