From broken elevators without warning signs to faulty fire suppression systems and untrained aggressive dogs, you might encounter any one of numerous hazards stepping outside your home. Fortunately, property owners and businesses are responsible for maintaining reasonably safe premises for employees, tenants, and visitors. This reduces the risk of accidents and promotes public safety.
Unfortunately, some property owners and managers do not uphold this responsibility, which is also known as a duty of care. As a result of their negligence, visitors, tenants, or staff might suffer injuries or illnesses. Depending on the nature of the hazard and ensuing accident, victims’ injuries can vary widely in nature and severity, from cuts and bruises to traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), paralysis, respiratory disease, cancer, and even death.
These injuries may require weeks, months, or even years of recovery time and have long-lasting, sometimes permanent effects, from post-traumatic stress and anxiety to physical disabilities. On top of the emotional and physical toll of such injuries and illnesses, victims may struggle to maintain financial stability in the face of mounting medical bills. This financial strain can be compounded by lost wages, and if a victim cannot return to their previous position, reduced earning capacity.
Premises liability is a division of personal injury law. What a premises liability lawyer does is help victims who are injured or fall ill because of dangerous or defective conditions that result from a property owner’s negligence.
When a property owner fails to uphold their duty of care to maintain a safe, secure environment, they could be held liable for any accidents that occur. Premises liability lawyers work to hold property owners responsible for their actions and assist victims in recovering just financial compensation for their losses.
Most Common Types of Premises Liability Claims
Various hazards can be grounds for a premises liability lawsuit. At the core of most is a property owners’ failure to take reasonable steps to prevent an accident. For instance, while a property owner might not be able to repair a broken elevator immediately, they could prevent people from using it by blocking the doors and posting a warning sign.
They should also maintain essential systems, such as security and fire suppression systems, to reduce the risk of a potentially serious incident.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that almost 30 million emergency room visits result from accidental injuries each year.
Property owners can include homeowners as well as companies.
The most common types of premises liability lawsuits are:
- Slip and fall hazards
- Snow and ice hazards
- Inadequate maintenance
- Insufficient security
- Defective escalators or elevators
- Water leaks or flooding
- Porch, patio, or stair collapse
- Dog bites or attacks
- Defective conditions, including an unstable ceiling or walls
- Toxic fumes or chemicals improperly contained or removed
- Unsafe swimming pool or spa area
- Faulty amusement park rides
This list is not comprehensive. A premises liability lawyer can help you identify the best method of seeking compensation depending on the details of your situation.
What Premises Liability Lawyers Do
When you suffer an injury or illness because of a hazard at someone else’s home, business, or construction site, you must prove the property owner was responsible, or liable, for the incident if you are seeking compensation. Sometimes, this is straightforward to establish, but in some cases, it can be complicated.
You must prove the property owner was aware of the hazard or that it is reasonable to expect they should have known about it. You must also prove they did not act appropriately to mitigate the danger. And you must establish that your injuries or illness are a direct result of the incident.
Furthermore, you must prove the property owner owes you a duty of care. This can vary from state to state. In some areas, property owners are not liable if the injured party was trespassing.
For example, the Supreme Court of California ruled property owners owe a duty of care to anyone on their land, regardless of status. Later, after Calvillo-Silva v. Home Grocery, the California Legislature enacted a statute that restored partial immunity for property owners to protect from certain types of lawsuits trespassers can bring.
Even if you have substantial evidence to prove the property owner’s negligence and the cause of your injuries, as well as your legal right to a duty of care, seeking compensation for your illness or injury could involve a time-consuming, intricate process.
In some cases, you will seek compensation from the property owner’s insurance company. However, in others, you may need to file a personal injury lawsuit against them in civil court. Typically, the latter applies if a property owner does not have the appropriate insurance coverage, or the insurance payout is not sufficient to cover the full scope of your losses.
A premises liability lawyer can guide you through the process. Some things a premises liability lawyer can do to support you are:
- Conduct an independent investigation to verify how and why the incident occurred
- Demonstrate the circumstances surrounding the incident, including the property owner’s negligence
- Prove the property owner is at fault
- Build a case based on the details of the situation
- Design a strategy to seek compensation on your behalf
- Communicate and negotiate with insurance companies, the defendant, and other legal representatives
- Represent you in a civil court of law, if necessary
- Update you throughout the process about the progress of your case
- Answer any questions you have
Get in Touch with a Premises Liability Lawyer
In the aftermath of an accident, recovery should be your priority. However, once you have received medical care and feel well enough to do so, consider contacting a premises liability lawyer to see what they can do for you. You do not have to go through this challenging period alone.
The attorneys at Pintas & Mullins Law Firm might be able to support you in seeking just compensation to help you pay for medical bills and make up for lost wages and reduced earning capacity resulting from your injuries or illness. Contact us at (800) 223-5115 to schedule a free consultation with a member of the team.