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Premises Liability: Injured on the Property of Another Person?

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When visiting a private property or a business as a guest or customer, everyone has the right to feel protected. These properties’ owners, landlords, or property managers owe it to their visitors to take the required procedures and safeguards to keep them safe while on the premises. The Law Office of Dakota Low in OKC will assist you if you have been injured in a slip, trip, or fall, or if another accident has caused you pain. We’ve created a reputation in Oklahoma for standing up for those who have been wronged by others’ negligence, and we’re ready to fight for you.

Owners of commercial or private property are responsible for inspecting the premises and repairing any excessive threats to visitors, and if they fail to do so, they may be held liable for any accidents that occur. This legal responsibility for the safety of guests is known as premises liability, and it covers a wide range of locations in and around a home, from stairwells to damaged floorboards.

If property owners fail to maintain a safe atmosphere, private residences and businesses can pose a range of risks to visitors and patrons. When property owners willfully disregard faults or neglect to repair or replace any facilities, they are endangering the lives of innocent individuals. If you or someone you care about has been injured as a result of a property owner’s negligence or recklessness, it’s time to hold them accountable. Fortunately, you have legal choices, and The Law Office of Dakota Low in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, is on your side. Take the first step toward protecting your rights and moving on with your life by calling 405.601.8899 today.

Why Should You Choose Dakota Low?

Personal injury lawsuits, in general, and premises liability claims in particular, can be exceedingly complicated and time-consuming, especially when dealing with insurance companies and the defendant’s legal counsel. Our team of six attorneys has over 130 years of combined experience handling these types of matters, and we take pride in treating each case with the attention and dedication it deserves, as if it were our only one.

The Law Office of Dakota Low are not only experienced, professional, and aggressive in their pursuit of getting our clients the financial compensation they deserve, but they are also dedicated to helping the community in a variety of ways, including pro bono legal representation for children and assisting in the provision of healthcare to low-income individuals. Call us today to discuss your legal rights and choices with one of our legal representatives.

Types of Cases We Work With

Visitors, customers, contractors, construction workers, and anyone else welcomed onto the site are all covered under premises liability regulations. If a property owner is aware of damage or a flaw but is unable to repair or replace it right away, he or she must at the very least put clear warning signs around the hazard to alert patrons, guests, and passers-by to potential dangers. Injuries to guests can be caused by negligent property owners in a variety of ways.

Many of these incidents are serious, and they have the potential to change every part of your and your family’s lives. If you or a member of your family has suffered an avoidable harm as a result of any of the following, you should contact our OKC premises liability lawyers to explore your case.

  • Falling and Slipping
  • Accidents involving escalators and elevators
  • Collapse of the Porch
  • Collapse of Stairs
  • Fires
  • Poisoning by lead paint
  • Mercury Poisoning is a serious health hazard.
  • Injuries from Swimming Pools

These injuries can not only have a negative impact on your quality of life or prevent you from returning to work, but they can also be fatal. According to the National Floor Safety Institute, slip and fall accidents, the most common form of premises liability accident, are the third leading cause of unintentional death in the United States, accounting for more than half of all unintentional home deaths. Wet flooring, icy circumstances, and other unmarked threats can be extremely harmful for the elderly, who are at a higher risk of crippling injuries or death in the case of a fall due to wet floors, icy conditions, or other unmarked dangers.

Injuries Commonly Suffered in Premises Liability Cases

Because premises liability lawsuits might involve a wide range of potential hazards and incidents, the injuries that result can be just as varied. Slip and fall accidents are by far the most common, but unsafe circumstances on a property can result in a wide range of incapacitating injuries. The following are examples of injuries that can occur in premises liability cases:

  • Bone fractures
  • Trauma to the head
  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Burns
  • Paralysis
  • Sprains
  • Poisoning
  • Electrocution/electric shock
  • Drowning
  • Injuries to the spine
  • Amputation
  • Bruising

Visitors Are Classified

You must determine the purpose for being at the property in order to have a case and a probability of getting financial compensation. There are three types of visitors to commercial, government, and private properties:

• Invitee: People who are on the property at the owner’s invitation, such as customers at a business. The landlord bears the primary responsibility for ensuring that the environment is safe and free of risk.

• Licensee: Those on the property with the owner’s express or implicit permission, except those on the property for commercial gain, such as guests at a home or someone seeking directions. Owners give these people the courtesy of revealing concealed dangers, but they are not obligated to address them.

• Trespasser: A person who invaded a property without permission and owed very little responsibility for injuries that may have been avoided.

If you were an invitee or licensee on someone’s property and were seriously injured as a result of the property owner’s negligence, you may feel forlorn and despair. Furthermore, you may have a slew of unanswered questions keeping you awake at night. This is where we can help. Our attorneys in Oklahoma City can assist you in obtaining financial compensation for past and future medical expenditures, physical therapy and rehabilitation, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages.

