Who has not ever been injured during a visit to someone? More than once have I slipped on my mother´s wet floors and ended up with a swollen ankle. No reasonable person would think to sue their mom for that, right?
However, it is quite different when you get injured while visiting a business, such as a shopping mall, or someone else´s home. Those injuries can be caused by wet floors, falling objects, defective elevators, broken steps, defective parking lots or sidewalks, dog bites, or any other dangerous conditions on the premises. If that is your case, a premise liability attorney can tell you if you have sufficient basis to initiate a lawsuit against the property owner or tenant.
Homeowners, public places, stores, event venues or malls, to mention a few, have a duty to pay reasonable care to ensure that visitors are reasonably protected from any harm. They have the legal obligation to keep the property in adequate conditions, do the needed repairs or explicitly warn the visitors of any dangerous conditions. This explains why more than once you have seen those bright cones or banners warning about “Wet Floor,” or homeowners posting signs that read “Beware of Dog.”
To sum up, if the owner or tenant knows of a condition on his property that may put visitors at risk of suffering any kind of injury but overlooks it and does nothing about it, he may be held liable if visitors get injured as a result of that neglected dangerous condition.
Did you get injured in someone else´s property? Here are the steps you should follow to be able to file a premises liability action:
- Seek immediate medical attention. You may barely have visible signs of injuries or directly none at all, but remember that many times injuries are not immediately visible, some symptoms even manifest only after weeks or months.
- Take instant photographs. Take photos while things are still exactly in the same condition they were when your accident occurred. Your cell phone´s camera will be enough to capture the dangerous condition that led to your injury.
- Collect any relevant evidence or information. If someone witnessed the accident, ask for his/her name and contact information. This person will be able to testify not only how the accident happened but also how the conditions that may have caused you accident were at that precise moment.
- Get hold of an incident or police report. If the accident occurred in a store, talk to the manager or security office and file a report. Ask for a copy of it. If the incident required police intervention, as an attack, file a report and get a copy of it. Try to get copies of all reports as soon as possible and before leaving the premises.
- Keep medical and expense bills. Depending on the case, you may be entitled to be reimbursed for them, as well as other damages resulting from the injury which your premise liability attorney will evaluate when filing the claim.
Finally, do not sign any document or come to an agreement with the owner, the owner´s insurance company or his attorney without consulting with your premise liability attorney.