There are two main types of premise liability in New Mexico; depending on whether your injury was sustained on commercial or private property.
Inadequate Security is probably one of the most common and most dangerous claims arising under theories of premise liability. This is because common targets of criminal activity are public or semi-public places, including retail stores, churches, apartment complexes, bars/nightclubs, restaurants, or office buildings.
For instance, owners of large-scale rental properties such as apartment complexes or condominiums owe a duty of reasonable care in managing the premises to ensure that their tenants have a reasonably safe living environment and protection from an unreasonable risk of harm. Likewise, lawsuits involving inadequate security often involve injuries sustained as a result of poor workplace security in bars or nightclubs. A commercial property is even more liable if the injury is the result of a violent crime or the mishandling of a weapon, especially if there is a weapons check at the entrance.
In addition to issues involving poor security, DUI cases resulting from the service of an intoxicated patron, or service of a minor, by a commercial establishment generally renders that establishment liable for personal injuries resulting to a third person. Thus, if you were injured by a drunk driver, you may be able to hold the bar or restaurant that over-served him responsible.
Dog Bite and Dog Attacks
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 4.7 million dog bites occur in the U.S. every year, with about 800,000 requiring medical care. Because of issues with dog attacks over the years, New Mexico has become a one-bite state, imposing liability on the dog owner even if the dog has no history of violent behavior.
This is especially the case for victims of dog attacks that are children, because every child deserves to have a dog. According to the CDC, rates of dog bites are highest amongst children ages 5 years to 9 years old, with 82 percent of dog bites treated in the emergency room for children under the age of 15. Often, a dog attack will lead to severe psychological trauma to the victim, turning even the biggest animal lovers into victims of cynophobia.
Beyond psychological trauma, dog attacks can result in puncture wounds, broken bones, torn tendons and ligaments, scarring/disfigurement, and even death. Even in light of these facts there are some instances in which a dog-owner may not be liable for a dog’s behavior, which is why it is so important to seek the advice of an attorney if you have been attacked.
Slip and Fall Accidents
One of the most common legal theories under premises liability is slip and fall cases, which occur when an injury victim is present on another person’s property and falls as a result of an unreasonably safe and legally foreseeable hazard.
These types of cases are complicated, as different duties are owed to people at different times. Personal injuries sustained from a bad slip and fall can lead to numerous complications, from a sprained wrist to traumatic brain injury. If a slip and fall case is caused because of the negligence or intentional action of another person, the victim may be entitled to a personal injury lawsuit or settlement.
Premises Liability for Business Owners
Businesses owners have a duty to ensure that potential customers, clients, and business associates are reasonably safe while on the premises of the business. Thus, if someone is injured on commercial property because of some unreasonably unsafe condition, then business owner can be held liable.
Premises Liability for Private Property
On the other hand, the duties of a private property owner vary considerably by jurisdiction. These duties are reliant upon the statutory and case law of the jurisdiction in which the incident occurred, and can range from almost no duty to certain entrants to a general duty of reasonable care to all.
Common instances of commercial premise liability claims include:
- The unreasonable existence of wet floors, uneven pavement, or snow-covered/icy walkways
- Animal or dog attacks
- Workplace accidents due to an unsafe conditions
- Toxic fumes in an enclosed parking area
- Accidents occurring on amusement park rides