Premises Liability Attorneys
How many of us expect to need the services of a premises liability attorney after shopping at the mall, dining at your favorite restaurant, or watching a game inside the local arena? Unfortunately, accidents in these commercial establishments frequently happen. Sometimes, they happen because the property owner was negligent.
If you believe you have a premises liability case on your hands, you should not shy away from seeking compensation. Learn more about premises liability so you can decide if you need consult a Connecticut premises liability lawyer to pursue legal action.
What Is Premises Liability?
Premises liability cases involve personal injury claims. Most personal injury cases focus on proving that a person’s negligent actions caused harm to a plaintiff. Premises liability is slightly different. It relies on the idea that property owners must make a reasonable effort to ensure their spaces are safe for all visitors.
If injuries occur because of a lack of safety measures or upkeep, the owner could be liable. In these cases, a Hartford County liability lawyer will try to prove the lack of proper safety features or poor maintenance on the part of the owner.
Types of Premises Liability Cases
There are many types of premises liability cases and though some are seemingly unrelated, such as a dog bite and an electric shock from a faulty light switch, they all come back to duty-of-care failures by the owner. Here are the types of premises liability cases that could require the services of personal injury lawyers at a premises liability law firm.
- Snow or ice accidents, which usually involve slips and falls;
- Fires due to faulty wiring or equipment;
- dog bites or injuries due to other pets on the premises;
- Injuries or drowning in swimming pools;
- Elevator or escalator accidents;
- Damage or harm from falling objects;
- Injuries caused by improper maintenance;
- Exposure to fumes or chemicals;
- Injuries due to faulty equipment or products (product liability;
- Crimes, such as sexual assaults or robberies that occurred due to flawed or lacking security;
- Falls due to poor lighting.
A liability attorney in Simsbury or Glastonbury can certainly help in cases involving injury at a residential home. However, many premises liability cases involve commercial spaces. These can include:
- Entertainment facilities like bars, clubs, and restaurants;
- Retail stores;
- Concert and sports venues;
- Exercise facilities;
- Office buildings;
- Other commercial businesses.
Finally, a premises liability lawyer usually deals with trauma-related injuries, such as broken bones, sprains, traumatic brain injuries, paralysis, and muscle strains and tears. If negligent property management leads to the death of a visitor, the surviving family members can work with a wrongful death lawyer and file a suit for compensation.
What Are the Premises Liability Laws in Connecticut?
To understand if you will need the services of a premises liability attorney, you first need to get a handle on the relevant laws in the state of Connecticut. In Connecticut, owners of commercial properties have basic duties to perform if they wish to avoid potential liability in a lawsuit.
Their first duty is to inspect their commercial property. They need to thoroughly inspect their property and check if it is “reasonably safe.” If the property owner has not detected any potential hazards during their inspection, they should be good to go. Now, if the commercial property does contain hazards, the property owner can be held liable for them if they cause injury.
The property owner should put up safeguards to protect their customers from those hazards. Failing to do that means they were indeed negligent. There is obviously a lot of gray areas there. What makes a commercial property “reasonably safe” could be subject to interpretation in a lawsuit. Your lawyer and their lawyer could argue about that at length.
You can also point to the lack of safety measures as evidence that the property owner was indeed negligent. Even if they put up a warning for a potential hazard, you can point out that it was inadequate. They can still be liable for the accident if the court finds that the warnings were indeed lacking.
Who Is Liable in a Premises Liability Case?
A legal case always has a plaintiff and a defendant. However, it is possible to have shared blame in personal injury cases in Connecticut.
Connecticut has a “modified comparative negligence” rule. Basically, this law states that the award you receive from a property liability claim will be proportional to the owner’s level of negligence. However, if you (the plaintiff) are more than 50% liable for the incident that caused the damage, you are not entitled to any compensation.
In civil jury trials, the jury will determine your level of culpability. You will receive the award minus your percentage of culpability. For example, if you slipped on a wet floor in a retail store and required $20,000 in medical treatment, that is the amount the store owner would have to pay (through their liability insurance).
However, the jury might find that you are 25% liable because you were running when you slipped, so you will lose 25% of the award, making your total settlement $15,000.
If the case goes to trial and the property owner has a skilled premises liability attorney, they will likely argue that you shared the blame for the incident. Therefore, you should also have a good liability lawyer on your side.
Proving Fault in a Liability Case
In Glastonbury or Hartford, Connecticut, the owner of a home, business, or other commercial or industrial facilities should provide a safe environment for people who visit the property. These people, known as invitees, can include house guests, employees, or patrons at a store, office, or restaurant. Some third parties, known as licensees, also qualify for protection under premises liability laws.
These visitors include utility workers, delivery drivers, and similar service providers and maintenance contractors. Some workers, such as building or renovation contractors, will have business insurance to cover injuries that may occur during their regular work.
