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Did you suffer an injury caused by a hazard on someone else’s property? If so, the Lake Charles personal injury attorneys at Veron, Bice, Palermo & Wilson, LLC can help.
When we leave our homes to go out into the world, we don’t think we are going to slip and fall in the produce aisle when shopping for groceries on a Tuesday. We don’t expect to be attacked by a neighbor’s dog as we walk past their property in the morning to grab our mail. We certainly don’t expect that the landlord of an apartment complex would ignore fixing the crack in the stairs that looks like a tripping hazard.
Yet, accidents related to these very scenarios happen all the time. What do all these accidents have in common? They are premises liability cases involving a property owner with little regard for public safety. If you are the victim of an accident in circumstances like these, you may be entitled to compensation.
At Veron, Bice, Palermo & Wilson, LLC, we have the experience and resources to hold negligent property owners responsible for failing to maintain a reasonably safe environment. If you or a loved one has been injured on someone else’s property, talk to an attorney with Veron, Bice, Palermo & Wilson, LLC about the circumstances of your accident. You may be able to recover compensation for your medical bills and time missed from work.
Contact the office of Veron, Bice, Palermo & Wilson, LLC at 337-800-8800 to schedule a no-obligation consultation today.
What Is Premises Liability?
Premises liability is a branch of the law that is meant to hold property owners responsible for unreasonably unsafe or dangerous conditions that exist on their property. These unsafe or dangerous conditions may result in an accident that causes an injury. Premises liability has a number of different legal applications, but it most often comes into play in personal injury lawsuits.
There is a misconception that premises liability means that if you fall or are injured on someone else’s property, they are automatically responsible for covering your injuries. That is not the case. People also assume that if an unsafe condition exists on a property, the owner is automatically negligent in maintaining their property and can be held accountable for any injuries that occurred as a result. That’s inaccurate, too.
Premises liability cases can be challenging because the law requires you to prove that certain characteristics exist. These characteristics include:
- An unreasonable dangerous condition exists on the property
- The owner/operator should have reasonably known that the condition existed and did nothing to remedy the situation
- An injury that resulted in damages took place
The burden of proving these characteristics is placed squarely on the victim’s shoulders. In some cases, it can be difficult to prove that an owner knew the unsafe condition existed. In order to avoid legal repercussions, an owner may claim that they had no idea that a dangerous condition was present on their property.
Securing the legal aid of an attorney is the best way to recover compensation in premises liability cases. An attorney has the experience and resources to conduct an investigation into the cause of the accident. A lawyer is also able to gather evidence that will help support a victim’s claim and demonstrate why maximum compensation is warranted.
Types of Premises Liability Cases We Handle
The most common premises liability case is the slip and fall accident. It is not uncommon to hear the terms “premises liability” and “slip and fall cases” used interchangeably. Yet, there are a number of types of personal injury cases that fall under the premises liability umbrella.
At Veron, Bice, Palermo & Wilson, LLC, we have experience working on a range of different cases that rely on premises liability as their backbone. These cases include:
- Slip and fall accidents
- Swimming pool accidents
- Amusement park accidents
- Elevator accidents
- Dog bites
- Lack of property maintenance
- Poor security
- Fire safety and building code violations
- Defective property conditions
- Unsafe stairways
The range of scenarios that can be considered under premises liability is extensive. Even a dog attack could be considered a premises liability case; a potentially dangerous animal may be on someone’s property.
Because the circumstances of cases can vary and premises liability can be applied broadly, it is best to consult with an experienced attorney about the specifics of your situation. If you’ve been injured on someone else’s property, you may have a case and not realize it. Consulting with an attorney is the easiest way to determine your rights and find out what all your legal options are.
Determining Who Is at Fault
Determining who is at fault in a premises liability accident is crucial. Louisiana, like many states, follows what is known as a comparative negligence model. A key component of the comparative negligence model is establishing fault among all the parties involved. Establishing fault will ultimately determine the amount of damage payout a victim may recover.
As a victim, you want to hold a negligent property owner responsible for not properly maintaining their premises. However, as a property owner, you want to limit your responsibility for the accident and place the majority of the blame on the victim for not paying attention or exercising reasonable caution.
Why does this back and forth matter? Under a comparative negligence model, the amount of damages recoverable for an accident is proportional to the percentage of negligence attributed to the person filing the claim. If a jury examines the facts of a case and finds that the property owner was negligent, but that the victim was also partially to blame because they were on their phone and not paying attention to their surroundings, the victim’s compensation will be impacted.
The property owner may be considered 70 percent to blame, but the victim was also 30 percent to blame for the accident taking place. The victim is entitled to the total amount of damages minus 30 percent. For example, if the total amount of damages is found to be $100,000, the property owner will only be responsible for compensating the victim $70,000.
Under this rule, it is important to make sure you have a knowledgeable and experienced lawyer on your side. A skilled attorney will review all the evidence and circumstances surrounding your case, and help mitigate arguments by the property owner that you are more at fault for the accident than they are. Building a solid case is essential to helping you recover the maximum amount of compensation that you are due.
Louisiana Statute of Limitations
The state of Louisiana has a strict deadline for those wishing to pursue a premises liability case. The statute of limitations for most personal injury cases is one year. That means that any lawsuit for an injury must be filed within one year of the date the accident took place. If you slip and fall because of dangerous conditions on someone’s property, the clock starts running the second you hit the pavement.
Unfortunately, what can happen in some situations is that an injured party may try to work with the property owner’s insurance company in order to receive compensation. While you are waiting on a settlement, the clock is still ticking. If the settlement falls through or the terms are unreasonable, you may not have enough time to file a lawsuit.
Talking with a skilled attorney after an accident on someone else’s property is the best way to make sure your rights are being protected. An attorney will be able to guide you through your legal options and help you decide which path is right for you.
Not only can an attorney file a lawsuit on your behalf, but an attorney is also able to negotiate with an insurance company to make sure you are getting the full compensation you deserve. No matter which solution fits your situation, an attorney can make sure you are getting what you are entitled to following an accident.
How an Experienced Premises Liability Attorney Can Help
When turning a blind eye to hazards and safety concerns leads to a serious accident, the team at Veron, Bice, Palermo & Wilson, LLC is ready to help. Sometimes holding a negligent property owner responsible for their actions is the only way to protect others and prevent another accident from happening. By consulting with an attorney and pursuing legal action, you may be saving others from suffering a traumatic accident. Take action today and recover the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
If you have been seriously injured in an accident on someone else’s property, the team at Veron, Bice, Palermo & Wilson, LLC is ready to protect your rights and fight to make sure you get the compensation you deserve. Contact our office today at 337-800-8800 to schedule a consultation.