Throughout the U.S. each year, tens of thousands of people who visit commercial or public premises are injured due to unreasonably dangerous conditions of properties.

While premises liability claims can be prevented by people not being neglectful and ensuring they take the proper action, such as mopping up or signposting spillages on store floors to prevent customers from having slip and fall accidents, care needs to be taken at the design stage.

Therefore, architects need to carefully consider their designs during the planning, drafting, and design stages to make sure their buildings and structures are safe. Many future premises liability claims can then be avoided.

What exactly is premises liability?

The legal concept of premises liability arises when people are injured on someone else’s property due to unsafe or defective conditions.

The vast majority of personal injury cases that involve premises liability are based on negligence.

For an injured party to win a premises liability case, he or she must prove that the property owner or another was negligent in maintaining public safety.

That can be more easily achieved with the assistance of a premises liability attorney who has the knowledge and experience to win such cases.

If a fault with a building’s design causes an injury, architects and others involved in the design and planning of the building could also be held accountable.

Though, it is important to note that being injured on someone’s property does not automatically mean the property owner or another party is negligent and liable.

With the help of a lawyer, the injured party must demonstrate that the potentially liable party was aware of the unsafe conditions that led to the accident and failed to take the correct steps to remedy the situation.

Now you know what premises liability is, let us look at five ways in which architects can help to prevent premises liability claims.

1. Complying with Safety Regulations and Building Compliance Guidelines

Every architect should know, understand, and follow all building compliance guidelines and safety regulations for the buildings they are designing and constructing.

By doing so, there will be little risk of legal liability for the architect should accidents arise on the premises.

2. Preventing Accidents in Retrofits

When architects work on retrofits, they could find old buildings do not comply with present-day codes and safety regulations. For example, structural elements like staircases could be too steep to meet safety guidelines.

Architects may need to come up with clever solutions to ensure such elements are safe, such as by replacing a staircase with one that meets modern-day safety regulations.

If the replacement of such elements is not possible, it is important that property owners either restrict access to potentially unsafe areas in a building and/or use highly visible signage to warn people of potential risks.

3. Adding Non-slip Flooring

Many premises liability claims involve people who are injured in slip-and-fall accidents. Such accidents can lead to broken bones, head injuries, internal bleeding, paralysis, and even death.

Therefore, architects should carefully consider the flooring materials they use. Slip and fall accidents can largely be avoided by simply installing non-slip flooring.

4. Installing Safe Stairway Railings

Accidents on stairways can cause serious injuries. Therefore, architects need to ensure that the staircases they design are not too steep and that the railings are able to withstand the force of somebody grabbing them or falling against them.

5. Designing Buildings That Are Fire-resistant and Easy to Evacuate

Lastly, one of the most important elements that architects need to consider is the overall layout of buildings to ensure they can be easily evacuated in the event of a fire or earthquake. The building materials that are used also need to be fire-resistant and meet official regulations.


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