This is the second part of a two part series.  Click here to read Premises Liability, Part 1.


The owner of a business, in addition to maintaining the property in a safe condition, is required to take reasonable care to make sure that his patrons are not negligently or intentionally harmed by his employees or other patrons.   This duty may arise when the owner knows or should have known that an employee or patron poses a danger based on present or past conduct.

There may be no liability, as a matter of law, if the injury is caused by a defect so slight that a prudent person would not reasonably anticipate that it presented a danger.   In contrast, there may also be no liability when a defect is so obvious that it could readily have been observed and avoided.

Liability may be mitigated or even eliminated by certain legal doctrines.   Comparative or contributory negligence doctrines would require the property owner’s liability to be reduced or eliminated by the injured party’s own misconduct or lack of reasonable care for his own safety.

The Assumption of the Risk doctrine states that an injured person cannot recover for risks that he assumed, provided the risks are not unusual or obscure or unduly enhanced by the owner of the premises.   For example, a patron of a sports facility who engages in a sporting activity assumes all of the risks inherent in that activity as well as any obvious conditions of the premises where the activity takes place.   This doctrine could apply to ski resorts, baseball parks, golf courses and any number of other sports or recreational facilities.

In short, be careful and be insured.