Slip and fall accidents can occur just about anywhere, including in residential homes, as a personal injury lawyer DC trusts can attest. Just as a store owner can be held liable for slip and fall accidents that occur on the premises of their business, homeowner can also be liable if someone falls on their property. This is due to premise liability. Premise liability may still apply if you happen to slip and fall at the home of a former spouse. Matters become complicated when you consider suing a former spouse, so it’s important to better understand the laws at hand.
Laws of Premises Liability
The laws of premise liability hold the owners or tenants of a property liable for injuries that occur on the premises. If the property owner or tenant is at fault for the accident, then they may be responsible for paying compensation for the injuries and damages suffered by the accident.
- Property owners and tenants have a duty of care to ensure the property is safely maintained for any entrees of the premises.
- People who enter the property are classified as either an invitee, licensee or trespasser. There are different duties owed to each classification of entrants.
- Some states focus on the classification of the injured person, while others focus on the condition of the property when the accident occurred.
Liability of a Former Spouse
Whether a former spouse can be held liable as a property owner or tenant may vary by state jurisdiction. Typically, their liability will depend on your classification as an entrant on their property
An invitee is person on the property that was invited there by the property owner or tenant for any lawful or business purpose. A primary example would be a contract worker hired to do a job on the property. In such case, the property owner or tenant owes an extraordinary duty of care. It is unlikely that a former spouse would fall under this category. A custody agreement requiring you to pick your children up from the former spouse’s house could place you in this category.
A licensee is someone who is consented or given permission to enter the premises. Social guests usually fall under this category. A former spouse visiting the premises will usually be considered a licensee, meaning they are owed a general duty of care.
Trespassers are also owed some duty of care. If you enter onto a former spouse’s property without permission, then you are considered to be trespassing. In the case that you are injured because of hazardous conditions, then they may be held liable. A judge, however, may consider the possibility that, as a former spouse, you may have intentionally caused yourself harm in order to get them in trouble. This likelihood can affect your case.
Intra-Family Tort Immunity
Intra-family tort immunity prevent family members from being able to sue one another. If the state in which the accident occurred still uses this law, then you may run into legal troubles. If you are legally divorced, however, you should still be able to file a lawsuit. To prevent running into problems, you should seek the legal counsel of a family lawyer. Slip and fall accidents are stressful enough, but when your former spouse is involved, the matter is further complicated. Hire an experienced lawyer to help you navigate your case and avoid some of these stresses.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from the Law Firm of Frederick J. Brynn for their insight into slip and fall practice.