In Arizona, a business owner may be liable for a personal injury that occurs on its premises if it can be proven that they were negligent and their negligence caused the injury. Under premises liability law, the extent to which a business’ duty to protect visitors would apply depends on the type of visitor and why they are on the premises:
Invitees. An invitee is someone who has express or implied permission to visit a business. This would apply to someone shopping at a retail establishment, attending a concert, visiting a theme park, etc. A business must warn invitees of any dangerous conditions on the property and can be held liable for personal injury if the business knew of the condition or should have known about it because it existed for a period of time, or if an employee created the dangerous condition.
Licensees. A licensee is someone who has permission to visit a property for non-commercial reasons, such as a social gathering. This can also include a family member or friend. If the property owner is aware of a hazard on his or her property and fails to warn the visitor, he or she could be liable for a personal injury.
Trespassers. A trespasser is someone who is on the property illegally or without the owner’s permission. The owner can only be held liable for injury to a trespasser if he or she deliberately or maliciously inflicts the injury.
There is a different, stricter standard of care if children are injured when visiting a commercial or residential property.
Liability for negligent acts of employees
A business may be liable for the negligent acts of its employees under certain circumstances. For liability to apply, an employee must have been acting within the scope of his or her employment when the injury occurred.
However, if the employee was driving a company vehicle home from a bar after work and was involved in a collision, the corporation may not be liable (especially if the employee was not permitted to drive the company vehicle after work hours).
In some instances, liability may be imposed upon the shareholders of a corporation if the injured party can prove that the corporation is their alter ego – e.g., if shareholders usually use the corporation’s assets for personal reasons, or the corporation has inadequate capital.
When you are facing any type of business dispute, you need an experienced Arizona trial attorney to obtain the best possible result. Contact Williams Commercial Law Group, L.L.P., at (602) 256-9400 to speak with us about your case.