Business Liability for On-Premises Altercations

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Posted on Saturday, March 2nd, 2024 at 11:20 pm    

Business Liability For On-Premises Altercations

Premises liability laws vary from one state to another, however, they enforce similar basic requirements. Property owners must protect guests from harm by taking reasonable steps to address hazards, and they must warn guests of hazards when they can’t eliminate them. The nuances of these laws can result in complex questions. For example, is a business responsible for altercations occurring on the premises?

Sometimes, yes. But the answer depends on various factors.

Legal Responsibility for Fights on Business Premises

Property owners can take steps to guard against harm to those with legal rights to be on their properties in various ways. Consider these examples:

  • A business owner may train employees to keep an eye out for hazards that may cause slip and falls. Employees should address these hazards promptly.
  • In regions where winter weather can strike, a property owner may have to clear ice and snow from areas of their property to ensure guest safety.
  • Property owners must perform adequate maintenance. Failure to maintain the premises can lead to hazards that may cause harm.

In some cases, property owners also have a duty to take security measures that may not be necessary at all properties. For instance, at a nightclub in a relatively high crime area, an owner knows of the potential for fights to break out. They should thus install security equipment and hire security guards to protect guests. Taking such measures may be less necessary at a library in a quiet town.

Someone hurt in a fight on someone else’s property may be eligible to receive financial compensation. To collect what they deserve, they must show they were hurt because a property owner neglected their duty.

Handling Legal Claims After On-Premises Altercations

Seeking compensation after being hurt in an altercation on someone else’s property usually involves filing a claim with their insurance. When filing a claim, you may seek compensation for such losses as:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • The cost of future medical care
  • Lost earning potential
  • Pain and suffering

The insurance company may deny your claim if there isn’t sufficient evidence of liability. To show you deserve compensation, you must show that a business or property owner has neglected a duty.

Premises liability laws don’t always state exactly what types of reasonable steps property owners should take to ensure guest safety at different types of properties. For example, the premise liability statute in Illinois indicates what constitutes “reasonable care” may vary in different circumstances. You may have to refer to past cases to show why you’re eligible for compensation.

The insurance company might deny your claim without adequate evidence of liability. Even if they don’t, the insurance company may nevertheless refuse to offer a fair settlement.

Negotiating an out-of-court settlement is often ideal in premises liability cases. However, you can file a lawsuit to pursue damages in court if an insurer won’t make a fair offer.

Preventing Altercations in Commercial Settings

Business and commercial property owners can take various steps to minimize the chances of guests being hurt in altercations. They include:

  • Hiring and training qualified security personnel
  • Hiring enough security personnel as necessary to protect guests
  • Installing security cameras
  • Equipping windows and doors with locks
  • Not hiring or retaining employees in any role if they are likely to cause altercations
  • Installing adequate lighting in all areas of a property

These are general suggestions. In unique properties, owners may take additional measures to ensure safety.

Where Do Most On-Premises Altercations Occur?

Business Liability For On-Premises Altercations

Along with nightclubs, settings where the risk of an altercation may be somewhat higher than average include:

  • Bars and restaurants
  • Hotels and motels
  • Sports venues
  • Shopping centers
  • Apartment buildings

It’s worth noting that the chances of violent altercations occurring may increase at certain settings during certain times of the year. For example, an altercation breaking out at a shopping center may be more likely during a busy holiday season. Thus, during such times of year, owners may need to boost security measures.

Contact a Premises Liability Lawyer

Building a case when you’ve been hurt in a fight on someone else’s property can be challenging. You need to reference legal precedent to show you got hurt because an owner neglected their duty.

You don’t have to do this alone. At Wallace Miller, a premises liability lawyer can review your case and help you understand how to proceed. Learn more about what an attorney can do for you by contacting us online today or calling us at (312) 261-6193 for a free case review.

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