Determining who owes the premises liability duty when tenants have rented the land can be difficult. In some cases, tenants may owe premises liability duty along with landowners. While landlords owe a duty of care to the tenants and their guests, reckless activity or negligent behavior can push liability back on the tenant. To succeed with a premises liability claim against a landowner or tenant, plaintiffs must be able to show how the defendant was negligent.
What Is Premises Liability?
Premises liability is the legal responsibility that property owners, managers, and others have to ensure properties are safe for guests. If responsible parties fail in their duty to keep guests free from harm, they can be financially liable for a victim’s injuries and other losses. Premises liability cases may involve residential properties such as homes and apartments, or businesses like restaurants or hotels.
By bringing a premises liability claim, plaintiffs attempt to prove that the owners or renters of the property have violated a duty of care to the property’s visitors. This might include poor maintenance, the creation of dangerous situations that put people at risk of injury, or failure to properly warn visitors about specific dangers. Injuries could result from a slip and fall accident, for example, if property owners or managers breach their duty of care to visitors.
What a Plaintiff Must Prove Under Nevada Premises Liability Laws
You may be left wondering, can I sue my landlord for negligence? In accordance with Nevada premises liability laws, accident victims who sustain injuries on another person’s property may be able to file a claim against negligent property owners, tenants, or managers. To succeed with a premises liability lawsuit, plaintiffs need to prove a few key elements.
These elements include:
- The defendant owned or was in control of the premises where the injuries occurred
- The victim was lawfully present on the property
- A dangerous condition existed at the time of the accident
- The defendant caused, was aware of, or should have been aware of the dangerous condition
- The dangerous condition directly contributed to the plaintiff’s accident and subsequent injuries and other damages
The following is a breakdown of each main element.
Proving the Defendant Owned or Controlled the Accident Site
Plaintiffs may be able to prove that a person was liable for an accident and damages if they can show that the defendant was in control of the property. The plaintiff may accomplish this by showing that the defendant was a landlord or tenant of the property. The plaintiff can present evidence to help prove that the defendant owned or leased the land. Such documents might include leases or deeds to the property.
Proving the Plaintiff Had Permission to Be on the Property
Tenants and property owners typically owe a duty of care to invitees and licensees on their property. Visitors with consent to be on the property may include social guests, handymen, and mailmen.
Documentation can help prove that the plaintiff had the property owner’s consent to be at the property at the time of the accident. Evidence might include service contracts, eyewitness testimony, or conversations via text, audio, or video.
Plaintiffs also must be able to prove that dangerous conditions on the property led to the accident. There are many types of dangerous conditions that may develop as a result of negligence or other circumstances, such as:
- Slippery surfaces
- Gas leaks
- Tripping hazards
- Structures violating building codes
- Exposed electrical wiring
- Unstable trees
Individuals may be able to prove dangerous conditions existed by capturing photos or video footage, or by providing eyewitness testimony.
Proving the Defendant Knew About, or Should Have Known About, the Hazard
Plaintiffs will also need to show that the defendant was aware of, or should have been aware of, the dangerous conditions.
If the dangerous condition is open and obvious, this would help prove that the defendant was aware of it. For example, an aggressive dog that the owner lets loose outside could lead to a dog bite injury for which the owner is liable.
Proving the Dangerous Condition Led to Injuries
The last item that plaintiffs need to prove is that the dangerous condition caused their injuries. Evidence could include video footage of the accident, photos, medical records, and eyewitness testimony.
Duty of Care to Invitees and Licensees
When determining premises liability, the main factors that the courts might consider are whether the tenant or property owner was negligent, based on the circumstances and the nature of the accident. However, the court will also consider whether the injured party was an invitee, licensee, or trespasser to help gauge liability.
An invitee is someone that the property owner or tenant invites to the property for his or her benefit. Invitees may include business patrons, contractors, or delivery people. Property owners and tenants owe a duty of care to these individuals.
Meanwhile, licensees are those that the tenant, occupier, or landowner allows on the property for the benefit of both parties. These individuals may include family or friends whom the landowner invites over to visit. Property owners must maintain a duty of care for licensees. This includes warning them of potential dangers and taking steps to secure the property.
Trespassers are those who enter the property without the consent of the landowner or occupier. Because of their unanticipated presence, landowners and others don’t usually owe an immediate duty of care to them, but trespassers may still be able to win premises liability cases due to certain hazards.
Filing a Premises Liability Lawsuit Against Liable Parties
Property owners, tenants, and others may be liable for damages in premises liability cases. If a victim sustains injuries on another’s property, and negligence caused the accident, it’s important to be able to prove that the other party is responsible. With the help of a premises liability lawyer, individuals may have an easier time proving that a tenant, property owner, or occupant’s negligence led to the accident and resulting damages.