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Premise Liability

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Premises liability simply means responsibility for injuries from accidents that happen on someone’s property like parking lots, retail shops, hotels, etc.  It can also mean responsibility if you are injured on property that is not owned by a business but rather a neighbor or a friend’s property.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, compensation for premises liability cases is among the highest of any damages awarded in the U.S.; nearly $4 billion dollars are spent each year to compensate victims who sustain premises liability injuries.

Injuries on properties can include those from:

•                 Slip and fall accidents

•                 Burns and fires

•                 Dog bites or mauling

•                 Exposure to toxic or hazardous substances such as lead or mold

•                 Drowning

•                 Assault

When it comes to issues of premise liability, in Wisconsin we have a unique “safe place” law which outline expectations of safety and compliance for our citizens.  Generally speaking, both business owners and owners of residences have a duty to keep their property safe for visitors.  However the amount to which the court may hold a business owner or owner of a residence to be liable varies based on the facts of each individual case.  

As one example of a recent premise liability case, we have the tragic incident of a nightclub patron who was shot and killed.   After a fistfight in the venues led to its closure for the night, patrons dispersed into the street.   One man went to his truck and retrieved an AK-47 assault rifle and then tried to re-enter the club. The crowd wrested the weapon away from the man, who was able to go back to his vehicle, retrieved another gun and fatally shoot another club goer. The fact that the crowd, not onsite trained security personnel, had to wrestle the firearm from the assailant is a preliminary indicator that there were grounds for a premises liability lawsuit due to negligent security.

In this instance the venue owner failed to have adequate security and, as a result, a violent crime took place that could have been avoided. The parents of the deceased man filed a lawsuit against shooter as well as the venue charging that the property holders who they claimed failed to provide adequate security.

If you or a family member have been injured due to the carelessness of someone else, a properly handled liability suit can cover costs for your medical bills, any lost earnings or other pain, disfigurement, emotional distress or permanent physical disability.  Talk to an experienced personal injury attorney about your rights as soon after your accident as possible.  Many times, properties both inside and out change over time and prompt investigation often times results in higher settlements.  The same is true of witnesses who often times disappear and the sooner your attorney can talk to these people the more thorough the investigation.


For over 40 years, Lebell, Dobroski, Morgan & Meylink has fought to win millions of dollars for their clients.  For a free consultation in home or in our offices, please call us at 414 276 1233