What are the elements of a premises liability claim?

On Behalf of | May 9, 2024 | Premises Liability

If you were injured while legally visiting someone else’s home or business, the property owner may be liable for damages that arise as a result of your accident. Under Montana law, slip-and-fall accident victims will have three years from the date of their injury to file their claim for damages.

Proving your premises liability claim

If you have decided to bring a claim against a party for your slip-and-fall, you will need to establish that they are liable for the incident.  Here are a few things you will need to establish to successfully prove your case.

Dangerous condition or hazard

You will need to show that there was a dangerous condition or hazard that existed on the property at the time of your accident. Common examples of dangerous slip-and-fall conditions include:

  • Wet or icy sidewalks or entryways.
  • Poor lighting.
  • Broken steps.
  • Uneven carpeting or flooring.
  • Debris in the aisles or walkways.
  • Spilled substances on floors.

Actual or constructive notice

Property owners have a legal duty to take reasonable steps to inspect the property for any dangerous conditions. You will need to establish that the owner had actual or constructive notice of the dangerous condition that led to your accident.

  • If the owner was aware of the dangerous condition on the property, the owner had actual notice of the condition.
  • If the owner did not know about the condition but should have known about the condition through reasonable inspections, the owner had constructive notice.

Breach of duty

You must establish that the property owner breached the duty of care owed to you in some way. A breach of duty may be a failure to conduct inspections, failure to warn guests of dangerous conditions, and/or failure to properly maintain the property.


You will need to show that the dangerous condition, which was not addressed by the owner, caused your accident. The property owner will likely try to establish that your own negligence caused your accident. However, even if a jury finds you were negligent, if you were no more than 50 percent at fault, you can still recover damages in Montana.


You will need to prove you suffered injuries and damages because of the accident. Medical bills, employment records, pay stubs, and expert testimony can be used to establish your medical expenses, lost wages, emotional distress, and other damages.


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