Premises Liability Lawyer refers to the legal responsibility of landowners to provide safe environments for visitors, customers, and others who enter their property. When unsafe conditions lead to injuries or accidents, victims may have grounds to file premises liability claims and lawsuits against property owners.
Premises liability attorneys specialize in representing victims of slip-and-fall accidents, inadequate security, swimming pool injuries, dog bites, and other incidents that occur on someone else’s property due to unsafe premises.
Key Responsibilities of Premises Liability Attorneys
The key responsibilities of premises liability attorneys include:
Investigation and Evidence Gathering
- Thoroughly investigate accident details and evidence such as medical reports, photographs, video footage, eyewitness statements, and inspection records.
- Identify negligent actions like failure to fix hazards, inadequate lighting, lack of warning signs, insufficient security, etc.
- Determine liability by establishing the responsible party’s legal duty and how they breached said duty.
Demand Letters and Settlement Negotiations
- Send demand letters to insurance carriers negotiating fair settlement offers to cover medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, and other damages.
- Handle all communication and negotiate the most favorable terms for their injured client.
- File premises liability lawsuits in civil court against property owners if a settlement cannot be reached.
- Represent clients throughout the litigation process, including discovery, depositions, trial, and appeals if necessary.
- Present persuasive arguments before judges and juries to establish their client’s right to compensation.
|What They Do
|Represent injury victims harmed by unsafe property conditions due to owner negligence
|Slip/trip/fall victims, assault/crime victims, dog bite victims, swimming pool injury victims
|Investigate accidents, determine liability, negotiate settlements, file lawsuits if needed, represent clients in court
|Why Hire One
|Navigate complex legal process, establish liability, negotiate fair settlements, litigation experience if needed
|Typically work on contingency fee basis (33% to 40% of final settlement/award)
|Duty of care, breach of duty, causation, proof of damages
|Strict statutes of limitations – deadline 1 to 6 years to file claim
|Possible Damages Sought
|Medical costs, lost income, loss of future earnings, pain/suffering, wrongful death
Why Hire a Premises Liability Lawyer?
There are important reasons accident victims should hire a qualified premises liability attorney, including:
Complex Legal Process
- Navigating the laws around premises liability cases can be complex, requiring expert legal knowledge and navigation of nuanced regulations.
- An experienced lawyer handles the complicated multi-step legal process so clients can focus on recovery.
- Premises liability claims must definitively prove the property owner’s negligent or wrongful actions caused the victim’s injuries.
- Skilled lawyers methodically build strong cases proving liability based on accident circumstances and the owner’s legal responsibilities.
Settling Cases Effectively
- Premises liability claims often end in settlement agreements outside court.
- Lawyers effectively negotiate fair settlements that adequately cover the victim’s financial damages.
- If a reasonable settlement cannot be reached, seasoned lawyers have the litigation experience and strategic skills to effectively represent clients in court.
- This includes making opening statements, introducing evidence, questioning witnesses, and delivering closing arguments before juries.
Key Factors in Premises Liability Claims
Several important legal factors determine the merits and likely outcome of premises liability cases. Savvy plaintiffs’ lawyers carefully evaluate these details when deciding to take on a client’s case:
Establishing a Legal Duty of Care
- The first step is determining the property owner’s legal duty to provide safe conditions for visitors. Homeowners have this basic responsibility for house guests, while businesses owe customers and patrons a reasonably safe environment.
Breach of Duty
- Lawyers must then prove the property owner breached (failed in) that legal duty. For example, wet floors without warning signs, poor lighting in parking lots, aggressive dogs, etc.
Actual and Proximate Causation
- A direct connection must exist showing the owner’s negligence directly and proximately caused the victim’s injuries. For instance, low stair railings caused a fall down steps.
Damages and Injuries
- The victim must have definitive proof of damages and injuries attributed to the accident, such as medical records documenting treatment. Photographs, witness statements, and medical expert testimony provide crucial evidence.
When these criteria are met, skilled premises liability attorneys can build viable cases demanding compensation for their clients.
