Have you or a loved one fallen victim to a property owner’s negligence? If you have, you might be facing mounting medical bills, and if your injuries are debilitating, the lack of income could be anxiety-inducing. Property owners who serve the public in the Tri-State Area must provide safe premises. If hazardous conditions cause an injury, the injured person might have grounds to file a premises liability lawsuit.
The property owner’s insurance company might try to blame you for your injuries, so it’s important to have experienced and aggressive legal representation to help you recover the maximum available compensation for medical expenses and other costs like lost wages.
Typical property hazards
Dangerous conditions on a property could include much more than slip, trip and fall hazards. You might be unable to get out a blocked fire exit, or you could be a victim of an assault or robbery while walking to your car in the parking lot. In any case, you should be able to expect property owners to have the necessary risk mitigation strategies in place to protect the public.
While you must take care to avoid obvious dangers that could cause you to slip or trip, the property owner is responsible for addressing the following problems in a timely manner to prevent accidents:
- Leaks, spills, drainage problems and weather conditions can leave wet surfaces.
- Floors with a polished or high-gloss finish are slippery.
- Holes, cracks and other disrepair on walking surfaces and frayed carpets are all trip hazards.
- Uneven surfaces and those that have unexpected changes in elevation can cause trips.
- Insufficient lighting in stairwells and walkways pose both slip and trip hazards.
If a property owner cannot address or repair any of these hazards immediately, there should be adequate warning signs in place.
Assault and robbery
A property owner must consider the potential for criminal activities based on the location and history of the area. Parking garages and outdoor parking lots can pose risks of assault and robbery. Following are important considerations in premises liability claims involving assault or robbery:
- Closed-circuit video monitoring, security cameras or security guards can help prevent assaults and also be used for the purposes of providing evidence of liability.
- Sufficient lighting in walkways and parking facilities is crucial.
- Property owners should adequately trim shrubs and trees in dangerous areas. Untrimmed foliage could be used as hiding places for perpetrators.
- An alarm system with 24-hour monitoring by a security firm or police can provide additional protection.
Fire and evacuation
In the event of a fire, bomb threat or any other emergency, ways of exiting the building should not present problems. A property owner could be held liable for not doing any of the following:
- Posting procedures and a floor plan for emergency evacuation
- Marking evacuation paths and emergency exits clearly and ensure they are free of obstructions
- Maintaining illuminated exit signs and other emergency lighting
- Keeping emergency exit doors unlocked and easily accessible
- Ensuring proper maintenance of fire detection devices and sprinkler systems in compliance with safety codes
Without clear evacuation routes, chaos can erupt in the event of an emergency.
How to seek recovery of damages
Where should you start seeking financial relief? The most logical step is to consult with an experienced premises liability attorney as soon as possible. A lawyer can assess the circumstances that led to your injuries and explain your legal options. With skilled legal guidance, you can pursue the financial compensation you need.