Premises liability is a term used to describe a landowner’s or store owner’s fault for someone’s injuries, when an injury such as a fall occurs due to a dangerous condition on the property. The unsafe condition could be a liquid or a defect that was in existence for an extended period of time. When a serious injury occurs, a premises liability lawyer may be able to advise the injured party whether a claim exists and should be pursued.
Examples of premises liability I have handled include the following:
I represented an employee at an office building. My client tripped and fell due to a raised, uneven, and unsafe lobby entryway, which resulted in shoulder dislocation, which required surgery, massive rotator cuff arthroscopy and acromioplasty. Investigation and discovery during the litigation revealed that the building’s property manager knew about several other prior trip and falls resulting in injuries. Although the property manager knew about the tripping hazard, no repairs were undertaken. The lawsuit against the building owner was settled with its insurance carrier. The proper repairs were done and the building entry was made safe for visitors.
In another case my client stepped into an aisle of a grocery store that had just been mopped. The store typically started to mop store aisles, before closing. Wet floor signs were not put up, the aisle had not been blocked off. The store also had a shortage of wet floor signs. My client fell and sustained a fractured femur, requiring implantation of hardware.
Another case involving a dangerous condition that resulted in serious injuries concerned an unpaved construction trench which crossed a city street. The trench was part of an ongoing construction project. My client was a passenger in a golf cart which proceeded over the trench. After going over the trench the front wheels of the golf cart rolled over, my client was thrown to the pavement. My client sustained serious injuries, including neck and arm and dental fractures. The city, general contractor and subcontractor were all held responsible for the unsafe and dangerous condition.
Each person’s injury claim is different and unique. Many factors are considered, when trying to evaluate fair and reasonable compensation for damages for the injured party.
What are the injuries? How long have the symptoms lasted? Will there be a permanent injury? What is the injured person’s life expectancy? How have the injuries affected the injured person’s activities, employment, marital, or family life and his or her quality and enjoyment of life? Lost income and medical bills since the injury, and for the future must be considered.
Generally, claims are either settled, before or after a lawsuit is filed, otherwise the amount of fair and reasonable damages is determined by jury or arbitrator. A premises liability lawyer should be consulted as soon as possible after serious injuries result from an unsafe, or dangerous condition.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Law Offices of Paul Englander, PLC for their insight into premise liability.