The concept of duty of care is central to these types of liability cases. The owner has the duty to make a reasonable effort to ensure the safety of their facilities. For example, they can make repairs, perform preventative maintenance, conduct regular inspections, and ensure that safety systems work.
These cases usually hinge on several things.
First, the plaintiff must prove the presence of hazardous conditions or faults that caused the incident. And second, they need to show that the owner had a reasonable chance to remedy the problem. It may not be practical for the owner to clear snow as it is falling or stop the wind from blowing a branch into a visitor. However, it is reasonable to expect the owner to shovel the snow and use salt to melt ice after the storm stops.
Finally, premises liability laws do not protect trespassers and others without actual or implied permission to enter the property.
What Are the Defenses That a Commercial Property Owner May Use?
Accidents can happen when you least expect them. As a result, you may have sustained some injuries that you are now considering pursuing legal action against the property owner. So, what can you and your premises liability attorney expect to hear from the defendant if you move forward with a lawsuit? What defenses could they use to prove that they were not negligent?
One defense they can use is to suggest that the hazard in question was not something they could have spotted even after performing an inspection. They could argue that the hazard was in an inaccessible area or was well concealed. The property owner can also argue that they have not known about the hazard long enough.
For instance, you may have slipped on some wet stairs, but they were covered in moisture because another customer recently spilled something on them. Since the spill happened a few seconds before your accident, the property owner could say that they could not do anything about it. The defendant can also suggest that they did sufficiently secure their property. They can say that they alerted guests to the hazard to blame you for being careless.
It is important to remember that commercial property owners can use some effective defensive tactics to avoid responsibility in these types of liability cases. You cannot assume that you will win the case even if you did nothing wrong. Work with a liability lawyer to highlight the facts of the case and make sure that the negligent party is held responsible.
Do I Need a Liability Lawyer?
There are several reasons why you need a premises liability law firm if you sustained an injury on someone else’s property.
First, businesses typically have liability insurance, and most homeowners do, as well. Therefore, you will be dealing with an insurer with experienced lawyers who may seek to limit the payout.
An accident lawyer can guide you through the process and communicate with the other party’s attorneys. For example, insurance lawyers may sometimes ask to take your statement to get you to unwittingly admit partial or full culpability. Without a lawyer at your side, you might unknowingly damage your case.
Also, many liability cases get settled before going to court. Insurers may offer an initial settlement, and you can enlist the help of a liability attorney to decide if the payout is fair or not. Often, the first figure an insurance company offers is lower than the fair amount.
Your liability lawyer can negotiate on your behalf, helping you to get a fair settlement before the case goes to trial.
If negotiation, mediation, and other efforts fail, you will need a skilled accident lawyer to represent you before the judge and give you the best chance of a positive outcome.
What Are the Common Injuries Associated with Premises Liability Cases?
The injuries you may sustain from an accident inside a commercial property can be quite varied. It is important to know about the injuries you could be dealing with as you decide what to do next. Here in this section, we highlight some of the common injuries that are associated with these liability cases. Read up on them so you can understand why pursuing legal action could end up being a necessary move on your part.
Slip and fall accidents are among the most common accidents that occur on commercial properties. Do not underestimate a slip and fall accident because it could leave you badly hurt. You can easily break a bone in your hip from a hard fall or hurt your hand while trying to cushion your landing.
Broken bones take a long time to heal, and they can force you to stop working. Make sure you or your slip and lawyer fight for compensation so you can survive your losses.
Traumatic Brain Injuries
If your head makes hard contact after you fall to the ground, you could end up with a traumatic brain injury. Traumatic brain injuries such as concussions can leave you in rough shape. Some of the symptoms you may experience after sustaining a traumatic brain injury include headaches, nausea, loss of consciousness, and seizures.
Those brain injuries can also linger. They may continue to affect you for months and even years. A brain injury lawyer can help you get the proper compensation so you can manage the effects of those brain injuries.
Rest your hand on the wrong spot while you are out shopping, and you could end up with a nasty burn. Exposed electrical wiring is a real concern in poorly maintained commercial properties. Be wary of them because they could end up causing you serious harm. You could also sustain some burn injuries from using a defective outlet to test out a product.
Premises Liability Law Firm
Premises liability claims can be tricky to make, but you can do it if you are working with a good premises liability law firm. Allow the Connecticut liability lawyers at Hassett & George, P.C. to help you out and let’s hold the negligent party accountable. Contact us today!
Some of the locations in and around Hartford County our liability law firm serve include: Hartford, Simsbury, Glastonbury, New Britain, Bridgeport, Waterbury, Danbury, Norwalk, Manchester, Windsor, Farmington, Windsor Locks, Wethersfield, Rocky Hill, Avon, Bloomfield, Bristol, Enfield, Newington, South Windsor, Southington, Plainville and more.