Imagine you are going to the grocery store for what you hope will be a quick trip. As you enter the store, though, you slip and fall, seriously injuring your arm and back.
If this sounds similar to an incident in which you were recently involved, then you should ask yourself a few questions to help you determine whether or not filing a premises liability claim is appropriate.
Was I permitted on the property?
To be liable for injuries on their property, property owners must owe a duty to the injured party. For instance, if you were trespassing or entering a prohibited area without permission then the property owner may not owe you a duty. However, if you were legally allowed or invited on the property, the property owner could be liable for any injuries.
Was there a hazardous condition?
In accordance with premises liability laws, a hazardous condition must exist and lead to injuries. A hazardous condition might be a wet floor, torn carpet, missing handrail or poor lighting in an hallway.
What did the property owner know and do about the hazardous condition?
If a property owner knows about (or should know about) a dangerous condition, then he or she has a duty to address it, whether that means clearing the hazard or putting up signs to alert others of a potential risk. If a property owner fails to take these steps for a known or foreseeable hazard, he or she can be liable if it causes an accident.
What are the damages?
If there are no damages resulting from a slip, trip or fall, then filing a legal claim would be unnecessary. However, do not dismiss your legal options because you assume there are no damages. Consider everything from physical injuries and mental anguish to having to miss work and the cost of seeing a doctor.
Discussing your options with an attorney
If you have considered these questions and feel you may have a legal claim, then you can discuss your options in more detail with an attorney. Even if you are unsure, speaking with a legal representative can be wise so that you understand your legal rights and the compensation that may be available.