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In Which Ways Can Property Owners Be Negligent?

Property owners are responsible for keeping the people that come onto their properties safe. If someone is injured on the property due to a property owner's negligence, they may be able to sue the property owner. There are many ways a property owner can be negligent.

When people first come onto a property, they should be able to expect that the sidewalks are safe. This includes being free from cracks and holes that might cause a tripping hazard. It also includes ensuring proper drainage, shoveling snow or ice, and clearing any debris. In many cases, property owners must also maintain the sidewalk in front of their property so that it's safe for people passing by even if they aren't visiting that property.

Parking lots should be maintained in a similar manner to sidewalks. They should also be free of visual obstructions, such as large signs, that could cause an accident. Parking lots should also be well-lit. While property owners generally aren't responsible if someone commits a crime on the property, they can be negligent if they fail to provide reasonable deterrence such as adequate lighting.

Properties should also be free of attractive nuisances. The most common example is a swimming pool or small pond that small children might be drawn to swim in. To prevent drowning, these types of water features should be behind a fence or locked gate.

A property owner's responsibility for the interior of the property depends on who is visiting. A store open to the public would have a high degree of responsibility to avoid slip and falls, falling objects, and other hazards. A factory owner would need to keep their employees safe, but some level of danger might be reasonably expected.

If you've been injured on someone else's property, ask a lawyer whether the owner might be negligent.