Sometimes, a dangerous property condition can lead to a life-changing injury. If you’ve been hurt on another party’s property, you may be entitled to damages under the legal theory known as “premises liability.”
Premises liability is a legal concept that often comes into play in personal injury cases involving a defective or unsafe condition on someone else’s property. If you can prove your case, the responsible party will have to compensate you for damages.
But these cases can be complex legal matters in Alabama and not something you should take lightly. If you’re thinking about filing a personal injury claim based on premises liability, here are several questions you should ask.
What is Premises Liability Law in Alabama?
A majority of premises liability cases are based on the theory of negligence. This is important, because just simply being injured on another person’s property doesn’t necessarily mean that there was an unsafe condition present or that the property owner was negligent.
Your attorney will need to prove that the owner either ignored a condition that was unsafe or otherwise acted negligently. For negligence to exist, there must be several elements:
- A duty of care exists (ex. – a restaurant owner must avoid having slippery bathroom floors.)
- There was a breach of the duty (ex. – the bathroom floors were wet with no warning signs.)
- An accident occurred because of the breach. (ex. – you slipped and fell on the wet floor.)
- Your injuries directly resulted from the accident. (ex – you strained your back from the fall.)
How Many Different Types of Premises Liability Cases Are There?
A premises liability case can arise anytime a person is injured on another party’s property. This opens up a broad range of possibilities. Some of the most common types of these cases include:
- Slip and fall
- Dog bites and animal attacks
- Swimming pool accidents
- Ice and snow accidents
- Elevator and escalator accidents
- Amusement park accidents
- Toxic fume and chemical exposure
- Defective conditions on the premises
- Flooding and water leaks
- Assault due to inadequate security
- Inadequate maintenance on the property
- Missing or defective handrails on stairs
- Falling merchandise from shelving
- Poor lighting
- Uneven walkways, sidewalks, and parking lots
What Was the Nature of Your Visit to the Property?
Although all property owners should keep their premises safe, they don’t owe the same duty of care to everyone that steps foot on their land, in their home, or inside their business. The status of the visitors impacts how much responsibility the property owner might have if an injury occurs. There are three types of visitor roles:
- Invitee. This is someone who is “invited” onto the property for the express purpose of conducting business. It might be a customer entering a store or a plumber that goes to a home on a call. In these cases, the property owner owes the highest duty of care to this group.
- Licensee. This is an individual that has the property owner’s implied or expressed permission to enter the property. Examples are guests at a dinner party or electric company meter readers. The standard of care is lower, but if the property owner knows of hazards, they must correct them and give a warning.
- Trespasser. Property owners owe the lowest level of responsibility to this group, but aren’t permitted to set “traps.” When children are involved, the rules are different. Pools must have adequate fencing, and property owners must protect children from harm if they frequent the area.
What if Both Parties Were Partially at Fault?
Every state approaches this differently, and Alabama has one of the strictest doctrines in the nation (with regards to fault) known as contributory negligence. This rule states that, if you contributed to your accident (even just 1%), you would be completely barred from recovering damages from the at-fault party.
Because of this, it’s vital that you avoid discussing your accident with anyone and speak to a qualified personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
Fighting for the Rights You Deserve in Premises Liability Cases
If you or someone you love has been hurt on another party’s property, our best advice is to discuss your case with an experienced Alabama premises liability attorney right away. These cases can be difficult to prove, and insurance companies are not in the business of paying fair settlements to accident victims.
At Alsobrook Law Group, we promise to be your strongest legal advocate throughout this process. We will not only conduct an independent investigation of your accident; we will also take steps to protect evidence and secure the maximum compensation you need and deserve.
Contact our Opelika office today at 334-345-2765 to schedule your free consultation or stop by our office at your convenience.