When accidents happen while you’re a legal visitor on a property, you deserve compensation. Learn about what a premises liability lawyer can do for you.
When people visit a premise that is not their own, there is an expectation of the property being safe. But, unfortunately, most premises are not safe for visitors, leading to accidents that result in injuries. When this happens, the injured person can take legal action against the property owner.
This is what premises liability is all about. Our skilled premises liability attorneys at the Potter Law Firm are experts in getting victims compensation for their premises liability injuries. We offer tailor-made services to each of our clients as we understand that each case is unique. So contact us today.
What Does Premises Liability Mean?
Premises liability is one of the types of personal injury cases under tort law. It refers to a property owner’s potential legal responsibility to a lawful visitor who suffered injuries due to unsafe conditions or a defective condition on their property. Premises liability cases exist in most structures or open spaces, and it is based on negligence like all injury cases.
Negligence, here, is the premises owner’s inability to keep their premises free from dangerous conditions. So, for example, if the property owner fails to warn visitors of a wet surface that leads to a slip and fall, they will answer a premises liability claim. This is because the person owes visitors a duty of care, and the premises liability law stipulates they exercise reasonable care always.
However, this duty applies depending on the type of visitor a person is. Visitors to a property are divided into three categories:
An invitee is someone who has the landowner’s express or implied permission to be on the premises. They are usually friends, relatives, social guests, and neighbors. The property owner owes the invitee a duty of reasonable care to keep their property free of danger.
A licensee also has the landowner’s express or implied permission to enter the property, but they use the property for business purposes. They are usually salesmen, and the owner owes them a lesser duty. However, they can hold the property owner responsible if:
- The landowner is aware of the condition; and
- The licensee is unlikely to discover the danger.
A trespasser is someone who is neither an invitee nor a licensee. They are not authorized to be on private property, so the landowner owes them no duty of care. The only exception to this rule is where the trespasser is a child. In that case, the landowner must exercise reasonable care to avoid any foreseeable risk of harm caused by artificial conditions on the land, e.g., a swimming pool.
If you do not know the class of visitors you belong to, an experienced premises liability attorney can help you.
What Are the Most Common Types of Premises Liability Claims?
There are different types of premises liability claims. They are:
Slips and Falls
They are the most common straightforward types of premises liability cases. They happen when you slip or trip on another person’s premises. Some known causes of slip and fall accidents are:
- Slippery floors caused by an accumulation of ice or snow
- Defective staircases
- Oily floors
- Wet floors
- Unsecured rugs or carpets
- Hidden extension cords
- Loose or broken floors, steps, stairs, or uneven sidewalks
Inadequate Building Security
This is most common in apartment buildings or services. First, the building owner must ensure they secure the property and provide a safe environment. Doing this involves hiring competent security personnel, having adequate lighting, installing standard locks, etc.
Swimming Pool Accidents
This involves majorly minors, especially unsupervised children. Swimming pools where children frequent must have adequate security around them. If the pool owner leaves it open and unguarded, they would be liable if a child gets into an accident.
Other known types of premises liability cases are:
- Inadequate property maintenance
- Defective conditions on the property
- Elevator and escalator accidents
- Amusement park accidents
- Water leaks or flooding
What Types of Injuries Are Common With Premises Liability Claims?
Depending on the types of accident that occurs on the premises, a person can suffer:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Broken bones
- Soft tissue injuries
- Internal bleeding
- Bruises and lacerations
What Compensation Can You Get in a Premises Liability Lawsuit?
An injured victim in a premises liability case can get compensation for the following:
- Medical Care: An injured party would incur medical expenses while getting treatment. Thus, victims can get reimbursement for doctor bills, medications, medical equipment, physical therapy, and therapy for emotional injuries like mental anguish.
- Lost Wages: This covers both past, and future income the premises liability injuries cost the victim. You can also request bonuses, commissions, and other benefits you lost because of your wounds.
- Pain and Suffering: The negligent party would also compensate you for your physical pain and suffering. The amount may be hard to calculate as it doesn’t have a fixed dollar amount. However, an experienced attorney can help you arrive at an amount.
- Wrongful Death: If the hazardous condition led to the visitor’s death, their legal beneficiaries would get death benefits. This covers whatever compensation the victim would have received in a personal injury claim, as well as funeral and burial expenses.
- Loss of Consortium: If the injury keeps you from being able to enjoy your spouse’s company, you can get this benefit.
- Punitive Damages: This is what the court wards against a negligent party whose actions were intentional, malicious, or gross. You can only get this compensation when you file a premises liability lawsuit. If you settle with the property’s owner insurer, you won’t get it.
How Do You Prove a Premises Liability Claim?
Winning a premises liability action is not a walk in the park. This is why we always advise victims to hire experienced premises liability lawyers. In addition to that, you need to prove some factors to have a valid premises liability claim.
You must show that:
- The defendant owned, occupied, or leased the property where the premises liability accident happened
- The defendant had or should have had constructive knowledge of the negligent conditions on the property
- The defendant negligently used the property
- You suffered an injury due to the negligent actions of the defendant
- The defendant’s action was a substantial factor in causing you harm
What Does a Premises Liability Lawyer Do?
To win a premises liability lawsuit, you need the expertise of a legal team. Your team would have personal injury attorneys that are well versed in personal injury law. In addition, your experienced team of attorneys would do the following:
- Conduct an independent investigation to determine how the premises liability accident happened. This includes obtaining copies of the accident report, calling accident reconstruction experts, etc.
- Recreate the events leading to the accident, as well as the property owner’s negligence
- Prove that the property owner exposed you to unreasonable risk, putting them at fault
- Design a strategy to ensure you win the claim
- Communicate and sit in on negotiations with insurance companies
- Represent you in court if the case goes to trial
- Keep you updated throughout the process
- Explain the legal process to you
Hire the Experienced Team at the Porter Firm
Did you suffer an injury on a property you have the owner’s consent to enter? If yes, our premises liability lawyers at the Porter Firm can help you with your compensation claim. We have over fifty years of experience helping victims and will bring it to bear on your case. Contact us today for a free case review.
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