A male lawyer is working on a premises liability case in his Salt Lake City law office.

Premises liability accidents can happen in many ways, on private property or in a public venue like a store or event center. These are situations where a person is hurt on another party’s property due to the negligence of the owner. In many cases, the injured person may not realize the owner was negligent or that their injuries could have been avoided, so it’s a good idea to discuss your case with a premises liability lawyer to learn your options.

Could a Salt Lake City Premises Liability Attorney Help You?

In many situations where you have been injured on someone else’s property, we may be able to help you recover your damages. Here are some examples of the different kinds of premises liability cases we see:

Slip/Trip and Fall Cases

As you might guess, these injuries happen when a person falls because of a hazard on a property. For example, you might slip on a spilled drink in the mall or trip over a garden hose left in your neighbor’s walkway. If your fall results in serious injuries, you could have significant medical bills, lost income, and other damages.

You might be thinking that you don’t want to sue your neighbor, or you don’t think the mall is at fault because a child spilled a drink. But that shouldn’t mean that you have to pay the costs of your injuries on your own. 

It’s also helpful to understand that business liability insurance and homeowner’s insurance exist to compensate the victim in these situations without unduly burdening the property owner. Business owners know that if you invite the general public to your shopping mall, people will spill drinks and make messes. The mall’s owner or manager has a duty of care to ensure these messes are cleaned up promptly and don’t pose a hazard. If they fail to address a hazard in a reasonable amount of time, they may be negligent, and we can seek damages from their liability insurance. Your neighbor also has a duty to make their yard reasonably safe for guests, and if they failed to do that, their homeowner’s insurance may cover your injuries.

Elevator or Escalator Accidents

Usually, these transportation systems for large venues are relatively safe, but accidents involving elevators or escalators cause about 17,000 serious injuries annually in the US. If the property owner failed to maintain the elevator or escalator properly and its malfunction caused your injuries, then the owner may be negligent. Again, we will seek damages from the owner’s business liability policy.

Attractive Nuisances

In general, Utah law does not require a duty of care from property owners where trespassers are concerned. In other words, if someone breaks into your home and trips over a broom you left lying on the floor, they would have a very hard time arguing that you were negligent. After all, you didn’t invite them over and weren’t expecting guests, so how could you be negligent?

But there are a few exceptions to this rule. One involves children and “attractive nuisances.” If you have an attraction in your yard that curious children might want to explore, and it could potentially be dangerous, you do have a duty of care to address this danger. For example, you might have a pool in your backyard. Perhaps some of your neighbors have young children who would love to play in the pool. Unfortunately, if the kids sneak off and go swimming unattended, they could be at risk of drowning.

Another example might be playground equipment that you set up for your own children. If the neighbors’ kids come over and use the swingset when you aren’t around, they could get hurt without adult supervision.

What if your child was injured on another person’s property while playing with an attractive nuisance? If the owner was negligent in regard to the attraction, you may be able to seek compensation from their homeowner’s insurance. In these cases, “negligence” is weighted between the burden on the homeowner and the risk to children in the neighborhood. Generally, taking measures like putting up a fence with a locked gate is considered a reasonable effort to keep others safe. If your child got around this effort by climbing over the fence, breaking the lock, etc., the owner probably isn’t negligent. However, if they made no effort to address the potential hazard, and your child simply wandered into the yard and suffered an injury on a rusted swingset, then the owner might be negligent.


When people tell us they want to pursue a civil case after being the victim of a crime, they usually want to sue the perpetrator. This is understandable, especially if the person who did it wasn’t punished in the criminal law system. Criminal cases have a high burden of proof, and unfortunately, there are situations where there isn’t enough evidence to prove the person is “guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.” Additionally, many crimes go unsolved, leaving victims with a sense that justice has not been served.

However, suing the person who injured you is not always the best option. Unlike in the situations we discussed earlier, the responsible party won’t have an insurance policy for injuries they cause while committing crimes. You can sue them personally, but if they have few or no assets we can seize, we may not be able to recover all or even most of your damages.

There are other issues to consider. Some people who were traumatized by an assault simply don’t want to deal with the stress of facing an attacker in court and reliving their experience.

Does that mean that you can’t recover your damages? Not necessarily. If you were the victim of a crime on another party’s property, it’s possible that the property owner was negligent. Property owners, particularly businesses, have a duty to ensure their guests or customers are reasonably safe, including being safe from crime. Here are some examples:

  • Lack of response to previous crimes. If a business has been robbed repeatedly but hasn’t taken any additional steps to make the premises safer, and you are injured during a subsequent robbery, the business could be negligent. For example, a business owner who took the situation seriously might add security cameras, a silent alarm for the cashier, and other security measures to discourage robberies. If the owner doesn’t do these things, they might be negligent.
  • Poor lighting in parking lots. This is even more of a problem if other customers have reported feeling unsafe in the parking lot or have reported being mugged or assaulted there.
  • Insufficient security staffing. If you own or manage a store or shopping mall or another public venue, you can expect some crime to occur, in the same way you can expect spilled drinks and messes. This is why malls typically have a security office staffed with people who circulate around the mall, keeping an eye out for crime and responding to complaints. But if you are the victim of a crime in a store or venue, and we find out there were not enough security officers on the premises – given the size of the store and the typical crowds – the store might be negligent.
  • Lack of training for employees. People who work with the public should receive training on how to handle shoplifters, as well as customers who become belligerent and potentially violent. The store or venue should also have training that covers safety practices, like what to do in the event of a robbery or active shooter situation. If you were injured in a public place and we learn that the employees did not receive appropriate training, the business could have been negligent.
  • Hotel and motel security problems. There are a few potential issues that can affect hotels or motels – one is failing to make the rooms secure. For example, if your room had only a simple lock and no deadbolt, and someone was able to break in quickly, the hotel or motel may be at fault. Another issue is a lack of training for employees with regard to recognizing signs of human trafficking. Additionally, if the hotel has a long history of assaults and other crimes and management hasn’t taken steps to prevent further crimes, they could be negligent.

Our Salt Lake City personal injury law firm understands that being the victim of a crime can be emotionally devastating while also causing physical and financial injuries. If you’re struggling to pay your medical bills and other expenses after being assaulted or injured during a criminal action on someone else’s property, we may be able to seek compensation for your damages.

Our Salt Lake City Premises Liability Law Firm Can Help

If you or a loved one were injured as the victim of a crime, you may be angry, confused, and unsure of what to do next. Valley Law Accident and Injury Lawyers are always available for a free consultation about your case. We’ll review what happened, answer your questions, and lay out your options for seeking compensation. Your consultation is completely confidential, and there is no obligation. If we take your case, you won’t owe us anything until we win or settle it. Call 801-810-9999.

Questions you might have in your mind

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Additional Questions?

We have helped many clients recover from injuries resulting from car accidents in West Valley, Salt Lake City, and the greater Utah area. We are here to help you recover after an accident. If you've been injured, don't hesitate to call Valley Law Accident and Injury Lawyers for a free consultation. We have recovered millions for our clients and we are ready to fight for you.

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