Suffer from an injury on another’s property? You may think there’s nothing you can do – but you’d be wrong. In fact, many injuries happen on others’ properties all the time, and those property owners often face consequences. Today, we will go over premises liability cases and what makes them special lawsuits for specific instances of injury that occur on another’s property. In short, at Lerner and Rowe Injury Attorneys, we are here to help you understand how premises liability cases work.
What Is a Premises Liability Case?
A premises liability case occurs usually when the plaintiff suffers an injury on the defendant’s property because of some negligent and unsafe condition the defendant knew or should have known about but did not remedy adequately.
What are some examples? Let’s say you walk into a store, and you slip and fall. There was no caution sign, and the slippery floor was in an area where the owner/manager should have known about it. You may have a premises liability case.
Or, perhaps you enter a construction site and stumble upon a defective piece of equipment. You may be eligible for compensation.
The fact is this: There is no single example of a premises liability case. That’s just not how premises liability cases work. Examples range from dog bites to amusement park accidents. But what do they all have in common? Well, all premises liability cases have certain elements that define them as such. The elements needed for a premises liability case are crucial to receiving compensation.
What Are the Elements Involved?
There are quite a few required elements before you can pursue a legitimate personal injury case. Briefly summarized, here is each element:
This is a key element upon which premises liability cases are based. Negligence means that: 1) the defendant had a duty of care, 2) the defendant failed to exercise their duty of care, 3) the plaintiff was harmed, and 4) the plaintiff’s injury is a result of the defendant’s failure to exercise reasonable care.
Essentially, this means that if a property owner knows or should have known about some reasonably unsafe condition, they must take appropriate steps to fix the problem. This also means that just because you suffer an injury on another’s property doesn’t necessarily mean the property owner was negligent. It could just be that you were the one acting in a way no reasonable or prudent person would.
In addition, just because there is an unsafe condition doesn’t mean the property owner is acting negligently, either. The key to negligence is proving that the property owner knew or should have known there was an unsafe condition on the property and that they failed to take action to fix it. Furthermore, sometimes a warning of the unsafe condition is sufficient; the owner may not be required to actually remedy the unsafe condition immediately.
Some states require that a property owner apply reasonable care to everyone that visits the property. In this case, ordinary negligence is the standard. However, some property owners may exercise different levels of reasonable care based on the status of the visitor, depending on state laws. When this is the case, the label of the plaintiff matters: invitee, licensee, or trespasser.
Invitee: An invitee is someone that is expected and allowed to visit the property for the purposes of the property owner. Examples include someone going to a mall, or someone attending a movie at a theater.
Licensee: A licensee is someone that is expected and allowed to visit the property for the purposes of the licensee. An example is a salesman. Licensees are typically owed a slightly lesser degree of care than invitees. A property owner must inform the licensee of any unsafe conditions they could not reasonably access on their own.
Trespasser: A trespasser is someone who visits a property but is unexpected and unwelcome. Usually, trespassers are owed no duty of care, unless the trespasser is a child. In that case, the property owner must ensure that no foreseeable harm comes to the child. Additionally, property owners may not act in a way to intentionally harm trespassers.
If you have questions about how your status affects your premises liability case, contact Lerner and Rowe Injury Attorneys for a free, no-obligation consultation.
Once you’ve proven that the defendant was, in fact, negligent, your compensation could be affected by the severity of your injury. Slight cuts will not garner you as much compensation as, say, a spinal injury.
Severity is judged based on several factors. One must consider, for example, your quality of life after the incident. If you will be able to return to work in a few weeks, the injury is probably not as severe as one that would cause you to never be able to work again.
Can you enjoy your life in the same way you could previously? Do you have to change your lifestyle in a drastic manner after the incident? What about the necessary medical bills and treatments? Will you recover from your injury? Answers to these questions ultimately help to determine the severity of your injury.
Usually, the amount of compensation received should correlate with the severity of the injury. You wouldn’t want to receive the compensation amount for a small bruise if you received a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), for instance. With Lerner and Rowe Injury Attorneys, you can be sure that we’ll fight for every penny you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation.
Summary of the Trial
If a premises liability case reaches trial, the plaintiff must present evidence that:
- The defendant had a duty of reasonable care.
- The care was breached.
- The plaintiff suffered injury.
- And, the breach of care significantly contributed to the injury.
These four things constitute negligence on behalf of the defendant. Once negligence is established, totals damages are calculated, and compensation should be awarded accordingly.
Of course, trials can be much more complicated than mentioned here. There are many complexities involved in premises liability law. You don’t want to navigate those treacherous waters yourself, so contact Lerner and Rowe Injury Attorneys if you suffer from a personal injury.
How State Law Can Influence Compensation Amounts
Now that you know the basics of a trial, you can also benefit from knowing how some state laws can influence how much compensation you receive. Ultimately, the type of negligence can impact the amount of compensation.
Comparative Negligence: This type of negligence means that if you are partially responsible for your injury, you won’t receive compensation for the amount of damage you were responsible for. As an example, if the total compensation is $10,000 and you are 10% responsible for your injury, you will only receive $9,000 since the defendant is only 90% responsible.
Contributory Negligence: With this type of negligence, you are likely to receive no compensation if you contributed to your injury. This category of negligence is being abandoned in many states, but it’s still important to know about it.
Have Questions on How Premises Liability Cases Work?
If someone acted negligently and in a way that injured you, contact Lerner and Rowe Injury Attorneys! Our offices are open from 8:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. However, there is always someone standing by and ready to take your call at 844-977-1900.
Additionally, you can get in touch with us via an online contact form or by taking advantage of our LiveChat feature. Consultations are free, and we don’t collect any fees until we win your case. So don’t wait; call Lerner and Rowe today!