Dealing a premises liability lawsuits can be a daunting task for even the most seasoned legal professionals.
This is because there is a lot of legal distinctions between suing a person and a business.
This article will explore these distinctions in detail so that you can better understand the liability implications of owning or operating a business from a premises liability perspective.
Suing an Individual
A person can be sued for injuries that occur on their own property, such as when they trip and fall on the sidewalk in front of their home.
A business, however, can be held liable for injuries that occur on its property, even if the injured person was not an employee or customer of the business at the time of the accident.
This distinction is based on whether or not the owner of the business had actual knowledge that their property may be hazardous.
A person can also be sued for injuries that occur while they are visiting someone else’s property, such as when they trip and fall in someone else’s driveway.
A business cannot be held liable for these types of accidents, however, if the visitor was not an employee or customer of the business at the time of the accident.
This distinction is based on whether or not the owner of the property had actual knowledge that their property might be hazardous to visitors.
Suing a person instead of a business often has different consequences based on whether or not personal injury damages are sought in court (known as “damages”).
If only economic damages (such as lost wages) are sought in court, then only individuals can sue (i.e., plaintiffs).
If intentional wrongful conduct is alleged by plaintiffs (e.g., negligence), then businesses can also sue (i.e., defendants). The difference between suing individuals and businesses is known as “diversity jurisdiction.”
Suing a Business or Corporation
A business can also be sued for injuries that occur while they are conducting their business. For example, if a business’s negligence causes someone to fall and break their leg, the business can be held liable for damages. This is different than when an individual is injured on the property of a business.
For example, if an individual trips and falls in a grocery store, the store owner cannot be sued. This is because the grocery store is not considered to be the individual’s “premises.”
In contrast, if someone falls off of a roof while working at a construction site owned by the corporation they work for, they may have cause to sue their employer.
The distinction between suing individuals and businesses is known as diversity jurisdiction. Diversity jurisdiction refers to the fact that courts have different rules governing who can sue in different types of cases.
Negotiating Settlements With Individuals Vs Businesses
When businesses are sued, they may be able to negotiate settlements instead of going to court. This is because businesses have more resources at their disposal than individuals do.
For example, a business may be able to pay damages out of its own pocket rather than having to go through a long and expensive legal process. Many times business insurance will payout.
Different Rules Apply to Suing a Person Vs Suing a Business
There are also rules that apply when suing a person versus suing a business. For example, in most cases, businesses can sue for monetary damages only.
This means that the business can ask for money damages (such as lost profits) instead of other types of damages (such as pain and suffering). Individuals, on the other hand, can usually sue for both money and other types of damages.
There are also several differences between suing a person and suing a business. One major difference is that businesses are usually considered to be separate legal entities from their employees.
This means that businesses cannot be sued directly by their employees. In contrast, people can often sue their employers even if they are not employed by them directly.
Another major difference between individuals and businesses is that businesses are generally not liable for the actions of their agents or employees.
This means that business owners cannot be held responsible for the actions of their employees or agents. In contrast, individuals always have liability for the actions of their agents or employees.
When it comes to an individual, liability can extend to both their own property and that of others.
Businesses, on the other hand, are generally only liable for the injuries that they cause on their own property.
Before you begin any legal process, make sure you know who you’re suing and what their respective legal rights and liabilities are.
This information can be found in a variety of places, including the law dictionary and business encyclopedias. Speak with an attorney if you have any questions about your specific situation.
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