When a personal injury occurs there is usually a reason why, and in some way a person or business that is responsible. Both public and private places need to be safe for people who spend time in the space, This applies to people who own property as well as those who run their business on a property they own or lease. This is commonly known as premise liability.
Businesses are generally covered for premises liability through their business insurance policies, and homeowners are covered through their homeowner’s insurance. There are many different scenarios that could lead someone to file a premises liability lawsuit. The most common is probably for slips and falls, but other things can prompt these lawsuits as well. Exposing visitors or neighbors to hazardous chemicals or dangerous equipment are also reasons why a business or individual may be sued.
The Extent of Responsibility
There are some instances when “freak accidents” actually do happen, and it is hard to hold one person responsible. There are also instances when someone is injured at someone else’s home or business simply because they were reckless and tried to use a portion of someone’s home or business in a way that it was not intended to be used. For example, someone who climbs on someone’s roof, jumps off, and sprains their ankle will not have a strong premise liability case. There is no reasonable expectation that someone would engage in this behavior at a person’s home or business, so there is not a necessity for a home or business owner to safeguard against injuries sustained from this behavior.
The owner or occupant of a property is liable for a premises to the extent that he or she must exercise “ordinary care.” They need to maintain the property and guard against dangers that are either natural — such as an icy sidewalk, or artificial, such as a wet floor that is being mopped. They should inspect the premise regularly and remove any dangers or warn others of them.
The owner doesn’t need to always know of an exact danger, the law calls for someone to have “constructive knowledge.” Performing regular inspections is how these risks can be limited.
If You Are Hurt
Being sued for premises liability is no picnic, but neither is being injured. If you are hurt at someone else’s home or business, and were not behaving in a reckless or unexpected way, there is a good chance that you may have a premises liability case. When this happens, it is important to get medical care as soon as possible, and keep good notes as to any pain, limitations, and inconveniences you are forced to endure due to the injury.
Once your immediate medical needs have been addressed, it is a good idea to speak with a personal injury attorney about the events that led up to your injury. Most personal injury attorneys will offer a consultation or case analysis for free. This helps them determine their chance of getting an award for that person. If they believe they can be successful, it is likely they will take the case, and accept payment from whatever settlement their client receives. If for some reason they don’t have a good case, they will often explain why they will not be able to represent that person.
Taking the Insurance Check
Insurance companies, whether the are used for a business or homeowners policy often try to limit the amount of coverage they have for premises liability. This is another place where a lawyer can often be of assistance. While they insurance company may look only at surface injuries, and expenses such as immediate hospital expenses, a lawyer is more likely to help the injured person and the insurance company involved to see the big picture. While there is no guarantee of receiving extra compensation for injuries, there is a greater likelihood that a person will get what they need to handle their bills and help them with upcoming bumps in the road that are fueled by their injury.
If you’ve been injured at a home or business, it is important to at least talk to a lawyer about your options and your potential for a good settlement.