What to do if You’re Injured on Someone Else’s Property?

Posted on behalf of Phillips Law Group on Dec 12, 2019 in Personal Injury

woman after fall down stairsIf you suffered an injury on someone else’s property, the owner may be liable because he or she failed to uphold a duty of care that was owed to you.

It is important to talk to a licensed attorney about the situation. He or she can help determine what to do next and whether there may be legal options for pursuing compensation for damages.

Below, learn more about premises liability claims and why it can be beneficial to have an attorney managing the claim for you. These cases can be complex and involve numerous factors that may need careful consideration.

Elements of a Premises Liability Claim

If you have a case and hire our attorneys to pursue it, we must prove several things to have a valid case. First, we need evidence the at-fault party owned, occupied or leased the property where you were injured. Once we establish ownership, we need to show the owner failed to keep the property in a safe condition for its intended use.

Proving a property was unsafe or had a dangerous condition is not enough. You must also show the unsafe condition resulted from negligence, which is a complex issue in a premises liability claim.

Negligence refers to the failure to uphold a duty to use reasonable care to keep the property safe for visitors. However, the definition of reasonable care can vary based on the legal classification of the injury victim at the time of the accident.  

Legal Status of the Visitor on the Property

Generally, there are three types of visitors to a property, based on their relationship with the owner and their reason for being on the property.

Invitee

You may not have heard the term invitee before, but you have likely been an invitee at some point. An invitee is often someone on the property for shopping or some other commercial reason. An invitee is on the property for the commercial benefit of the owner. A visitor on public property is also considered an invitee.

Property owners have a duty to make the property reasonably safe for invitees. The definition of reasonably safe depends on the situation. For example, the property owner may need to keep adequate security to help prevent visitors from being assaulted.

Licensee

These are people entering property for their own purpose and have express or implied permission to enter. One of the most common examples of a licensee is a guest you invited to your house. Salesmen are another example of a licensee. 

Generally, property owners are only required to warn licensees about conditions that unreasonably endanger their safety. This requirement does not apply if the owner is unaware of the condition or the licensee is likely to discover the problem.

Trespassers

They have no right to be on the property. Generally, property owners do not owe any duty of care to trespassers, except for a duty to avoid willfully trying to harm the trespasser. However, property owners owe child trespassers a duty to use reasonable to care to help prevent children from suffering an injury from an artificial condition, such as a swimming pool.

Insurance Claims for Premises Injuries

If you suffered an injury on another’s property, you may be able to pursue compensation through an insurance claim. For example, if you were injured at a friend’s house, you may be able to file a claim with his or her homeowner’s insurance policy. If the injury happened in a retail store, you may be able to file a claim with the property owner’s liability insurance policy.

Your attorney can examine the insurance policies that may apply to the property to determine if they may provide compensation for your injury. This includes reviewing policy limits and exclusions. For example, if you were injured by reckless or intentional behavior, it may not be covered by insurance.

If the insurance policy does not cover the full cost of your damages, your lawyer may be able to file a lawsuit to recover the rest of your damages. A lawsuit may also be necessary if the insurance company refuses to offer fair compensation.

Insurance companies often try to offer the least possible amount of compensation for claims. They may also look for ways to discredit victims or deny the claim altogether.

That is why they contact victims quickly to attempt to get them to agree to a settlement or make a recorded statement that helps discredit them and reduce the value of their claim. They know victims are vulnerable and may be tempted to take money that is offered.

Dangerous Conditions That Could Lead to Premises Liability Claims

There are many conditions on a property that could be dangerous and put visitors at risk for injury. If you were injured by one of these conditions, you may have a premises liability claim:

  • Broken or unstable railing on a staircase
  • Falling merchandise from store shelves
  • Gaps or cracks in sidewalk or asphalt
  • Bad lighting, particularly on uneven or bumpy terrain
  • Violations of building codes
  • Leaks that make floors wet or slippery
  • Poor maintenance of an elevator or escalator
  • Fires
  • Broken or defective furniture
  • Loose carpeting or floor tiles
  • Extension cords that are hidden from view
  • Lack of security guards
  • Failing to keep a dog behind a fence or on a leash

These and other conditions could cause slip and fall injuries or put visitors at risk for assault because of negligent security.

Injuries in premises liability claims may include the following:

  • Spinal cord damage
  • Sprains, such as sprained ankles, knees or wrists
  • Broken bones
  • Head injuries, including brain injuries
  • Severe bruising or lacerations

If you suffered these or any other injuries, you may be able to file a claim.

Contact Phillips Law Group to Discuss Your Claim

Proving a property owner is liable for a visitor’s injury can be complicated. A comprehensive investigation needs to be undertaken to gather evidence and determine if a legal duty was breached by the property owner.

The licensed Phoenix premises liability lawyers at Phillips Law Group are prepared to review your situation in a free, no-obligation legal consultation. If we find you have a case, there is no upfront fee for having us represent you.

Call Phillips Law Group today at 1-800-706-3000. No upfront fees or obligations.

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