Did you know that every day in the United States, someone is injured in an accident that takes place on someone else’s property? These accidents, which are commonly referred to as “premises liability” cases, can involve anything from a slip and fall on a wet floor to an animal attack. And while premises liability law can be complex, understanding the basics of this area of law is essential if you or a loved one has been injured.
Premises Liability Basics
In order to understand premises liability law, it’s first important to understand what exactly constitutes “property.” In legal terms, property refers to anything that has value and can be owned. This includes land, buildings, cars, and even personal belongings. When it comes to premises liability law, the focus is usually on land and buildings.
So what does this mean for injured parties? Essentially, it means that property owners have a duty to ensure that their property is safe for visitors. This duty extends not only to ensure that the property is physically safe (for example by removing trip hazards) but also to taking steps to protect visitors from potential dangers (such as keeping animals restrained). If a property owner fails in his or her duty to keep the property safe and someone gets hurt as a result, then the property owner may be held liable for the victim’s injuries.
In order to recover damages in a premises liability case, the victim must first prove that the owner of the property owed him or her a duty of care. This duty varies depending on the relationship between the victim and the property owner. For example, the duty of care owed to a social guest on someone’s property is different than the duty of care owed to a person who is on the property for business purposes.
Once it has been established that the owner owed the victim a duty of care, the victim must then prove that the property owner breached that duty. This can be done by showing that the property owner knew or should have known about the hazard that caused the victim’s injuries and failed to take reasonable steps to fix it.
For example, if a property owner knows that there is a hole in the floor and does not warn visitors or make repairs, then the property owner may be held liable if someone falls through the hole and gets hurt.
If the victim can prove that the property owner breached his or her duty of care, then the victim can recover damages for any injuries that were caused as a result. These damages may include medical bills, lost incomes, and pain and suffering. In a few cases, punitive damages can also be awarded.
What Is Some Compensation in a Premises Liability Case?
There are many different types of compensation that may be available in a premises liability case. The specific types of compensation that are available will depend on the facts of the case and the severity of the victim’s injuries.
Some of the most common types of damages that may be awarded in a premises liability case include:
If you’ve been injured in a premises liability accident, then you may be able to recover the cost of your medical bills. This includes both past and future medical expenses. In order to recover these damages, you will need to have documentation of your medical bills, such as doctor’s notes and hospital records.
Here are some of the medical compensations you may be able to recover:
- Doctor’s visits
- Emergency room treatment
- Physical therapy
- Prescription medication
- Medical devices (such as crutches or a wheelchair)
If your injuries have caused you to miss work, then you may be able to recover your lost wages. In order to recover these damages, you will need to have documentation of your lost wages, such as pay stubs or tax records.
You may also be able to recover future lost wages if your injuries have caused you to miss work and will continue to miss work in the future. In order to recover future lost wages, you will need to have documentation from a doctor or other medical professional indicating that your injuries have caused you to miss work and are expected to continue to do so.
Pain and Suffering
You may also be able to recover damages for the pain and suffering that you have experienced as a result of your injuries. This type of compensation is intended to reimburse you for the physical and emotional anguish that you have suffered. In order to recover these damages, you will need to have documentation of your pain and suffering, such as medical records or doctor’s notes.
In some cases, punitive damages may also be available. These damages are intended to penalize the wrongdoer and discourage future misconduct. They are typically only awarded in the situations where the suspects’s conduct was particularly outrageous.
How Is Liability Determined in a Premises Liability Case?
Liability in a premises liability case is determined by looking at the relationship between the victim and the property owner. The level of care that the property owner owes the victim depends on this relationship.
There are three general categories of visitors on someone else’s property: licensees, invitees, and trespassers. An invitee is someone who has been invited onto the property for a business purpose, such as a customer at a store. A licensee is someone who has been invited onto the property for a personal purpose, such as a social guest. A trespasser is someone who has entered the property without permission.
- Invitees are owed the highest level of care by property owners. The property owner must take reasonable steps to ensure that the property is safe for invitees and to warn them of any dangers that are present.
- The property owner owes a lower duty of care to licensees. The property owner must take reasonable steps to ensure that the property is safe for licensees and to warn them of any dangers that are present. However, the property owner is not required to actively search for hazards on the property.
- The property owner owes the lowest duty of care to trespassers. The property owner is not required to take any steps to ensure that the property is safe for trespassers. However, the property owner cannot deliberately injure a trespasser or set traps for them.
