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Court Finds That Defendant Cannot Claim Indemnity in Recent New Hampshire Premises Liability Lawsuit

September 25, 2019

Recently, the Supreme Court of New Hampshire issued a ruling in an appeal stemming from a premises liability lawsuit against a property owner. The case originated after a man fell on a property while leaving a New Hampshire business. The man suffered injuries because of the fall, and he and his wife collectively filed a lawsuit against the property owner for negligence and loss of consortium. The couple alleged that the fall occurred because the stairs were inadequate, dangerous, and did not meet building codes. The complaint stated that the stairs were too steep and missing handrails.

Under New Hampshire law, property and business owners must ensure that their land is safe for guests and visitors. In most cases, if a person sustains injuries because of a dangerous condition on the property, they may be able to file a premises liability lawsuit against the owner. Some common places where these types of injuries occur are stores, apartment complexes, sidewalks, parks, restaurants, and residential homes.

In these cases, the victim must be able to establish that their injuries were because of the owner’s negligence or carelessness. Typical premises liability actions stem from slip and falls, property collapses, and animal bites. Often, a plaintiff will offer evidence that the property did not comply with applicable building and safety codes to establish liability. They may also point to dangerous aspects of the location, such as defects, missing safety features, poor lighting, disrepair, and lack of warning signs.

In this case, the property owner did not refute that the building was not up to code; however, they sought indemnity against the landscape architect that designed the building. The defendant argued that the architect should face liability for contribution because they designed the area in which the plaintiff fell. The architect company moved to dismiss the claim based on New Hampshire RSA 508:4-b, which bars third-party actions by a property owner against an architect in instances where a plaintiff alleges that the building was not up to code. Ultimately, the court granted the architect’s motion, leaving the defendant responsible for the plaintiff’s injuries.

Property owners will often utilize various techniques to delay settlement and trial and thwart responsibility for their negligence. It is essential that New Hampshire personal injury victims retain experienced attorneys to help them navigate these procedural challenges.

Have You Suffered Injuries After an Accident on Another’s Property?

If you or a loved one has suffered injuries as a result of a dangerous condition on another’s property, contact an attorney at Peter Thompson & Associates. The New Hampshire injury attorneys at our firm can fight to get you and your loved ones the compensation you deserve. We have extensive experience handling complex New Hampshire premises liability lawsuits, as well as other personal injury claims, including car accidents, truck wrecks, and instances of medical malpractice. We can assist you in overcoming the various challenges that these cases can pose, and help to get you the compensation you deserve. To learn more, and to speak with a New Hampshire injury attorney about your case, contact us today at 800-804-2004 to schedule your free initial consultation.