What Are the Essential Elements of a Premises Liability Claim?
You regularly enter commercial properties – attending to the business of daily living. Whether you’re heading to a restaurant to meet friends for lunch, have a dentist appointment, or are doing a grocery run, you spend a considerable amount of your time in various commercial enterprises. What you are not expecting when you head out to face the day is being injured in the process – as a result of a property owner or manager’s negligence. Accidents of this type lead to premises liability claims, and they represent an important area of the law. If a property owner or manager’s negligence leaves you injured, an experienced Myrtle Beach premises liability attorney can help.
Common Premises Liability Claims
While every premises liability claim is specific to the situation at hand, there are certain types that are most common, including:
- Slip and fall accidents
- Elevator and escalator accidents
- Claims related to negligent security
- Accidents caused by building code violations
- Dog bites
- Swimming pool and other attractive nuisance accidents
- Accidents caused by poor lighting
- Accidents caused by poorly designed, constructed, or maintained stairwells
The Specific Elements of Your Claim
While every premises liability claim is unique, each and every one must include specific elements (making them essential elements).
Duty of Care Owed
To begin, the property owner or manager must have owed you a duty of care. This element is generally fairly easy to establish. The fact is that commercial property owners are required by law to maintain their premises in a reasonably safe condition for all the following:
- Guests, including customers
- Other visitors
The specific duty of care owed to you and all other guests involves the property owner or manager maintaining the premises in the same state of reasonable repair that other reasonable property owners and managers do in similar situations. The level of care owed to you and the duty to provide it will depend on your status on that property, which is often determined by the reason why you were on/at that premises.
Duty of Care Breached
Once you’ve established that you were owed a duty of care, you must be able to demonstrate that the property owner or manager’s negligence breached this duty of care owed to you. This means that he or she failed to comply with the reasonable standards of maintenance that other reasonable property owners and managers uphold. If, for example, you slipped and fell on a spill in a grocery store aisle that was left untended for far longer than other grocery store managers would allow, the duty of care owed to you was very likely breached.
It is not enough that the property owner or manager was negligent. His or her negligence must be the direct cause of your injury-causing accident for this third element to be met. In the grocery store slip and fall described above, the store owner’s negligence in cleaning up a long-standing spill caused you to slip and fall, which meets this requirement for a direct correlation between the two (cause and effect).
Finally, your injuries must have caused damages (or losses) that are addressed by the law in order for you to bring a successful premises liability claim. Such damages may include the following:
- Medical expenses
- Lost earnings on the job
- Physical and emotional pain and suffering
If you can establish each of these essential elements, you can proceed with a viable premises liability claim.
Statute of Limitations
Every state has its own rules, regulations, and restrictions as they relate to premises liability claims, and one of these includes the statute of limitations (or time restriction). To learn more about the statute of limitations and the ways in which it might affect your case, take the time to get in touch with a lawyer at the Maguire Law Firm today.
Protecting Your Claim from the Outset
Because premises liability claims are complicated and because obtaining the compensation to which you are entitled is likely critical to your health and well-being, it’s important to do what you can to protect your claim from the very beginning.
Obtaining Medical Attention
The first order of business has to be your health. Early medical intervention is closely associated with improved prognosis, which makes seeking the medical attention that you need as soon after the accident as possible paramount. Another important aspect of this is carefully following your medical team’s instructions and advice. This is not only the right thing to do in terms of your health outcome, but it also sends a strong message to the involved insurance company that you take your injuries and your claim as seriously as you expect the insurance company to take them.
Consulting with a Seasoned Premises Liability Attorney
After addressing the matter of your health, consulting with a dedicated premises liability attorney at your earliest opportunity is the next step in the process. Your attorney will take on all the following critical tasks:
- Gathering all the relevant evidence – including eyewitness testimony – in defense of your claim
- Skillfully negotiating for just compensation with the involved insurance company
- Preparing for trial in the event the insurance company fails to negotiate fairly
- Helping you better understand the strengths and challenges of your claim and make the right decisions for you throughout the process
Reach out to an Experienced Premises Liability Attorney for the Legal Guidance You Need
If you’ve been harmed by a property owner or manager’s negligence, the trusted Myrtle Beach premises liability attorneys at the Maguire Law Firm have a wealth of experience helping clients like you obtain the compensation that covers the full range of their physical, financial, and emotional damages. We’re here for you, too, so please don’t wait to contact or call us at 843-417-9978 for more information today.