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The Difference Between Premises Liability And Negligence

In the scenic city of Portland, Oregon, where unexpected rain can change the day’s plans, understanding the legal concepts of premises liability and negligence can be a crucial part of everyone’s lives. These are two important concepts in personal injury law that are used to determine who can be held responsible for an accident that results in an injury. Our unique Pacific Northwest weather means that public spaces and businesses need to adhere to unique safety standards. If these standards are not met, land owners and business managers can be found legally negligent and, therefore, financially responsible for accidents that occur on their property.

This guide will explore the concepts of premises liability and negligence. We’ll define the terms and discuss their importance in personal injury law. We’ll also look at how these ideas translate to real-world situations in Portland and focus on how an understanding of these basic concepts can improve your chances of receiving the compensation you need to recover from an injury.

If you’ve been injured on someone else’s property, you need a premises liability attorney to investigate your claim and fight for your rights. Zbinden & Curtis Attorneys At Law have nearly 40 years of experience helping Portland residents find the justice they deserve. Call our office today for a free consultation.

The Concept of Negligence in Portland, Oregon

Negligence in Portland, like the rest of Oregon, forms the foundation of many personal injury claims. It’s a principle that seems simple on the surface. Basically, someone in charge didn’t take the care they should have to create a safe environment for the public, and another person got hurt as a result of their inaction.

A simple example is a spilled liquid in a grocery store aisle that creates a slipping hazard. Part of the staff’s job is to actively search for these hazards and either clean them up right away or notify customers of the situation. If they fail to do so, and someone is injured, the grocery store company, employees, or management may be considered negligent in their duty to create a safe environment.

However, negligence isn’t always as straightforward as spills in a grocery store, and it often contains layers of legal complexity. It’s determined by investigating whether the owner owed a duty of care to the victim, whether they breached that duty, and whether or not the accident directly caused the victim’s injuries. Also, this definition of negligence mainly pertains to premises liability claims. The broader concept of negligence can cover various scenarios, from car accidents caused by distracted driving to slip and fall accidents resulting from poorly maintained public sidewalks.

The Concept of Premises Liability in Portland, Oregon

Premises liability, while under the overall umbrella of negligence, focuses directly on injuries that occur on someone’s property due to unsafe conditions. In Portland, property owners, renters, event staff, and managers are legally obligated to keep their premises safe for visitors. This duty varies depending on the visitor involved:

Invitees are people invited onto the property for business purposes and are owed the highest duty of care. In our grocery store example, they are customers that provide the business with the funds they need to operate.

Licensees are social guests invited for non-commercial reasons and are owed a moderate duty of care. You become a licensee if you go to a neighbor’s barbecue, for instance. Your presence only benefits the owner in a social way, but they are still required to provide you with a reasonably safe environment.

Trespassers are people without permission to be on the property and are owed a minimal duty of care. A property owner is only obligated to refrain from causing intentional harm to a trespasser. This means they can’t fire a gun at an uninvited guest, but they certainly aren’t required to keep the property safe for them.

Oregon’s Modified Comparative Negligence

An important aspect of Oregon’s personal injury law is its modified comparative negligence rule. This rule allows personal injury lawyers and insurance claims adjusters to determine the necessary compensation in negligence cases. Under this rule, if the injured party is partially at fault for their own injury, they can still recover compensation for their damages. However, the total damages awarded will be reduced by the percentage of fault that the court assigns to the victim. If the victim is more than 50% responsible for the accident, they will not be able to collect compensation from the property owner at all.

For instance, if a pedestrian is found at 10% at fault for an accident because they were using their phone while walking, but the property owner was at 90% at fault for not fixing a known hazard, the pedestrian’s compensation would be reduced by 10% of fault.

The Role of Insurance in Negligence and Premises Liability Claims

Understanding how insurance works is crucial in understanding negligence and premises liability cases. Property owners often have liability insurance that covers injuries occurring on their property. Similarly, auto insurance policies provide liability insurance to cover claims related to car accidents. Navigating a personal injury claim requires an understanding of insurance policy limits and exclusions, as well as the negotiation process. This is where an experienced premises liability attorney can make all the difference in your case.

Seeking Legal Assistance for a Personal Injury in Portland

Since the laws about negligence and premises liability in Portland are so complex, personal injury claims require a lot of detailed work to succeed. People who suffer injuries due to another person’s action or inaction can always benefit from consulting with a local personal injury attorney. Our legal professionals can offer you guidance on the validity of your claim and navigate the intricacies of Oregon’s laws on your behalf. We can also negotiate with insurance companies for a higher settlement or argue your case in court if necessary.

Zbinden & Curtis Attorneys At Law has nearly four decades of experience assisting Portland residents who have been injured in accidents. Our compassionate staff can help you receive the compensation you need to recover while protecting your rights along the way. Call our office today at (503) 287-5000.

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