Anyone who is the owner of a home, a business, or any other private property has a legal responsibility to keep that property safe for visitors. What does that responsibility entail? If you are a business or property owner, you need to protect yourself. Can a Fresno premises liability attorney help?
When a visitor is injured at a business or any other private property, if the reason for the injury turns out to be negligence on the part of the property or business owner, that owner can be held liable and financially accountable for the injured visitor’s medical expenses, lost wages, and more.
WHAT ARE THE RIGHTS OF THE VICTIMS OF NEGLIGENCE?
The injured victims of negligence in this state are entitled by law to complete compensation for their injury-related losses.
Your personal injury lawyer will negotiate for the maximum available compensation amount, and if necessary, your attorney will take your case to trial and ask a jury for the compensation you need and the justice you deserve.
If you are a business owner, what precautions do you need to take to protect yourself from a personal injury lawsuit? Let’s say that a shopper, a delivery driver, or some other visitor slips and falls at your property and suffers an injury.
WHAT CAUSES SLIP-AND-FALL INJURIES?
Slip-and-fall incidents may cause back and neck injuries, torn ligaments, and broken bones. Slip-and-fall injuries may be the result of spilled or leaking liquid, torn or curled carpeting, poor lighting, or cluttered and obstructed walkways.
Business owners are legally obligated to clean up spilled liquids quickly and to mark or block off the area until it is safe. Steps and curbs must be clearly visible. Aisles and walkways must be free of obstacles.
Whether you own a business, a home, or another property, uneven and cracked sidewalks, loose carpeting, and broken windows are hazards that need to be addressed. If an injury occurs because a maintenance issue was ignored, the owner can be held liable and ordered to pay damages.
Property owners are also obligated to make a property’s visitors reasonably safe and secure. If a visitor becomes the victim of a crime on private property, in some cases the owner may have liability.
Whether the need is for better lighting, alarm systems, or paid security guards, if crime is a potential concern, a property owner must take reasonable steps to protect the property’s visitors.
WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO PREVAIL WITH A PREMISES LIABILITY CLAIM?
To win an injury claim against an owner of private property, the injured victim and the victim’s accident lawyer must prove that:
1. The owner knew (or should have known) about a hazard on the property.
2. The owner did not inspect or maintain the property adequately.
3. The hazard on the property was a direct cause of the visitor’s injury.
4. The visitor suffered quantifiable damages because of the accident.
A property owner who is the subject of a liability claim may allege that no hazard existed, that he or she did not have any prior knowledge regarding the threat, or that no warning was required because the danger was clear and obvious to everyone.
An owner might also insist that the visitor’s injury didn’t actually happen on the property or that it occurred in an area of the property where no visitors or customers are allowed.
IF YOU SUFFER A SLIP-AND-FALL INJURY, WHAT STEPS MUST YOU TAKE?
If you’re the victim of a slip-and-fall injury, take photos of the scene or have someone take them for you. Determine if there is any video of the incident. Hold onto the clothes and shoes you were wearing because they might be evidence.
Get medical help immediately when a slip-and-fall injury occurs. That is the absolute first priority. Report the injury to the management or property owner, and get whatever details you can regarding the property owner’s liability insurance.
Most retailers, hotels, restaurants, and amusement parks will provide injury victims with a pre-printed accident report form. Make sure that when you’ve completed it, you get a copy before you return it to the property’s owner or manager.
WHAT SHOULD YOU SAY ABOUT YOUR INJURY?
When you fill out an accident report form or speak with anyone immediately after the incident, stay with the facts and keep it short, because what you say could be twisted and used against you.
When you seek medical attention and report the injury, you’re creating the necessary documents and building your credibility. You’ll be in a good position to take legal action if it becomes necessary.
Make copies of all of the medical bills and paperwork, the accident report form, and the other documents or paperwork related to your injury, and store those documents securely.
HOW WILL A PREMISES LIABILITY LAWYER HELP YOU?
After you’ve been seen by a healthcare professional and you’ve reported the incident, immediately take your case to an experienced Fresno premises liability attorney.
Your attorney can determine if a property owner is liable for your personal injury or injuries. If so, your lawyer will help you recover the compensation that you’re entitled to for your medical costs, lost income, personal pain and suffering, and all related losses and damages.
A property owner’s liability insurer may contact you after you’ve been injured. Don’t even speak with the insurance company’s representative – refer the insurance company to your attorney.
California’s premises liability lawyers are skilled negotiators who negotiate routinely with insurance companies. In most cases, your attorney will reach a negotiated settlement with the property owner’s insurance company.
HOW SOON WILL YOU NEED TO SPEAK TO AN ATTORNEY?
In some rare cases, if no reasonable settlement offer is made in the private negotiations, your attorney may recommend taking your premises liability case to trial and asking a jury to award you the compensation you need.
The state of California gives injury victims two years from the injury date to take legal action against any negligent party who may be liable. The statute of limitations expires after two years, and beyond that time, you will not be able to take legal action or receive compensation.
You can’t wait for two years, however. Evidence deteriorates, and the memories of the witnesses may fade quickly. Don’t even wait ten days to seek a lawyer’s help after you’ve been injured by the negligence of a property owner. Take the case to a premises liability lawyer right away.
Most premises liability attorneys provide the injured victims of negligence with a free first consultation, so it will cost you nothing to learn more about your rights and where you stand legally.
In California, injury victims have rights. If you’ve been injured because a property owner was negligent, get an attorney’s help, take the first step, make the call, and exercise your rights.