Visiting your favorite place rarely comes with the thought of danger. As a society, going to other places outside of the home is expected and encouraged, but each time one enters another’s property, they are exposing themselves to injury due to negligent conditions of stairs, security, maintenance, and more.
Even though you can take extreme caution while visiting public spaces or someone else’s property, there is always the chance that you can make one misstep, one slip that can lead to serious injuries that will take months to recover from.
Don’t settle to deal with your injuries alone. Working with a premises liability lawyer is the first step to ensuring you are fighting for the full compensation your case is entitled to.
Call The Personal Injury Lawyers ™ today to schedule your initial consultation if you’ve been injured due to a property owner’s negligence. Setting up your initial appointment is easy. Give us a call today at 312-999-9990 or complete our online form to schedule your initial consultation.
Find a Premises Liability Attorney That Is Ready to Help
Finding the right attorney to tackle your case can be a daunting task. You want someone who is willing to represent you, analyze and be honest about your case, and fight for you in the courts if need be.
At The Personal Injury Lawyers ™, that is exactly what you will find when you choose to work with our team.
Our attorneys have decades of combined legal experience, especially when it comes to handling premises liability cases. Navigating the laws covering premises liability cases can be highly complex and will require expertise that is only found in an experienced premises liability attorney.
What Is Premises Liability?
Premises liability involves the risk that property owners face when they allow someone else to enter their property. When that visitor gets hurt, they can hold the property owner (or another responsible party) accountable for failing to protect them from hazards. This class of legal liability governs most personal injury claims that occurred while the victim was on someone else’s property.
While injuries on other people’s property happen, they are not as common as other homeowner insurance claims. From 2017-2021, roughly about 2.5% of all claims against homeowner insurance policies were filed against their liability coverage.
Nevertheless, when injuries do occur, they can involve substantial costs.
Premises liability law is put in place to distinguish eligibility to file for damages and who was negligent in the case that caused a visitor’s injuries.
Who Is Eligible to File a Premises Liability Claim?
Slips and falls, amusement park accidents, and being injured by a falling object can not only cause injuries, but they can make a significant impact on your ability to go about your day and, in the worst cases, for the rest of your life.
Knowing all the facts is one of the first steps to processing your claim. Most importantly, our team will determine if you were lawfully visiting the property, which was where you sustained your injuries.
One’s eligibility to file a premises liability claim depends on the visitor’s status when the accident occurred. There can be three different statuses, and one will apply to your case:
Each of these means that the victim was onsite for a specific reason and is one of the first pieces of information that your premises liability attorney will try to confirm as they develop your claim.
Note that not all states use this exact system, but these three statuses can help interpret premises liability law, regardless.
As an invitee, the property owner has taken on the duty to ensure that you will be reasonably safe while on their property. They have assumed liability the moment they invite you to step foot on their property. When you are an invitee at a property, you are these as:
- Public invitee — A customer at someone like a grocery store. They are presumed to be welcome in order to patronize the business. One enters a grocery store to shop for food and goods, and there are others doing the same thing.
- Business invitee — An example of this is when someone goes to a concert to see their favorite band. You are there for the property owner’s economic benefit; however, once the event is over, all business invitees must exit the property or become trespassers.
- Social guest — When one is over at a friend’s house for a birthday party, they are a social guest, present because of some kind of social occasion that can include pool parties, baptism celebrations, movie nights, and more.
Some states, like Illinois, don’t distinguish between invitees and licensees. Other states do, granting a lesser duty to protect the licensee under specific circumstances.
Unlike being an invitee, when you are a licensee on a property, you may assume most of the responsibility for your own safety. In this case, the property owner is only responsible for ensuring that they are not willingly hurting or creating dangerous situations for you.
They must also issue fair warnings for obvious hazards in public places like front walkways.
Visitors who are allowed to go hunting on someone’s property after receiving the property owner’s permission would be considered a licensee. They are on the property for their own purposes, not for the pleasure of the property owner.
Trespassing is illegal. If you enter someone else’s property without their permission, the property owner does not have many duties except to make sure that they do not intentionally hurt you once they realize you are trespassing on their property.
Property owners should know that children who trespass on property are treated differently in the eyes of the law. Although they were trespassing, any items onsite that are considered a nuisance hazard, like a pool, create liability to the property owner, even if they did not welcome the child to enter their property.
Property owners should take extra care to secure and make safe any nuisance hazards that they may have on their property. They must make sure to secure trampolines and place gates and fences to prevent access to their pool.
The Four Elements to Make a Solid Premises Liability Case
Accidents can happen anywhere, but that does not mean that you will have a premises liability case. There are four attributes that lead to a successful premises liability case:
- Duty — The property owner’s duty to you as their guest.
- Breach — How they negated their duty to keep you safe.
- Causation — What negligent acts did they commit to cause a breach of duty?
- Damages — What are the injuries that you sustained? And what other damages can you receive compensation for as per the facts of your case?
The Personal Injury Lawyers ™ will work towards gathering all the facts, like understanding why and whether you legally entered the property, whether the property owner was negligent in maintenance or failed to make needed repairs to a dangerous condition, how their negligence contributed to your injuries, and all damages associated with your case.
