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Premises liability and the duty of care

On Behalf of | Nov 29, 2022 | Personal Injury |

When entering the property of another, you expect the landowner to maintain it in a reasonably safe condition. You expect, for example, not to encounter a slippery floor or other dangerous conditions that can lead to injury.

When an injury does occur, the question arises whether the landowner is liable.

Premises liability

In general, Montana law imposes an obligation upon landowners to maintain the safety of their premises. This means a landowner has a duty to exercise reasonable care to avoid accidents or injuries on their property.

If a retail store, for example, permits water to remain on the floor, resulting in slippery conditions, the store likely failed to exercise reasonable care. It is foreseeable that a customer may fall and injure themselves.

If a customer is injured, the store is generally liable to the customer for failing to exercise reasonable care to prevent the dangerous condition.

This does not mean a landowner is liable for any injury occurring on their premises. Instead, the injury must result from the landowner’s failure to exercise reasonable care to keep their property in a safe condition.

Partial liability

In some cases, the landowner and injured person may share responsibility for an injury. For example, the slip-and-fall in the retail store may be partly due to a slippery floor and partly because the customer was running at an unreasonable pace. In that case, the injured party cannot recover if they are 51% or more at fault for the injury.

Safety first

Ultimately, a person entering the property of another expects to find safe conditions. If conditions are unsafe, a person is ordinarily entitled to recover for any resulting harm.

If you find yourself injured, you should document the circumstances of your injuries and consult with an experienced attorney to see if you are entitled to recover damages.



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