IN THE NEWS: DOES PREMISES LIABILITY COVER GOOSE ATTACKS?
At Ramey & Hailey, we settle cases based on the legal principle of premises liability. What is premises liability? Store owners are under an obligation to implement reasonable measures to ensure the safety of their customers who are on their premises.
“The most common lawsuits against business owners are from customers or other guests who slip, fall, or otherwise sustain injuries while on their property… Injuries and property damage can happen in parking lots, common areas of apartment buildings, hotel or office lobbies, hallways, and leased office spaces,” insurance website trustedchoice.com explains. However, Trusted Choice adds, as a business owner, you aren’t expected to protect people from hazards that you don’t know about or cannot reasonably anticipate.
Just last week, police in Indiana shared a warning after a goose attacked shoppers in a Walmart parking lot in Fishers, causing minor injuries, including a bite mark on one shopper’s arm. Police warn that during nesting season, geese are very territorial and protective, and that it’s best to keep one’s distance from the creatures.
Whether or not that goose attack could ”reasonably have been anticipated” is up for question. What is certainly true is that business owners have a reasonable duty of care to make sure no one is injured on their property.
Common causes of parking lot accidents, LegalMatch.com explains, include:
- pavement imperfections (pavement is slick, uneven, cracked, or filled with potholes)
- insufficient security (allows criminal activity)
- inadequate lighting
- poor signage
Lot owners are obligated to frequently check for harmful conditions and take action to fix any problems.
Your personal injury attorney is going to need to prove three things in order to sue a property owner on your behalf:
- The owner had a duty to protect you as a customer from harm.
- The owner failed to exercise reasonable care.
- The owner’s failure to exercise reasonable care is what caused the resulting injury or death.
The true purpose of premises liability law, we explain to our Ramey & Hailey clients, is to make things safer and better. Yes, one goal is to compensate injured people for their pain and suffering, but the main purpose is to force companies to keep things as safe as possible for the public!