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Most Common Premises Liability Claims
Although premises liability may involve many types of accidents, most claims fall within several major categories:
Slip and Fall Accidents
Slip and falls make up over one-million emergency room visits each year. Common causes property owners are liable for include:
- Wet floors
- Uneven walking surfaces
- Poor lighting
- Lack of rails on stairs or steps
- Obstructed views
- Loose floorboards, tiles, or carpeting
Owners allowing dangerous conditions to exist can be liable when customers or tenants are victimized by criminals. For example:
- Assaults in poorly lit parking garages
- Kidnappings from properties lacking adequate access control
- Rapes at hotels with negligent key policies
Swimming Pool Accidents
Over 6,000 swimming pool-related hospitalizations occur annually. Typical causes include:
- Lack of fencing
- Absence of lifeguards
- Poor lighting
- Defective drains
- Insufficient anti-slip surfaces
Dog Bite Injuries
- Dog owners can be held liable when their pets bite or knock over visitors, even on their own property. However, the victim must prove the owner knew the dog had aggressive tendencies ahead of time.
Finding Qualified Premises Liability Lawyers
Choosing an experienced premises liability attorney to pursue compensation is critical after being injured on someone else’s property. Consider key factors like:
Seeking out lawyers concentrating specifically on premises liability rather than general personal injury provides focused legal knowledge and skill handling these cases.
Track Record of Results
Vet candidate attorneys thoroughly, confirming an established history of securing large financial settlements and jury verdicts for past premises liability clients.
Resources to Go to Trial
While most claims settle out of court, having seasoned litigators willing to go to trial puts pressure on resistant insurance carriers to offer fair settlements. Top firms have the financial resources for expert witnesses, evidence analysis, and other trial preparation expenses if needed.
Attorney Fee Structures
The best lawyers work on a contingency fee basis in premises liability cases, only collecting if compensation is awarded for their client. Typical contingent fees range from 33% to 40% of the final settlement or court award amount.
By selecting the right legal team, injury victims can pursue the best possible outcome providing the means to move forward after devastating accidents.
Frequently Asked Questions About Premises Liability Lawyer
Many common questions arise around pursuing premises liability cases and working with qualified lawyers. Below are answers to some often-asked questions:
What types of injuries lead to premises liability claims?
Premises liability claims stem from any event causing physical harm or wrongful death occurring because of unsafe property conditions. Typical injuries in these cases include spinal cord damage, broken bones, head or brain trauma, back injuries, burns, etc.
What legal recourse do I have if I’m partly at fault for my accident?
Most states follow comparative negligence rules, meaning injury victims contributing partially to their accidents can still recover some damages in premises liability suits. Their compensation amount gets reduced proportionally by their percentage of fault.
Is there a time limit to file my premises liability claim?
Yes. Strict statutes of limitations govern how long plaintiffs have to file personal injury lawsuits, typically 1 to 6 years depending on the state. Missing the deadline permanently bars legal action, so prompt attorney consultation is essential.
What damages can I seek through a premises liability lawsuit?
Beyond covering medical bills, plaintiffs can demand additional compensation for lost income, loss of future earning capacity, pain and suffering, emotional distress, and wrongful death expenses in fatality cases.
How much is my premises liability case worth?
Case value depends on accident circumstances, types of provable damages, insurance policies involved, location, responsible parties, and additional factors. Experienced premises liability lawyers thoroughly evaluate cases to determine fair value. Jury verdicts for premises cases often reach hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars.
Hiring a seasoned premises liability attorney ensures injury victims receive the best counsel and representation pursuing rightful compensation after accidents caused by unsafe building conditions or negligent property owners. Victims navigate complex legal processes, strong opposition from insurance defense lawyers, and strict deadlines without dedicated legal advocates on their side. Qualified attorneys have the premises liability expertise and legal resources to build viable cases, negotiate favorable settlements, and take cases to trial when offers fail to adequately cover damages suffered because of negligent property owners.