What do you think will happen if you are injured while at a grocery store, restaurant, or on a public sidewalk? Should you report it? Can you hold the property owner accountable? Do you need a lawyer? These are all common questions we are asked at The Embry Law Firm. Our premises liability lawyer is here to provide some answers to these and others.
Simple Guide to Premises Liability Law
If you have been injured while on someone else’s property, you may have a premises liability claim, and may be entitled to compensation. But if you are like most people, you just don’t know where to start. That’s why we offer this simple guide to premises liability law.
What is Premises Liability?
There is a body of law called premises liability law. These laws detail the rights and responsibilities of property owners, as well as that of invited guests or customers. Property owners are required to maintain clean and safe conditions, and must keep their property free from hazardous conditions. Invitees (customers, friends, clients, etc.) are required to act with reasonable care and awareness.
Examples of Premises Liability Cases
There are many situations that may result in a premises liability claim. Some examples of common case types include:
- Slip and fall accidents
- Dog bites
- Workplace injuries
- Exposure to toxic chemicals
- Swimming pool accidents
- Elevator or escalator accidents
- Amusement park accidents
Limitations on Liability
Every state’s laws and guidelines for premises liability varies slightly. Some states, however, only allow certain visitors to file claims for compensation. In these states, property owners only have a duty of care to invitees or licensees, but not to trespassers. How you are classified could impact whether or not you can pursue compensation. The three classifications are:
- Invitee: You entered the property at the invitation of the property owner. This includes private property and areas that are open to the public.
- Licensee: You have express or implied permission to be on the property. This includes social guests, contractors, etc.
- Trespasser: You were unlawfully on the property when the accident occurred.
You Have the Burden of Proof
In order to recover compensation for a premises liability-related accident, you must prove your claims. That means you must prove:
- That the property owner (defendant) owned or occupied the property.
- That he or she was negligent or breached their duty of care to you.
- That you (plaintiff) were harmed as a result
- That the property owner’s negligence was a substantial factor in causing your injuries
- That you have suffered damages (injuries, medical expenses, lost income, etc.)
If you can prove these claims, you can pursue compensation.
There is a Deadline
In personal injury cases, including premises liability cases, there is a statute of limitations, meaning a deadline to file a lawsuit. In Georgia, the statute of limitations is two years from the date of the injury. While all states vary slightly, most observe a two-year statute of limitations of this type of case.
Damages in Premises Liability Claims
If you prove your claims and follow applicable laws and guidelines, you may be eligible to recover damages. Damages in a premises liability case may include:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity (disability)
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage
If you are filing a claim on behalf of a loved one who died in a premises liability accident, you can also recover compensation for their wrongful death.
It’s a Good Idea to Hire a Lawyer
Premises liability claims often involve a person who is injured at a business or on public property. This means that the victim is often up against businesspeople or companies which may have their own legal teams. It is beneficial to hire a premises liability lawyer who has experience with these cases. A skilled lawyer will know how the process works and what hurdles you may need to jump over before winning your case.
As you can see, premises liability law can be complicated. The good news is that you don’t have to move through your case alone. With the help of the right lawyer, you can get the compensation you need and deserve.
Interesting related article: “What is Liability?”