Personal Injury Law: Understanding Alabama’s Premises Liability Laws

If you have experienced an injury while on someone else’s property, you will need to have a good understanding of the premises liability laws in Alabama. These are the laws that explain what responsibilities a property owner has to maintain their premises so that it is safe for everyone who comes onto the property. These laws can apply to individual property owners, businesses that own or operate on a property, or both depending on the situation.

Obligations of a Property Owner

As a property owner, you are responsible for ensuring that those who come onto your property have a reasonable level of safety. If you neglect to keep your property in safe working order, you can be held liable for the damages that are experienced by someone while visiting. This is a very nuanced area of law, and the courts look closely at what causes an injury, whether it is negligence from the property owner, the visitor who was injured, or a combination of both.

Duty of Care

Another important aspect of premises liability laws in Alabama is what duty of care a property owner owes you. This will vary significantly based on what type of visitor you are to the property in question. The following are the different classes of a visitor as identified by Alabama law:

  • Invitee – Those who are explicitly or implicitly invited onto the land. This would include customers coming to a store to make a purchase, guests invited to a home, and much more.
  • Licensee – Those who are licensees are invited onto the land, but are not there for any commercial means. This would include social guests in someone’s home, or if you go on either public or private land for recreational purposes, with permission.
  • Trespasser – These are people who go onto the land of a property owner without their permission. Under the law, property owners are typically not obligated to provide trespassers with many safeguards from injury. Trespassing children, however, are often entitled to certain levels of protection, such as a fence to keep them from entering a pool.

Do You Have a Legal Case?

If you have been injured while on the premises of another party, you may have a legal case where you can have the property owner (or more likely, their insurance company) compensate you for damages related to the injury. Even if the property owner isn’t 100% at fault, you can often get some damages to help with your recovery. Common cases include slip-and-fall accidents, injuries due to loose or missing railings, problems caused by rotting floorboards, and more. If you’ve been injured in any way, make sure you talk with an experienced attorney to see if you have a case. Please contact us to go over your situation and get the help you need.

Written by John M. Totten

John M. Totten

John's office is in Athens, Alabama, where he has helped thousands of people in North Alabama with everything from family law issues, to catastrophic injury and death cases, to criminal defense.