Occupiers’ Liability Claim *
The Occupiers’ Liability Act 1995 is the main legislation in Ireland which provides for the occupiers of private land in relation to their duty of care to any visitors to the premises. Private land can include bars, shops, playgrounds, restaurants and schools. The Act states that an occupier of premises owes a reasonable level of duty of care to any visitors on their land. This means that they should have a regard for their health and safety at all times and ensure that they do not sustain any injuries while on the premises. This Act states that if you were to sustain injuries on privately owned land, it may be the occupier of these premises who is found liable as a result of negligent behaviours, such as failing to eliminate potential hazards which could cause an accident to occur. As a visitor to any site, you would expect it to be a safe environment that is free of risks and hazards. An occupier or owner of private land should take steps to ensure that their premises are not dangerous as if an accident occurs they may be found liable and the injured person may be entitled to make a public liability claim against them.
Occupiers have a responsibility to frequently assess their premises for any potential hazards. They should identify and eliminate these risks. This also allows them to put precautions in place to deal with any potential hazards which may appear in the future. If there are procedures in place it will reduce the chance of accidents and injury. They also have a duty to maintain their premises to a good standard for the health and safety of both themselves and any visitors.
Occupiers Liability and Trespassers
An unlawful visitor to a premises is a trespasser who does not have permission to be on the land. This includes those who are not aware that they are trespassing. The Occupiers Liability Act sets out information on the occupiers’ duty of care to them also. If there are dangerous conditions on the premises the occupier of the land as a duty to all visitors, including trespasser, to note injure or act in a negligent manner towards them. If an unlawful visitor has sustained injuries on private land they may be entitled to make a claim for damages. In order to do this, you may need to determine if the landowner breached their duty of care and acted in a negligent manner. In relation to this, there are certain circumstances which can be taken into consideration.
- If the occupier knew that a danger existed
- If the occupier was aware that visitors would be close to any potential hazards
- Whether the landowner gave any warning of any risks or dangerous conditions
- If the visitor took reasonable steps to ensure their own health and safety
It is important to note that if the trespasser entered the site to commit an offence which then led to injuries being sustained, the occupier will likely not be found liable for this. If a visitor to a site is aware of the dangers prior to visiting the premises they must show that they took reasonable steps to ensure their safety before making a personal injuries claim.
- Broken bones and fractures
- Cuts and lacerations
- Injuries to the legs and feet
- Back injuries
- Nerve damage
- Internal injuries
- Head and Brain Injuries
Slip and fall injuries * are commonly caused by wet floors and spillages. This can happen in any environment and it is important that there are procedures in place to deal with this hazard in a timely manner so as to avoid injuries. The occupier of the premises will be found liable for injuries sustained as a result of this as it is their responsibility to provide a safe environment for all visitors.
Failing to identify risks
It is important that an owner of a premises assesses their land to identify and eliminate any risks. Failing to do so can result in accidents and injuries which they may be found responsible for. Failing to identify hazards is a common example of negligent behaviour.
Occupiers have a duty of care to maintain their premises to ensure the health and safety of both themselves and their visitors. There is an expectation that they will maintain their property to a high standard. Any repairs and maintenance should be carried out on a regular basis as this can help to reduce the chance of accidents occurring.
Failing to take action on hazards
Property owners also have a duty of care to ensure that they take action on any hazards that are identified. Any risks that you are made aware of should be eliminated as soon as possible and there should be steps in place on how to act in these situations.
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