Everyone has heard the phrase the devil is in the details. When legal issues are involved, that concept is captured in the caution that when signing a contract you should always read the fine print. That’s where details like exceptions and exclusions intended to shield a party from possible liability tend to exist.
In some instances, state laws can be so filled with confusing words that it amounts to unintentional fine print. That can make it difficult to know what rights the law is intended to really protect.
Under North Carolina law, if a property owner neglects to properly control or maintain conditions and it results in injury, the victim may have the right to be compensated for their suffering and loss. The detail that needs to be addressed is clearly showing that negligence occurred.Â
So what does negligence mean?
The common definition as found in Webster’s is that “negligence is carelessness or not paying attention, causing someone or something to be at risk of being harmed.” In law, the dictionary notes, it means “failure to use a reasonable amount of care when such failure results in injury or damage to another.”
What that means in real terms varies. For instance, if a dog owner fails to properly control or confine the animal and it winds up attacking someone else, that would be construed as negligence.
In terms of property ownership, negligence might be provable if necessary repairs have been ignored or general conditions are unsafe or unsanitary. If repairs are made but fail to meet code and injury results, that could be used to seek due compensation.
The onus on commercial property owners also may extend to the notion of security. A failure to ensure that customers invited onto the property are safe during their visits could be reason to file suit.
Not every situation may meet the necessary standard for filing a premises liability claim. To avoid any doubt, an attorney should be consulted.