What is Premises Liability?
Property owners in Indiana, (homeowners, landlords, and commercial property owners) have a legal responsibility to maintain their property in a reasonably safe condition and to provide adequate warning of any hazard or unsafe condition that cannot be quickly corrected.
In Indiana, when a visitor to a property is injured due to an unsafe condition, inadequate security, inadequate maintenance, or construction defects, the person who is injured may be entitled to seek compensation from the property owner.
Premises liability cases which may include slips and falls, or injury resulting from inadequate maintenance, inadequate security, or construction defects are often complicated.
Who is at Fault?
Indiana law treats premises injuries differently based on the status of the person at the time they were injured. There are three classifications of persons: invitee, licensee, or trespasser. An invitee is a person invited upon the property by express or implied invitation. This could be a social guest or business customer. A business like Walmart is considered to be open for anyone who wants to go to their store to shop. When you arrive at a Walmart store, you are considered an invitee, even though you likely did not receive an express invitation from Walmart.
An invitee receives the highest protection under the law. The law requires property owners or occupants to exercise reasonable care for the safety of invitees while they are on their property.
Indiana law presumes that in the case of an accident both the person harmed and the property owner each bears some responsibility for prevention. This joint responsibility is called a modified comparative negligence statute.
What this means is that you may be entitled to compensation if the court determines you bear no more than 50 percent of the responsibility for your accident and subsequent injury.
What does invited mean?
A customer in a business or a guest in your home is an invited guest. They will have a higher legal standing, than a trespasser. Children, even when trespassing, may fall into a category somewhere in between if they are too young to understand a property hazard or unsafe condition.
Types of Premises Liabilty
Slip and Fall
Slip and fall or trip and fall accidents are some of the most common liability claims as many people suffer serious injuries in falls. Common causes include, but are not limited to, slick floors caused by spilled liquids, slippery stairways caused by melting ice or snow, or faulty stair rails.
If the property owner created an unsafe condition or if they knew of a hazardous condition and failed to correct it or provide adequate warning they may be liable for any resulting injuries.
Property owners have a duty to maintain the property in a reasonably safe condition. If a person is injured because an elevator or escalator has not been adequately serviced, allowing it to become unsafe, it may be grounds for a premises liability claim.
If a guest or patron has been assaulted or robbed because a property owner failed to take safety measures such as replacing defective windows or doors, hiring adequate security personnel, or replacing burned out lights they may have grounds for a premises liability claim.
Shoddy workmanship or inadequate repairs to a piece of property can result in an injury and be grounds for a premises liability lawsuit involving construction defects.
What damages may be recovered in a premises liability case?
Damages which may be recovered in a premises liability case may include:
- Medical expenses
- Future medical expenses
- Lost wages and future lost wages
- Permanent disability
- Loss of quality of life
- Pain and suffering
To understand what your rights and options are under Indiana law, please give me a call to discuss your case.