Possible Types of Compensation for a Premises Liability Claim
Filing a premises liability claim includes multiple damages that are more than just medical bills. Facing injury takes time and finances and can present complications on how one does their job or eligibility to reach promotions at their place of work. You can receive compensation to cover the following:
- Medical bills, past and future
- Lost wages from inability to work or time spent receiving care
- Future wages if you cannot continue earning the same income in your old line of work
- Pain and suffering, for any emotional distress caused by the situation
Premises Liability Claims Can Involve More Than Just a Slip and Fall
When people mention “premises liability,” slip and fall injuries are what quickly come to mind. But the reality is that premises liability covers a broader spectrum than that.
While falls are dangerous, there are also other types of harm you may suffer on someone’s property. If you have experienced an injury because of similar situations to these, there is a likelihood that your case falls under premises liability:
- Negligent security — Poorly lit areas, dim lights, and lack of security on site can lead to attacks on guests in shopping centers, apartment buildings, offices, and more. Additionally, property owners can be liable if they do not properly background check their security guards and they are the aggressors in an attack.
- Snow and ice accidents — Negligent acts can involve not shoveling snow and letting it pile up on a public walkway, creating dangerous walking conditions for guests.
- Dog bites or other animal attacks — Dog owners are responsible for any damages if their dog bites another person.
- Falling objects — improperly stocked shelves and racks can topple, creating hazardous conditions for those below.
- Swimming pool accidents — Improper pool maintenance can injure anyone who enters a pool. Additionally, property owners are liable if any drownings occur due to improperly maintained drains, slides, or diving boards.
- Playground accidents — Whether owned by a local HOA, a daycare facility, or the city, playground equipment must always be maintained to prevent injuries to the children who use it.
- Elevator and escalator accidents — All machinery must be maintained and receive certifications by the proper governmental authority to be safe to use. Keeping an elevator or escalator safe can prevent deadly accidents.
- Amusement park accidents — All rides must pass inspection often to prevent the risk of accidents and deaths.
- Electrical shocks and other hazards — Some properties involve unsafe chemicals, uninsulated electrical currents, and other types of exposure to hazardous environments or substances. Property owners must either remove these hazards, prevent access to them, or clearly mark dangerous areas while providing the needed guidelines for guests to ensure their own safety.
Who Can Be Named in a Premises Liability Claim?
Property sites where premises liability accidents happen are not limited to private residences. Any site open to the public, like a shopping mall or even the train station, is at risk of exposure if they do not maintain their properties properly.
Those who own their home know that they should have homeowners insurance with a liability clause just in case they need coverage if there is an injury onsite. Homeowners are responsible for making sure that their property is safe if someone were to come over.
Accidents can happen when it is least expected. So performing regular tasks like maintaining working lightbulbs, fixing a broken plank on your deck, or securing loose handrails to your upstairs are all good ideas.
Whether a large mall or commercial shopping center, these public places can expose visitors to dangerous hazards if property owners and managers do not address broken items within a reasonable time.
Property managers are responsible for making sure that the property is safe for all its guests. This includes tracking and seeing that repairs have been made or closing off areas to the public. Usually, they must complete periodic property inspections to identify any risky areas.
If a government agency is liable for your injuries, it is important to act quickly. Government agencies can have added complications when it comes to filing a claim that can elongate its process.
Using the state of Illinois as an example, the statute of limitations to file against a governmental agency or a governmental employee is only two years.
Property owners pay a monthly premium to make sure that they are covered if an incident on their property leads to an injury. As a result, insurance companies are on the hook when a premises liability claim is filed.
However, often, victims filing a premise liability claim watch insurance companies opt to delay payment or offer a significantly lower than expected. The insurance company’s initial offer of settlement usually does not cover damages.
At the end of it all, insurance companies must abide by the policy terms in which they have negotiated with the property owner and pay what is owed. Otherwise, they may be directly liable for the damages they are refusing to cover.
Hurt Employees Must File for Workers Compensation
Employees enter a property to work, but accidents can also happen there. Although the employee was hurt while on someone else’s property, their case typically falls under what is called Workers Compensation.
These cases are covered by separate laws and have their own requirements to file.
In rare cases, you may have separate claims against the property owner and the employer, especially if the employer does not own the site or if an outside company is responsible for its safe maintenance.
If you are unsure whether your claim falls under worker’s compensation or premises liability, speak to an attorney and let them review your case.
Injured? Start Working with a Premises Liability Lawyer Quickly
Premises liability claims are part of personal injury law, which means that there is a statute of limitations that applies. Starting to work with a legal team as soon as possible will help gather information, analyze evidence, develop your claim, and file for compensation.
Some states have an injury claim limit that is just two years — or even less. Two years may seem like adequate time, but this time can go by quickly as both parties are preparing and negotiating, and the victim is handling medical appointments in between.
Giving your legal team ample time to process your claim will ensure the best chance to receive the compensation your case deserves.
If You Were Hurt While on Someone Else’s Property, Call Our Premises Liability Law Firm
Entering someone else’s property should not come with added risks. Property owners are responsible for any maintenance and repairs that make their space safe for visitors — even family and friends.
Actively choosing not to make regular safety inspections and needed interventions is considered negligence, and property owners can be held liable for any injuries caused to others because of it.
If you were hurt on someone else’s property, you likely have a case to file a claim. Reach out to us today for a case review, and we will let you know how our team at The Personal Injury Lawyers ™ can help.
Call 312-999-9990, or you can submit our online form to get started.