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Premises liability incidents (often referred to as slip and fall accidents) occur when someone slips, trips, or falls as a result of a dangerous condition on someone else's property. Often, these are a result of an accumulation of water or ice, as well as abrupt changes in flooring height or material, or hidden gaps or holes in the ground. Premises liability cases can result in significant injuries depending on the nature of the incident. Property owners may be responsible for injuries caused by the dangerous condition located on their property. Unfortunately, the level of care a possessor of land owes a person depends on the legal status of the injured party at the time of the incident. These statuses may become the subject of factual and legal debate in the process of a premises liability claim as the land possessor's duty and potential liability change depending on the circumstances of the case. As a result of the potentially complicated and contentious nature of the claims, it is important to have an attorney who understands the legal aspects of the claim. Members of Goodnow|McKay are experienced with these claims and are here to help. We are committed to helping our clients recover fair compensation. We are often able to negotiate reasonable settlements with the responsible insurance companies, but we are willing to fight for our clients through trial if necessary.

Common Types of Claims:


The primary source of recovery in premises liability incidents is a liability claim. There are three distinctly different claims depending on where the incident took place and who is responsible for the damages. Depending on the situation, different Arizona laws and theories may apply.


Residential Premises Claims: Residential claims often involve injury sustained while the injured party is a guest in the home of another. The possessor of land is liable to the injured party for any injuries sustained on the property only if the possessor knows about or should have discovered the condition that caused the injury, the condition posed an unreasonable risk of harm, the possessor should expect the invitees will either not discover the condition, realize its danger, or fail to protect themselves, and the possessor fails to exercise reasonable care to protect invitees.


Commercial Premises Claims: Commercial claims generally involve a business open to the public. Commercial claims vary slightly from residential premises claims. A proprietor of a business open to the public may be held liable for a customer's injuries caused by a slip and fall if caused by an unreasonably dangerous condition if the proprietor either caused the condition, had notice of the condition, or should have known the condition existed through normal mode of operation.


Government Premises Claims: Government premises liability claims often involve a state building or a school. It is worth noting that schools in Arizona have a statutory and common law duty to protect the safety of their students. Breach of this duty and creating an unreasonable risk of harm to the student is negligence.


Other Types of Claims:


While slip and falls are common they are not the only types of premises liability claims. Arizona has specific laws that may impart liability on a possessor of land or a government entity for alternate types of injuries:


  • In some situations, a possessor of land may have a duty to protect a person from unaffiliated third parties. For example, an innkeeper may have a special duty to a guest to keep them free from harm from criminals trespassing on the property
  • A school may be liable for injuries to students off school property. If a student is injured off property as part of a school activity there may be liability
  • Dog bites can be a type of premises liability claim. Generally, the dog owner is liable for injuries caused by his or her dog. Arizona has laws that enforce strict liability for dog-related injuries. What this means is that if the dog bites a person, generally, the circumstances do not matter—the owner is liable for the damages. This type of claim largely disregards the rules of duty and status enforced in other premises liability claims.


Potentially Recoverable Damages:


  • Damages for pain and suffering
  • Damages for lost wages
  • Compensation for injury-related medical bills and expenses


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Chris Goodnow is licensed in Arizona. Justin McKay is licensed in Arizona. Matters in other areas are handled by licensed attorneys employed, associated, or co-counseled with Goodnow|McKay.