If you are injured by slipping or tripping and falling because a property owner was careless, arrange at once to discuss your rights with an Indiana premises liability lawyer. If you sustain a slip-and-fall injury on someone else’s property, what are your rights? What is your recourse?
These questions will be answered in this brief introduction to slip-and-fall injuries, but the first thing you should know is that each case is unique, so you must seek personalized legal advice from an attorney who will explain how the law applies in your own situation.
What Does the Law Require?
Anyone could be seriously or even catastrophically injured by slipping on a wet floor, tripping on a pothole in a parking lot or a crack in a sidewalk, or being injured by property negligence in any other kind of accident.
By law, Indiana homeowners, landlords, and businesses must keep their properties “reasonably” free from any potential hazards to customers, employees, visitors, tenants, and the public at large.
A grocery store’s managers and staff, for instance, are legally obligated to keep aisles safe and floors dry for shoppers. Businesses have to repair cracks in their sidewalks and potholes in their parking lots. Other injuries on private properties include but are not limited to injuries caused by:
1. cluttered hallways, aisles, and walkways
2. curled-up carpets, rugs, or floor mats
3. ice or oil on sidewalks or pavement
4. old staircases, especially wooden staircase
5. poor lighting in staircases and parking lots
Can You Recover Compensation?
The law in this state entitles injury victims to recover compensation for their accident-related medical expenses, physical pain, mental suffering, lost income, and related damages if, for example:
1. The victim was injured on someone else’s private property.
2. The victim was injured because the property owner or occupant was negligent.
3. The victim and his or her Indiana slip-and-fall attorney can prove both #1 and #2.
After obtaining medical treatment, if you are a slip-and-fall injury victim, have an Indiana premises liability attorney explain your rights and discuss the best way for you to move forward. Make that call as soon as possible after you’ve been seen by a healthcare provider because the other side is already investigating the incident.
How Do Premises Liability Laws Work?
The word “reasonable” is found frequently whenever you read something about premises liability laws. A property owner cannot absolutely guarantee that no one will ever be injured on his or her property. The law seeks to protect both property owners and injury victims.
For example, if a hazard injures someone on private property, did the owner know that there was an unreasonably dangerous condition? Did he or she have enough time to schedule a repair or a clean-up? Could a warning sign have been posted, or could visitors have been warned of the problem in some other way?
The law tries to balance a property owner’s “reasonable” legal obligations with a visitor’s responsibility to be aware of his or her surroundings.
How Can You Prevail With Your Slip-and-Fall Injury Claim?
To succeed with your premises liability claim, you and your attorney must prove:
1. The property owner or occupant knew or should have known of the unreasonably dangerous condition.
2. The property owner or occupant should have expected that you would not realize the danger.
3. The property owner or occupant failed to use reasonable care to protect you.
If these circumstances existed, and if you and your attorney can prove it, the property owner or occupant will be held liable for your accident and personal injury.
How Can Property Owners Respond?
If you file a premises liability claim to seek compensation after a slip-and-fall injury, the property owner may dispute your claim and offer many defenses, including:
1. You weren’t watching where you were going.
2. You were a trespasser or you were in a location that is off-limits to visitors.
3. The hazard was clearly marked by warning signs and/or yellow cones.
4. A “reasonable” person would have noticed and avoided such an “obvious” danger.
How Are Most Slip-and Fall Cases Resolved?
Most slip-and-fall injury claims are settled privately and out-of-court before a trial begins. If your claim can’t be settled privately, your attorney may take your case to trial and ask a jury to decide if the property owner or occupant should be held liable for your accident and injury.
How Soon Should You Contact a Slip-and-Fall Attorney?
The deadline for taking legal action in Indiana after a slip-and-fall injury is two years from the date of the incident, but do not wait two years – don’t even wait two weeks – to discuss your case with an Indiana premises liability lawyer.
Your attorney will need to see the evidence while it’s fresh and interview any witnesses before their memories fade.
What Will Justice Cost?
Your initial consultation with an Indiana slip-and-fall attorney is offered with no cost or obligation. It’s your chance to learn how premises liability law applies in your own case and to obtain the personalized legal advice you need.
If you and your lawyer proceed with a premises liability claim, you will pay no retainer or attorney’s fee upfront. Premises liability lawyers represent injury victims on a contingent fee basis, so you’ll owe no attorney fee unless and until you obtain a settlement or a jury award.
If you have been injured because someone else was negligent, you have the right to compensation and you have the right to an experienced lawyer’s advice and services, but you are the only one who can take the first step – and make the call to an Indiana premises liability attorney.