Establishing Responsibility & Liability

In premises liability situations, determining who is ultimately accountable for your accident or damage can be difficult. Normally, the owner of the property where the accident happened bears the most culpability, however, this might vary depending on the circumstances.

The owner is responsible for keeping their property secure, but their responsibility to visitors is determined by the visitor’s classification, as stated above. An owner owes more to an invitee than to a trespasser, however, even a trespasser must adhere to certain criteria.

For instance, if a property is vacant and the owner knows there is a substantial likelihood a trespasser will enter, they may still be liable. Assume a trespasser tripped and fell into an open swimming pool, injuring himself. If the trespasser can show that the owner was careless in ensuring basic safety on their land, the owner can still be held accountable.

In premises liability proceedings, children are given special consideration. Oklahoma has an “attractive nuisance” doctrine that states that if a property owner is aware of a dangerous condition on their property that is attractive to children, such as an uncovered swimming pool, they can be held liable if a child trespasses and injures themselves.

Oklahoma also follows a “comparative negligence” doctrine. Comparative negligence is used to determine liability when multiple parties are at fault. For instance, if an invitee or social guest doesn’t take reasonable precautions to protect themselves and gets injured by slipping and falling on someone else’s property, they might share responsibility for their injuries with the property owner. With comparative negligence, each party is assigned a percentage of the fault in an accident. If the injured party is found to be more than 50% responsible for their accident and injury, they cannot recover any damages.

Premises Liability Claims Process

Filing a personal injury claim for your premises liability accident starts with retaining legal counsel. An experienced legal representative will help you investigate what happened and determine if your injury was preventable and whether the owner of the property can be held responsible for your accident.

In order to prove liability, your attorney will need to show the following:

  • That the defendant owned, leased, or occupied the property where your accident occurred
  • That the defendant was somehow negligent in keeping the property safe
  • That you were harmed on the property
  • That the harm you suffered was caused by the defendant’s negligent action or inaction

Though this may seem straightforward, determining who is ultimately responsible can take time and research. Your attorney will need to conduct an investigation into the accident to build your personal injury claim.

An investigation can include several components, such as:

  1. Initial interview. Your attorney will sit down with you and ask questions about the accident and your injury to paint a picture of exactly how it occurred. They may ask about your purpose on the property, what time of day it was, the condition of the property, and whether anyone witnessed the accident.
  2. Evidence gathering. Your lawyer will then gather evidence to support your injury claim. This evidence can include documents like medical records, police incident reports, leases or rental agreements, and eyewitness statements. It may also include photos of the property, surveillance video footage, and testimony from the property owner.
  3. Making the settlement demand. Once liability has been determined, and you and your attorney have decided on an appropriate amount to request in damages, your attorney can make a settlement demand to the defendant’s insurance company.

After the demand is issued, you’ll wait for the insurance company to respond. Your attorney may want to file a lawsuit in an Oklahoma court at this time, both to put pressure on the insurance company to respond to your claim and to preserve your right to go to trial, if necessary.

The insurance company can agree to meet your settlement demand, but this is unlikely. They will more often make a counter-offer. Settlement offers can be both good and bad, as they are usually less than the amount you request in damages, but they give you a guaranteed payout much faster than you might get if you take your case to trial. Also, if you decline a settlement offer and move forward with a trial, there is no guarantee that a judge or jury will rule in your favor.

Your lawyer and the insurance company will negotiate about the settlement amount. If they can reach an agreement, there’ll be no need to go to court.

Alternatively, the insurance company can deny your claim, in which case your only option is to file suit.

FAQS

For many victims, the days and weeks following an accident caused by a reckless property owner’s action can be a blur, leading to a growing pile of medical bills and also a growing number of questions. When accidents occur at a personal property it can be especially confusing for victims who don’t want to take legal action against a friend of family member. At The Law Offics of Dakota Low, our attorneys are here to answer any question you might have about your case and rights. To get started, we’ve provided you with the answers to a number of common questions we hear from people just like you.

What is Premises Liability?

Premises liability can be a confusing type of litigation due to the innumerable incidents that fall within its scope. When an individual is injured on the property of another due to circumstances that the property owner failed to properly fix or post warnings of, that property owner may be held liable for the resulting injuries.

Individuals that are legally able to make a claim for premises liability generally must have been purposefully invited onto the property; therefore, trespassers are often not candidates for premises liability claims. However, when homeowners fail to clean up spills, repair torn carpets, or secure dangerous products, they may be held liable for injuries that their invited guests sustain as a result of these unsafe conditions.

What Kinds of Damages Can I Recover After Being Injured in a Premises Liability Case?

