For the average layperson, injuries sustained on a commercial property can initially seem to be a straightforward case of negligence on the part of the business occupying the property. However, identifying who to sue in a liability claim can sometimes be a tricky task. In some cases, it can even be a critical element in recovering compensation from all involved at-fault parties, as we shall see in this post.
Identifying Who Has The Duty Of Care - Why It's Important
In the eyes of the law, the occupier of a property - typically the one who is sued - is anyone who possesses the property or has responsibility and control over certain property-related factors such as its condition and maintenance, what activities take place there and who is allowed to enter.
The occupier is often the property owner, the landlord, the tenant or a combination of these. But other parties may also have failed to exercise the proper duty of care. This is where legal experience and knowledge can make the difference in pursuing a well-aimed claim for compensation.
Take the case of a slip and fall in a snowy parking lot. Many properties utilize the services of an independent contractor to clear snow. If the property's occupier can show that steps were taken to hire a competent contractor and to reasonably ensure that the contracted work was properly completed, the occupier may escape liability. In such a case, an injured plaintiff who fails to include the contractor as a defendant in the liability claim risks losing the chance the recover compensation from the correct at-fault party.
Persons injured on someone else's property do well to consult with a legal advisor to ensure that their claim for compensation is properly targeted.
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