When you’re injured on real estate that’s owned or occupied by somebody else, the law of premises liability applies. Most of the time people will think about a slip and fall or trip and fall in this context, but the law of premises liability contemplates any unsafe condition. The owner or occupier of a premises has a duty to take reasonable measures to keep their property in a safe condition. When they fail to do so, and somebody else is injured, both the owner and occupier can be held liable.
Just about every premises liability injury claim involves the law of negligence. To demonstrate negligence, the claimant must prove the following elements:
- The owner or occupier of the land where the accident occurred owed him or her a duty of care
- The owner or occupier of the land breached that duty
- The breach of that duty caused an accident
- The accident was the proximate cause of injuries to the claimant
- The claimant suffered legally recognized damages
If the claimant fails to prove any single one of these elements, his or her case fails in its entirety. That’s why a premises liability injury claimant needs to retain an experienced and respected personal injury attorney to stand at their side.
Types of premises liability accidents
Most premises liability cases involve the owners or occupiers of commercial or public property. Sometimes they also involve homeowners. Just a few examples of premises liability cases involve:
- Slips and trips from snow and ice accumulation
- Slips and trips in supermarkets
- Falling merchandise
- Elevator and escalator accidents
- Negligent security
- Swimming pool and trampoline accidents
- Fires and explosions
Some premises liability injuries are seen more often than others. Some of the more common injuries are:
- Fractures and dislocations
- Facial and dental injuries
- Traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries
- Electrical, thermal, or chemical burns
When a personal injury claimant proves all of the elements of negligence, he or she will be eligible for an award of damages as compensation for their losses. Those damages can consist of:
- Past and future medical bills
- Past and future lost earnings
- Any permanent disfigurement
- Any permanent disability
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of a normal life
- Funeral and burial expenses in the event of a wrongful death
In just about any premises liability case, the defendant is going to argue that the claimant wasn’t watching where he or she was going, was otherwise careless and negligent, and contributed to his or her own injuries. The defendant then asks that the comparative percentage of negligence of the claimant be deducted from any gross award. That’s called the law of comparative negligence.
Pure comparative negligence
There are modified comparative negligence states and pure comparative negligence states. New York is a pure comparative negligence state. In a modified comparative negligence state, if the claimant is determined to be 50 or 51 percent at fault for the accident, he or she is barred from any recovery at all. In a pure comparative negligence state like New York, a claimant can still be 90 percent at fault for an accident and still obtain a 10 percent recovery.
The statute of limitations
Every state has set a time period for when a personal injury lawsuit must be filed. That’s known as a statute of limitations. If a person claiming injury fails to file his or her lawsuit against the allegedly liable party within the period of time set by the statute of limitations, he or she will likely be forever barred from proceeding further. In New York, the general rule is that the statute of limitations claim on a personal injury case is three years from the date of the accident. Depending on who you want to sue, the statute of limitations could be as short as a year. Other notice provisions might apply as prerequisites to filing your lawsuit. That’s why it’s important for you to contact our offices right after being injured in an accident. When you retain us, we’ll protect that statute of limitations and any notice requirements for you.
But I can’t afford a high profile law firm to represent me
Indeed you can afford to retain us. First, we’re not going to charge you a penny for a consultation and case evaluation. Then if we decide to represent you, we get paid pursuant to a written contingency fee agreement. You don’t owe us any legal fees at all unless we obtain a settlement or verdict for you. There’s no reason to contact us after being injured in any type of accident.
Although most personal injury cases settle before a trial, we prepare every case in our office as if it will be going to trial. If there’s no threat of a trial, an insurer senses a lower case value. On the other hand, when an insurer sees that every detail of your case is thoroughly and seriously prepared and addressed, it becomes more realistic.
Evidence can get lost, destroyed, mishandled, or tampered with. Witnesses can disappear into thin air. Preserve and protect your case by contacting us right away after any accident at 855-252-3788. You can even use our online contact form, and somebody will be back with you shortly. The sooner that we can get started on your behalf, the better your case will be prepared and postured.