Property owners are legally obligated to keep guests who visit their land safe from dangerous conditions. That said, when a landowner fails to take precautions to keep their guests safe, they could be liable for any subsequent injuries.
When you are injured on someone else’s property, you will likely suffer physical injuries, incur medical expenses, and experience the long-term effects of the incident. Fortunately, an experienced personal injury attorney could help you move forward with your life by pursuing a compensation claim. Contact a Huntsville premises liability lawyer to discuss your options for financial recovery.
When Is a Landowner Liable for an Accident on Their Property?
When a landowner fails to maintain their premises and a guest suffers an injury, the landowner may be liable for compensating the guest. However, while Alabama law requires that property owners keep their land safe, injured victims cannot recover compensation when they are partially responsible for the incident.
Establishing liability for these incidents often depends on the type of guest the injured person was. For example, property owners only owe some visitors the same duty of care. Generally, there are three types of visitors: an invitee, a licensee, or a trespasser. The legal rules that apply to each type of visitor determine liability.
Property owners owe the utmost duty of care to an invitee—or someone on the property as a business guest. The owner must carefully inspect the property for dangerous conditions, fix hazards, and warn of risks they knew or should have known about. When you shop at a store, eat at a restaurant, or visit an office as a customer, you are usually an invitee and owed the utmost duty of care.
On the other hand, a licensee enters the land as a social guest or on public land. The property owner must correct and warn a licensee about potential dangers. A licensee is distinguishable from an invitee because licensees can only hold property owners responsible for risks they know of.
Lastly, landowners owe the lowest legal obligation to trespassers on their land. A trespasser includes anyone who goes onto someone’s land without permission. Landowners only have to keep their property safe if trespassers are typical or expected. For example, if the trespasser is a child, the landowner may still be liable in some situations under specific rules that apply to an attractive nuisance.
With the help of a knowledgeable attorney in Huntsville, an injured victim could establish what type of duty a landowner owed them and hold the negligent party liable for their losses. It’s essential you talk to an attorney who understands these rules. The rules related to premises liability cases are complex and these cases can be very difficult to win.
Examples of Premises Liability Cases
Common premises liability claims include the following:
- Swimming pool accidents
- Dog or animal bites
- Property maintenance issues
- Building collapses
- Defective decks, steps, or handrails
- Construction accidents
- Slip and fall accidents, usually in a retail store
- Trip and fall accidents
- Accidents due to building code violations
Premises liability cases can be challenging to litigate—especially when liability issues often arise. In some cases, there are multiple responsible parties. For example, when a building collapses, injured victims may be eligible for compensation from the property owner and the engineer or architect for their failure to maintain a building with a sound structure. Therefore, enlisting the help of a dedicated Huntsville attorney after a property accident is crucial.
Filing a Premises Liability Lawsuit
When a property owner’s negligence creates a dangerous situation on public or private property and someone suffers injuries, the landowner may be liable for the victim’s harm. In these cases, the victim can pursue a premises liability claim for the cost of past and future medical care, lost income, disabilities, and any other injury-related costs. Additionally, the plaintiff can seek noneconomic damages, which account for losses that are less easy to measure, like pain and suffering or other emotional trauma.
Under Alabama law, anyone seeking compensation for injuries caused by someone else’s negligence generally has only two years from the date of their injury to file a claim. It is also important to remember that contributory negligence laws in Alabama can prevent plaintiffs from recovering financial damages if they are responsible for their own injuries. In premises liability cases, contributory negligence often becomes an important issue. Landowners often allege the defect was open and obvious. It is essential you speak with someone who understands all these legal principles before you give any statements or take any steps with your claim. Fortunately, a diligent lawyer in Huntsville could ensure filing deadlines are met and fight to prove the property owner is responsible for the victim’s injuries.
Hire a Premises Liability Attorney in Huntsville Today
You could be entitled to damages when you or someone you love suffers injuries because a property owner failed to keep their land safe. A Huntsville premises liability lawyer can explain potential limitations to your claim and help you file a lawsuit for damages. Contact our office to set up a free consultation today.