Owners of houses, stores, apartment buildings, and other properties are expected to have visitors to their property at some point. Especially for businesses, who continue to run because customers come in the door, having guests is often the purpose of a piece of property. When the owners of these premises allow their property to become unsafe for guests, or fail to warn about hidden dangers on their lands, people get hurt.
These kinds of injuries are often the basis of a lawsuit against these negligent property owners. Even something as seemingly simple as a slip and fall can cause surprisingly serious injuries. More serious falls and injuries from improperly maintained steps, hand railings, hanging objects, or even dilapidated floors and ceilings, can be extremely severe.
If you have been injured because of someone else’s dangerous, unmaintained property, you do not need to accept those injuries and move on. Injuries caused by someone else’s failures can be compensated by a court. In Baltimore, you can contact the experienced personal injury attorneys at Bennett and Heyman, P.A., to talk to them about your case.
Premises Injuries Require Proving Negligence
In order to prove that the owner of a property is responsible for your injuries, you need to prove to a jury that the property owner is “negligent.” This requires, in any negligence case, proving four elements:
- The property owner owed a duty to the injured party,
- The property owner breached that duty,
- The breach caused the injuries, and
- The injured party suffered some harm that can be compensated by a court (called “damages”).
In a premises liability case, this means proving that the property owner needed to do something that they did not do, and because they did not do it, you were hurt.
The “duty” in a premises liability case describes what the property owner should have done to prevent harm. For home owners, this means doing things like clearing sidewalks of snow and ice and making sure tree roots and holes on their property are not tripping hazards. For store owners, this means cleaning up spills (or at least putting a “Caution: Wet Floor” sign down). For any property owner, this also means making sure that hanging objects, hand rails, steps, floors, and ceilings are all structurally sound and reasonably safe.
The general way that this duty is described is as a duty to repair or warn of hidden dangers on the property. Anything that causes a risk of injury that visitors to your property might not see needs to be made safe. Alternatively, a clear warning of the danger is usually enough, such as a caution sign that the floor is slippery.
Many places have signs that warn that the premises are for use “at your own risk.” These kinds of signs do not automatically protect those property owners from liability, though.
Compensation May be Available for your Injuries
The party who was responsible for your injuries can be made to pay you for the harm that they have done. This usually requires taking them to court, which is the most successful when you hire an attorney to handle your case.
If you face medical bills because of your injuries, a court can award you the money to pay for your care. Everything from the cost of hospital stays, surgery, and ambulance rides to X-Rays, MRIs, and other tests is all available. You can even recover the costs of physical therapy.
If you have to miss work because of your injuries, or if you are no longer able to work, you can recover lost wages from the party responsible for your injuries. If your injuries were severe enough to prevent you from returning to your job, or you had to take a lower-paying job, you can recover money because of that, as well.
Premises liability can cause surprisingly severe injuries. Falls can hurt your neck, back, or head and cause long-term injuries. Other falls may cause broken bones, and for the elderly or handicapped, those can be very severe.
Any injuries you face cause pain and mental suffering. Though money can never make up for pain and suffering like it can for medical bills or lost wages, courts are still willing to award these damages. In Maryland, there are limits to how much you can recover. Talking to an attorney about your case can help you understand how much you your case might be worth.
Insurance Might Not Cover Enough
Many homeowners and business owners are protected by insurance for these exact situations. That means that they pay an insurance company monthly so that when someone is injured on their property, the insurance company will pay for their injuries.
Do not feel bad about suing a home or small business owner for your injuries. When you sue these groups, their attorney is often provided by the insurance company, and it is ultimately the insurance company that will pay for your injuries.
Insurance companies do their best to reduce the amount they will ultimately have to pay. That means they will make low offers to try to get you to settle the case without going to court. While these offers might seem like a lot of money, you should always check with an experienced attorney before accepting any offers to settle. The average person does not have a good idea of how much a personal injury case, or even any particular injury, is worth in a personal injury suit.
Sometimes these settlement offers do not include money for pain and suffering or lost wages, and the only way you can convince the insurance company to pay for these is by taking them to court.
Experienced Premises Liability Attorneys Are Available
Bennett and Heyman, P.A., has Baltimore personal injury attorneys on staff, some of which have almost 50 years of experience helping clients with their injury cases.
If you or a loved one needs to speak to an attorney about an injury received on someone else’s property, call us today. Act fast, though, because your case might have deadlines attached. Call us at (410) 429-7856.