Premises Liability Lawyers & Slip and Fall Attorneys
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If you were injured on someone else’s property, you may wonder how to manage the medical bills, lost wages, and other losses that you are facing. It’s not fair that you have unexpected expenses as a result of a dangerous situation that could have been prevented if the property owner had been responsible. However, obtaining compensation can be complex. You will have to fight an insurance company or third party that will likely deny responsibility and may even try to blame you. To learn more about your rights after being hurt on someone else’s property, contact our premises liability lawyers at Belt & Bruner, P.C. via our online form or call 205-933-1500. We offer free initial consultations.
Property Owners’ Responsibility to Maintain their Premises
Alabama law requires property owners to take care of their property to keep visitors reasonably safe. When property owners, or sometimes the property managers, fail to adequately maintain the premises and you get hurt, that owner or manager may be liable for compensating you. However, being hurt on another person, business, or municipality’s property does not automatically make the property owner liable. There are a number of factors you must prove before you can obtain an insurance settlement or personal injury award in court. You may also have to fight back against accusations of contributory negligence. Under Alabama law, if you are in any way responsible for your injuries, you are barred from obtaining compensation.
Premises liability is a nuanced area of law. Whether a property owner or someone else is responsible for your injuries depends on a number of factors, including what type of visitor you were. Property owners do not owe the same level of care to all visitors, and they owe almost nothing to trespassers. If you were injured while on another person, business, or municipality’s property, you should speak with a premises liability attorney at Belt & Bruner, P.C. right away to determine your legal rights and options.
Alabama’s Premises Liability Laws
The duty of care a property owner owes you depends on your status as a visitor to their property. There are three general types of visitors:
You are an invitee when you are explicitly or implicitly invited onto the land, and you are there for a commercial endeavor that benefits both you and the property owner. Invitees are usually business customers or clients. You are an invitee when you go to the grocery store, eat out at a restaurant, or visit your physician.
Property owners owe you the highest duty of care when you are an invitee. They owner must consistently inspect the property, correct any hazards, and warn you against any possible dangers. The property owners may be responsible for your injuries if they failed to discover a danger they reasonably should have, failed to correct a known hazard, or failed to warn you about a hazard.
As a licensee, you enter another person, business, or municipality’s land by an explicit or implicit invitation, yet you are not there for commercial means. You are a licensee when you are a social guest at someone’s house. You may also be a licensee when you go onto public land, or private land with permission, for a recreational purpose.
A property owner’s duty to you as a licensee is lower than if you were an invitee. Owners must correct or warn against known issues. When you are an invitee, you can hold property owners responsible for hazards they reasonably should have known about. As a licensee, a mere social guest, you can only hold owners responsible for dangers they actually knew about.
You are a trespasser if you go onto another party’s land without their permission. You are a trespasser if you hunt on your neighbors land or use a homeowner’s private beach without their knowledge or consent.
Property owners owe very little to trespassers. They do not have to keep their property safe for people who do not have permission to be there. However, if property owners known trespassers are common, then they must warn of dangers they know about. Also, owners cannot set traps for trespassers.
That being said, property owners have a different and higher duty of care toward trespassing children. If a property owner knows or has reason to know children may come into their property, they have a responsibility to keep the premises safe.
Slip & Fall Cases
A common premises liability claim is a slip and fall. These claims often occur because of pooled liquids, snow, ice, spilled substances, debris, uneven floors, or poor lighting within a building or an outside walkway.
Slips and falls at a business while you are an invitee are common. For example, leaking windshield wiper fluid at an auto parts store could be difficult to see on the tile and cause you to slip and fall. If you were hurt because you slipped in a business’s property, call our slip and fall lawyers at Belt & Bruner, P.C. immediately. Slip and fall cases in Alabama require that you prove the owner had actual or constructive notice of the pooled liquid (or other defect) before you can obtain compensation. Your situation may require an in-depth investigation to determine if the business knew or should have known about the leak and whether they failed to uphold their duty of care, making them liable for compensating you.
Slips and falls can also occur when you are a social guest on another person or municipality’s property, such as at a birthday party or playing at a local park. There is a greater chance that the homeowner is not legally responsible for the issue when you are a licensee, yet there is no way to know until you obtain a slip and fall attorney’s experienced and objective opinion. For instance, if Alabama sees a rare snow and your hosts for the night do not clear their walkways, which causes you to slip and fall, they may be liable.
Other Common Premises Liability Claims
Slip and fall cases tend to be the ones to make the news, however you may have a valid premises liability case for another type of situation. Stair, deck, and balcony injuries are unfortunately common at business and residences. They tend to occur because of:
- Slippery substances
- Snow or ice
- Loose stairs or deck boards
- Uneven stairs
- Rotting stairs or deck boards
- Lack of or loose railings
If you feel down a stairwell or off of a balcony, you may have suffered significant injuries. We are here to investigate the situation, gather evidence, and provide you with an objective opinion about your best course of action. When you have a valid premises liability claim, we can guide you through the insurance claim or lawsuit process.
Another common premises liability claim is swimming pool injuries. Our liability lawyers have handled many cases in which a child or adult has been exposed to harmful chemicals, cut by sharp objects in or around a pool, harmed by inflatable pool accessories, electrocuted, or tripped due to a poorly maintained deck or pool structure.
Additionally, negligent security may lead to your being hurt somewhere you should have been safe. A property owner may be responsible for implementing security measures, such as locked doors, surveillance cameras, and security personnel. For instance, if you were injured in the common area of an apartment building, and there was no security in place to keep strangers out of the building, then the landlord may be responsible. However, you may have to prove that security measures were reasonably necessary. If you were injured in an assault and you believe there should have been better security, contact us today to discuss establishing a claim.
Premises Liability Compensation
If there is evidence to support your premises liability case, then we will discuss placing a value on your physical, psychological, and financial injuries. Certain damages are easily calculable, including the value of your:
- Medical costs
- Lost income
- Reduced earning capacity
- Property loss or damage
You also may have the right to compensation for:
- Physical pain
- Mental anguish
- Physical impairment
- Loss of quality of life
Our legal team can help you translate these non-economic injuries into a monetary value. There are numerous theories on how to do this. We can explain your options and the most appropriate one for your case.
Contact a Premises Liability Lawyer Today
Premises liability cases can be tough. However, you should never make assumptions about the strengths or weaknesses of your case until you speak with us at Belt & Bruner, P.C. We will listen to your story, ask questions to determine important facts, and then offer a knowledgeable opinion about what to do next. If we believe you have a valid claim, then we will begin an in-depth investigation to gather evidence on your behalf. With more facts at hand, we can begin the insurance process or premises liability lawsuit. Our goal will always be to obtain you the maximum compensation possible for your injuries.