Have you or a member of your family suffered an injury because a property owner failed to maintain his or her premises? If so, you are not alone. Unfortunately, accidents at businesses such as restaurants or resorts, public parks or even residences are quite common and result in many personal injury premises liability claims.
Slip Trip and Fall Accidents
The types of accidents we often associate with premises liability are slips, trips and falls at businesses, residences or in public areas. Sometimes these incidents involve falls due to snow and ice when walkways are not properly maintained. Other times it may be a slippery floor or an unseen obstruction that causes someone to trip.
Premises liability accidents are not limited to trips and falls of course. A whole myriad of accidents are caused by inadequate maintenance of premises, defective conditions on the premises, inadequate building security, faulty elevators or escalators, and many other types of dangerous situations that can cause injuries that result in a premises liability claim.
When trying to determine who is responsible for an injury at a business, residence or public area, there is some expectation that a visitor will exercise common sense in navigating around various hazards, however, an owner or occupant of the premise can be held legally responsible if they caused an unsafe condition or they knew or should have known that the condition existed.
A person or company that is responsible for a property must make an effort to routinely check walkways and stairs, conduct repairs, cleanup or remove hazards as needed within a reasonable time-frame to prevent injuries. If it is a place such as a parking garage, adequate light is expected to provide a certain level of security and enable users to see potential problems.
If you are uncertain whether an owner may be liable for your injury, there are questions you can ask:
If you slip and fall at a business, for example, was the floor in disrepair or was there a spill presenting a danger to visitors? Was the problem there long enough for the owner to know it existed? If the owner or operator was unaware, should they have known? There is an obligation on the part of the owner or occupant to conduct routine safety checks to ensure the safety of people visiting the establishment. A failure to do so may result in a finding of negligence.
If you trip over an object, resulting in a fall, was the object placed for a reason that no longer exists? Could the obstruction have been removed, covered or otherwise marked to make the area safe to navigate? Could adequate lighting have prevented the accident? The answers to these questions can help you decide if an owner or occupant of a premise might be responsible for your injury.
What about the visitor’s responsibility? Did they play a role in the accident?
Of course, a visitor who is injured at a business, public place or residence must be on the premises for a legitimate reason the owner could have anticipated. There is an expectation that visitors exercise common sense and act as any other reasonable person would in their shoes. Would a reasonable person have noticed and avoided the same slippery or dangerous area? Or did the visitor who was hurt ignore warning signs? Was the visitor using the premise in a normal way as opposed to acting in an unexpected, unauthorized or careless manner? Responsibility for an injury accident not only concerns an owner’s duty to keep the property safe, it also must take into account the actions of the visitor in relation to the expected use of the premise.
Contact an Experienced Premises Liability Lawyer
If you or a family member has been injured at a business, public area or a residence due to a property owner’s negligence, you have the right to pursue compensation for your injury. You may be entitled to reimbursement of your medical expenses, lost wages, and for your pain & suffering depending on the circumstances of your case. Contact the Des Moines slip and fall accident law firm of Marc Humphrey if you have been injured for a free consultation to determine what steps you should take if you have been hurt. Call today at 515-331-3510.