The amount of damages that can be recovered in a settlement or lawsuit depend greatly on the circumstances surrounding the accident and the injury itself. In general, the more serious the accident or severe the injury, the more you should be able to recover from the responsible party. You may be able to recover money for the following losses in a premises liability case:

  1. Medical bills: If you suffered a severe injury while on someone else’s property that required medical attention, you can recover damages for the costs of medical treatment. This refers to hospital stays, ER fees, emergency transport, medication, rehabilitation, or treatment.
  2. Lost wages: If an injury was severe enough to keep you from returning to work for any length of time, you could recover damages for wages lost during the time you weren’t able to work.
  3. Lost opportunity: Accidents put everything else in your life on hold. If a premises liability accident forces you to cancel future plans such as vacation arrangements or other large expenses, you may be able to recover money to cover the loss.
  4. Pain and suffering: Premises liability accidents can be traumatic. An injury due to a collapsing structure or falling into an empty swimming pool, even if it doesn’t cause severe injury, can leave lasting psychological harm. Compensation for pain and suffering is meant to cover the losses from an accident that are hard to quantify, such as mental distress and pain.
  5. Wrongful death: If the worst should happen during a premises liability case and an accident caused the death of a loved one, you can recover money for the mental and financial harm done to your family, but this will usually take the form of a wrongful death lawsuit.
  6. Long-term care: If your injury was such that you would require long-term care or assistance with activities of daily living for the remainder of your life, any award of compensation for your injuries should include money for those costs, as well.

If it’s found that the party responsible for your accident was grossly negligent or acted with intent to harm others, you may also be able to recover punitive damages. Punitive damages are different from compensation for monetary losses from an accident. They are awarded in a lawsuit by a judge or jury specifically as punishment for the actions of the defendant if the plaintiff is able to prove that the defendant acted with intentional malice.

In Oklahoma, punitive damages are not insurable, meaning that if you are awarded punitive damages, they are paid out of the defendant’s pocket. Talk to your attorney about whether or not you can recover punitive damages for your case.

Is There a Specific Amount of Time a Hazard Has To Exist in Order To Hold a Property Owner Liable?

Premises liability suits are extremely complicated, and like many aspects of your case, will depend on specific circumstances and details. In order to recover damages, it isn’t enough to simply prove the plaintiff was injured due to a hazard on the property. You also have to prove negligence on part of the property owner or tenant.

And while there isn’t a hard and fast rule on how long a property owner has to repair damages, courts will take into account a variety of factors and whether the property owner knew about the hazard and had a “reasonable amount of time” to take care of the problem or provide proper warning.

Why Do I Need a Premises Liability Lawyer?

Because the foundation of premises liability laws say that property owners and landlords are liable for any injury caused by an accident on their residential or commercial property, recovering financial compensation may seem like a straightforward process. Unfortunately, this is far from the truth. One must also prove the property owner knew of the dangers beforehand and was negligent by failing to take action and repair the hazard, making these types of cases uniquely intricate and involved.

Courts look at a number of factors such as the property’s condition, what the victim was doing at the time of the accident, as well as a variety of other factors that could work against you without a trained and experienced legal representative helping your file paperwork, gather testimony, and present evidence.

Additionally, many of these cases occur on a friend or loved one’s property, making the lawsuit process even more complicated, and oftentimes emotional. By having an attorney handle your case, you can stay out of the daily process and instead focus on your recovery.

How Much Does It Cost To Speak With and Hire an Attorney at the Law Office of Dakota Low?

With expenses piling up following an accident, adding another one from an Oklahoma premises liability lawyer may seem out of the question. At The Law Office of Dakota Low we put our clients needs before our own, and that’s why we not only offer free consultations but we also don’t collect any legal fees unless we win your case and recover the financial compensation you need. After winning your case or settling outside of court we simply take a portion of the settlement to cover our legal costs.

Premises Liability Facts and Statistics

Statistics regarding premises liability cases mostly refer to slip and fall injuries, since that is the most common kind of accident. Here are some interesting statistics regarding slip and fall injuries in the United States from the National Floor Safety Institute and CDC:

  • Injuries from slipping and falling represent the leading cause of lost days from work.
  • 20% of falls result in a serious head injury or broken bone.
  • The leading cause of traumatic brain injury (TBI) in America is slipping and falling.
  • Serious injuries from falls result in over 800,000 hospitalizations per year.
  • The total medical cost for treating injuries due to slipping and falling in 2015 was more than $50 billion.
  • 85% of worker’s compensation claims are due to slipping and falling on the job.

Contact the Law Office of Dakota C.Low

If you have been hurt in an accident on a commercial or residential property, you may be eligible to secure compensation for your medical expenses, bills, and other costs associated with the accident. Don’t trust your claim to just any attorney, turn to the team that so many other people in Oklahoma have turned to in their time of need: The Law Office of Dakota Low. Let us put our experience to work for you, and don’t let this accident cause any more harm to your life than you have already suffered. We will fight for you from beginning to end.

Contact the Oklahoma City premises liability lawyers at The Law Office of Dakota Low today at 405.601.8899 or use our contact form to receive your free case evaluation and discuss the services and benefits we can provide for you.

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