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If you were injured while on someone else’s property, you are likely wondering whether you may have a claim against the individual or business that is responsible for the property. If the responsible party failed to keep the property reasonably safe, you may have what’s known as a premises liability claim.
Because these types of claims are often complex, it’s important to have a Phenix City premises liability lawyer at Bence Law Firm and on your side who can help you understand your legal rights and options in your specific case.
No two cases are the same, which is why it’s important to sit down with an experienced personal injury attorney who can walk you through the process and ensure your rights are protected throughout the course of litigation.
The laws in Alabama require that property owners maintain their property and keep it reasonably safe for visitors. This duty applies to both private and commercial spaces. Failure to keep your property safe can mean the property owner or occupant could be held liable for any injuries that someone suffers while on the property.
Premises liability cases often involve slip-and-fall accidents or trip-and-fall accidents, as well as dog bites, injuries caused by inadequate lighting, swimming pool accidents, attacks due to inadequate security, and more.
The property owner’s duty of care will vary based on what type of visitor you are. In Alabama, the main classes of a visitor are:
Premises liability matters can encompass a wide variety of accidents and injuries. One of the most common is a slip and fall claim. Slip and falls can occur due to a variety of hazards, some of which include debris, pooled liquids, ice, snow, damaged flooring, or poor lighting.
Slip and falls typically happen in an invitee situation. A business is required to keep on top of potential hazards. If it’s a rainy day and people are tracking water inside the store with them, the business has a duty to warn them and take extra precautions to continually clean the floors so water doesn’t pool and cause someone to slip and fall, for example.
Other issues that can cause a slip and fall include:
Slip and falls only make up a portion of all premises liability cases in Alabama.
The amount of compensation will vary based on the accident specifics and the extent of your injuries and other losses. Some of the damages that are recoverable include:
The first step is to seek medical attention. This is important, even if you don’t think you are injured that badly at first. There are a lot of injuries that aren’t immediately apparent but could become life-threatening if left untreated. A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a good example.
If you are able, you should file an incident or police report. If the incident occurred in a business, you need to inform management or security right away and ensure a report is logged. In the event there was a criminal act, like you were attacked by someone, then you need a police report on file. If medical personnel visit the scene, try to get names of everyone involved and any copies of reports if possible before leaving. At a minimum, get the assigned case number or incident report number.
You also want to document everything, which means getting witness information so you have someone else who can provide testimony about the facts of the accident. You want to document everything from the condition of the floor to the amount of lighting or any other factor that may have played a role. Take photos if you can so you can use them later on. If your case involves a slip and fall, it’s wise to preserve your clothing, including your shoes. Don’t wash or change them in any way, just secure and store them in case they are needed later during the claims process.
Make sure you keep records of all your expenses. Depending on the circumstances of the incident, you may need supporting evidence if the property owner chooses to fight the case rather than settle. This means you want detailed records of your medical bills and treatment, proof of lost earnings from work, and receipts from any other expenses you have like medical equipment or prescription medication.
If someone asks you to sign a release before you leave the incident scene, do not do so without first meeting with a seasoned premises liability lawyer in Phenix City. It is common that people will try to get you to sign a release stating you are ok and you waive all your rights and will not pursue a claim. You do not want to sign any documentation without legal guidance and verifying the extent of your injuries.
Dealing with an insurance company can be both frustrating and stressful. Remember that they represent the property owner and no matter how black and white your case looks, they will fight it in order to save money and protect their profits.
When a claims adjuster contacts you from the other side, it is helpful if you already have retained an Alabama premises liability attorney who can handle all communications. This ensures your rights remain protected and the insurance adjuster won’t get an opportunity to trick you into saying something they can twist and use against you.
No matter how nice they may seem, no one from the insurance company is on your side. Their primary interest is in how to make your case go away as quickly and cheaply as possible. That is why you need a Phenix City premises liability attorney on your side to fight for your interests.
As with other types of claims, there is a certain amount of time you have to pursue a premises liability claim in Alabama. This is known as the statute of limitations, which is the rule that sets the deadline on how much time you have to file a claim.
If you miss the date, there is no obligation for the other side to continue negotiations. In fact, the court will almost certainly throw your case out entirely.
For a case involving any type of personal injury or property damage in the state, the general Alabama statute of limitations is covered under Alabama Code §6-2-38, which states:
If your child is the one who was injured on someone else’s property, the statute of limitations could be extended under Alabama Code §6-2-8.
It’s important to retain a Phenix City premises liability lawyer if you were injured on someone else’s property. Premises liability cases can be some of the most difficult to prove, especially given that Alabama follows the contributory negligence rule.
There are a number of rules and factors that need to be considered in a premises liability matter. A property owner is not automatically liable just because an incident took place on their property. In order to successfully recover damages, you have to show the property owner or business did something or failed to take action that caused your injury.
If you believe you have a valid premises liability case against a property owner or business, contact the Bence Law Firm, LLC today to schedule a free initial consultation. Let us review the facts of your case and advise you on the best course of action to help you seek the compensation you deserve.