Am I Eligible for a Premises Liability Case?

Tolbert Beadle

You might be walking into a store when suddenly you slip on a patch of ice outside the building, or maybe you are out shopping when you hurt your ankle stepping in a pothole in the parking lot. No matter where it happens the result is the same: the pain and suffering from an injury can change the course of your life forever. Worse yet, these injuries weren’t your fault. What are you supposed to do?

Property injuries are unfortunate circumstances, but taking legal action can help you to recover from your accident with the compensation you deserve. With the help of a trained premises liability lawyer, you can begin to get your life back on track and overcome the pain of your devastating injury.

Read on and out if a premises liability case is right for you.

What is premises liability?

Premises liability serves as an umbrella term for any injury that occurs on both private and public property. Slips and falls are very common in premises liability cases, but they are not all-inclusive of property injuries. Your specific case can vary dramatically depending on the circumstances surrounding your accident.

Your premises liability case may be caused by many injuries including:

  • Slips and falls
  • Dog bites
  • Fires
  • Toxic fumes or chemicals
  • Elevator/escalator accidents

Am I eligible for a premises liability claim?

Before you file a premises liability claim, consider these questions:

  • Did the property owner know about the hazard? If the property owner was aware of the hazard but did nothing to remove it, it can help to prove negligence. However, if there was no way they would have known about the hazard, they cannot be held responsible for your injury.
  • Did the property owner adequately inform you of the hazard? It’s possible that the owner of the property was not able to remove the hazard immediately, even if they were aware of it. In this case, they should have informed all guests on the property of the hazard by means like signs or verbal warnings. If proper warning was not given, they could be deemed negligent.
  • Could any reasonable person know about the hazard? If there is an obvious gaping hole in the ground it may be harder to prove that you didn’t see it there as you were walking. The defense will likely ask you about your behaviors and habits or whether you were acting in a way that would have put you in danger. If the accident puts you at some fault, you can still receive a portion of your settlement in relation to your percentage of fault.
  • What was your status on the property? There are three kinds of visitors you can have on your property: invitees, licensees and trespassers. Invitees are those who were invited onto your property, like friends or family. Licensees are visitors who have the right to visit but do so for their own purposes, like shopping. Last, a trespasser is someone who does not have the right to be on your property. Invitees and licensees are more likely to have a successful premises liability claim since they were allowed to be there, while trespassers may have a harder case to prove due to being on the property uninvited.

What is the statute of limitations on a premises liability case?

The second you become injured on someone’s property the clock starts ticking. From the day of your injury, you may have anywhere from one to six years to file your claim depending on your state’s statute of limitations. In Missouri you have five years to file a lawsuit, but in Arkansas you only have three years.  If you wait until the statute of limitations is up, you will not be able to file your claim. Be wary of waiting too long regardless of the statute of limitations — the longer you wait, the more likely that the court may disbelieve the severity of your injuries.

Begin by documenting your accident from the moment it happens. Take photos of the scene itself and any visible injuries you have sustained and file a report with the business or property owner. Seek out medical treatment immediately and file a police report if necessary. Even if you think it may be unimportant, keep every piece of information that relates to your accident. The smallest bits of information may end up being key pieces of evidence that help you prove your case.

If you’ve been the victim of a property injury you don’t need to suffer alone.

Contact Tolbert Beadle today. We have the knowledge and resources to help you win your case and receive compensation for your injury.