What Are Some Common Defenses to Premises Liability Cases?
There are several common defenses that may be used in premises liability cases. These include:
- The victim was trespassing.
- The property owner owed no duty of care to the victim.
- The property owner did not know, and had no reason to know, of the hazard.
- The property owner took reasonable steps to prevent the accident from happening.
- The victim’s own negligence contributed to the accident.
What Should I Do If I Have Been Injured in an Accident on Someone Else’s Property?
If you have been injured in an accident on someone else’s property, there are several things that you should do. These include:
1. Get medical help.
If you have been injured, it is important to get medical help as soon as possible. This will ensure that your injuries are treated and will also create documentation of your injuries. While you are at the hospital or doctor’s office, be sure to tell the staff that your injuries were caused by an accident on someone else’s property.
2. Get the witnesses’ contact information.
If there were any witnesses to the accident, be sure to get their names and contact information. These witnesses will be able to provide valuable testimony if your case goes to trial. During the course of your case, the witness’ memories may fade, so it is important to get this information as soon as possible.
3. Take photos of the scene.
As soon as you are able, take photos of the scene of the accident. These photos will be helpful in showing what happened and how the accident occurred. In addition, if there is any evidence of the hazard that caused your accident, be sure to take photos of that as well.
4. Do not give a statement to the property owner’s insurance company.
The insurance company for the property owner will likely try to contact you after the accident. They may try to get you to give a recorded statement or sign a release. You should not do either of these things. Anything that you say to the insurance company can be used against you later. In addition, if you sign a release, you may be giving up your right to sue for your injuries.
5. Call an experienced premises liability lawyer.
An experienced premises liability lawyer will be able to help you with every step of your case. They will be able to investigate the accident, gather evidence, and build a strong case on your behalf. In addition, a lawyer will know how to deal with insurance companies and will fight for the compensation that you deserve.
Some Special Circumstances that Can Affect Your Premises Liability Case
There are some special circumstances that might affect your premises liability case. These include:
1. Swimming pools.
If you are injured in a swimming pool, there may be additional laws that apply to your case. For example, many states have laws that require property owners to have fences around their pools. If the property owner did not have a fence, they may be liable for your injuries.
As a general rule, property owners owe a higher duty of care to children than they do to adults. This is because children are not able to recognize hazards the way that adults can. As a result, if you are injured while on someone else’s property, and you are a child, the property owner may be held liable even if they did not know of the hazard.
If you are injured by an animal while you’re on someone else’s property, the owner may be liable for your injuries. This is especially true if the property owner knew that the animal was dangerous and did not take steps to protect visitors from it.
4. Landlords and Tenants.
During the course of your case, it may be necessary to determine who is responsible for the maintenance of the property. If the property is leased, the landlord may be held liable for any hazards on the property. However, if the tenant is responsible for the maintenance of the property, they may be held liable instead.
5. Government Property.
If you are injured while on government property, you may be able to sue the government for your injuries. However, there are special rules that apply to these cases. As a result, it is important to consult with an experienced accident lawyer before proceeding.
6. Acts of a Third Party.
In some cases, you may be able to sue the property owner for injuries that were caused by the act of a third party. For example, if you are robbed while on someone else’s property, you may be able to sue the property owner if they did not take steps to protect you from the third party.
You can Get Compensation even if You were Partially at Fault
Even if you were partially at fault for your accident, you may still be able to recover compensation. This is because some states follow a comparative negligence rule. Under this rule, your recovery will not be reduced by your own fault. However, it will be reduced by the percentage of fault that is attributed to you. For example, if you are found to be 20% at fault for your accident, your recovery will be reduced by 20%.
Call an Experienced Premises Liability Lawyer Today
If you have been injured in a premises liability accident, call The Injury Firm today. Our experienced premises liability lawyers will help you with every step of your case. We will investigate the accident, gather evidence, and build a strong case on your behalf. In addition, we will deal with the insurance companies and fight for the compensation that you deserve. Call us today to schedule a free consultation.
Premises Liability Lawyer Near Me
If you’re wondering where to find a premises liability lawyer near you, we can help. The Injury Law Firm has professional lawyers who handle these cases in many states and cities including Fort Lauderdale, Boston, Atlanta, and Louisville, and more. We will connect you with a lawyer in your area who can help you with your case. Call us today to get started.