Indiana Premises Liability Attorney
If you’ve been injured while on the property of someone, you may have a case for compensation from the responsible party. If the owner allowed or created a dangerous condition or fails to warn about a known problem that caused your injury, the owner could be held liable. The specific standard applied depends on the circumstances of the case and the parties involved, meaning you really need guidance from an Indiana premises liability attorney at Indianapolis Injury Lawyers to understand your claim.
An Indiana premises liability attorney from Indianapolis Injury Lawyers applies the breadth of experience of the entire legal team to help identify the nature of your claim and determine the strategy likely to maximize your compensation.
An Indiana Premises Liability Attorney Explains Premises Liability in Indiana
Premises liability cases are a type of personal injury law that protects people who are injured on someone else’s property. Like every area of the law, there are certain requirements and exceptions that a qualified Indiana premises liability attorney can explain.
In general, property owners must maintain their property in a reasonably safe condition so that others do not suffer avoidable injuries when on the premises. Property owners who know about potential hazards on their property must remedy the hazard or warn people about it so they do not get hurt. These situations can get complicated very quickly depending on the nature of the control over the property, the entry on the property, and the cause of the injury.
For example, Indiana recognizes different legal categories of injured parties and certain types of accidents that qualify for a premises liability claim. Also, successful premises liability claimants must establish specific elements to recover damages such as medical bills and lost wages. To learn whether you can bring an injury claim against a property owner, contact an Indianapolis premises liability attorney at your earliest convenience.
Common Types of Claims Resolved by Our Indianapolis Premises Liability Lawyers
The most common situations that lead to premises liability claims are accidents known as slip-and-fall (usually in wet or icy locations) and trip-and-fall (most often due to carpets, rugs, or uneven surfaces). When someone falls unexpectedly, common injuries include spinal cord, neck, brain, head, or hip injuries. Victims also often report broken bones, sprains, bruises, and other serious injuries.
Premises liability claims can arise from many different accident circumstances including:
- Slipping on ice, water, or another liquid
- Tripping on rugs, carpets, uneven sidewalks or ground, or stairs
- Elevator or escalator missteps
- Swimming pool incidents
- Amusement park malfunctions
- Hotel or motel negligence
- Exposure to toxic substances
- Negligent security such as the lack of adequate lighting in parking garages or stairwells
Accidents caused by these or other property issues can happen to anyone but often involve elderly people who suffer more severe injuries due to age or infirmity. Retaining an Indiana premises liability attorney is critical to provide the assistance and protection our older generation deserves.
An Overview of the Different Legal Standards Applied in Premises Liability Cases
Indiana law distinguishes between three types of visitors in premises liability cases. The classification determines the duty of care owed to the person injured. Depending on your status while on someone’s premises, you may or may not be entitled to compensation. Visitors fall into one of the following categories:
- Invitee: This person has been invited onto the property for the owner’s benefit, which is often financially related. A potential customer who enters a store or someone who goes to a restaurant to eat is a classic example of an invitee. Property owners owe the highest duty of care to an invitee on their premises.
- Licensee: This person has permission to be on the property through an express or implied invitation, but the property owner does not benefit financially. Examples of licensees include a person in a public park or a friend who comes to your house for dinner. Property owners also owe a duty of care to a licensee, but it is not quite as high as the duty of care owed to an invitee.
- Trespasser: This person is on the property illegally or without any kind of permission. In Indiana, property owners owe no duty of care to trespassers, but they cannot intentionally cause injury to a trespasser.
If you were a trespasser at the time you were injured, you may have no legal right to bring a claim against the property owner. However, as an invitee or licensee, you may have a viable cause of action if the facts in your case meet additional requirements.
The Legal Elements an Indiana Premises Liability Attorney Must Prove
Premises liability laws were created to balance a property owner’s legal responsibilities against a visitor’s obligation to be cautious and safe. The law only requires “reasonable” actions by property owners to keep their properties safe. Indiana Code § 34-51-2-6 also looks at whether the injured person has any responsibility for the accident. Known as comparative fault (or sometimes called comparative negligence), the law states that claimant cannot recover compensation for an injury if found to be more responsible than the property owner for the injuries sustained.
To bring a successful premises liability action, an injured claimant must prove the property owner was negligent in one of the following ways when the accident occurred:
- The owner or property manager in charge was aware of the hazard that caused the accident but failed to take any action to fix the problem
- The owner or manager should have been aware of the potential hazard on the property because a “reasonable” property manager or owner under similar circumstances would have found the hazard by doing a reasonable inspection and should have repaired or remedied the situation
As you can see, reasonableness plays a role in deciding who was at fault. For example, if you slipped on a puddle of water in a store during a snowstorm, your right to recover from the store owner will depend on many factors. These include:
- Why were you in the store? Were you an invitee who deserved protection or someone who broke into the store to steal items?
- How long was the puddle of water present? If the storm started seconds ago, did the store owner have enough time to find and mop the puddle? Or was the puddle there for a long time and the owner ignored it?
- Did you create the puddle that caused your fall and, therefore, should have known it was there?
- If the owner knew about the puddle but had not cleaned it yet, did the owner warn about the hazard?
When facing a premises liability claim in this example, The owner may allege that you are responsible for your injuries because you were not paying attention, you didn’t see the warning signs that were present, you were in a location that was not open to the public, or the hazard was so obvious that a reasonable person should have seen and avoided the problem.
Regardless of whether you injury was sustained from a fall in a puddle or a more serious condition on the property, you need an Indianapolis premises liability lawyer to help you present a strong case for liability and compensation.
When is the Best Time to Consult With an Indiana Premises Liability Attorney?
Under Indiana Code § 34-11-2-4, you have two years to file a premises liability claim. The two-year time frame begins on the day you are injured, and, if you miss the filing deadline, you will be barred from bringing a lawsuit to recover compensation for your injuries.
Getting started with the necessary medical care should be your first step, but you shouldn’t wait too long afterward to contact an Indianapolis premises liability claims lawyer. Over time, memories can fade and important evidence can be lost or destroyed. Insurance carriers often try to force a quick settlement to make your claim go away. It is important to meet with an experienced attorney as soon as possible to protect your right to bring a claim and the evidence necessary to prove it.
Bradley Keffer and Tom Hirschauer are successful personal injury attorneys who take pride in representing protecting the interests of injured Indiana residents. With these two skilled litigators and their legal team, you can rest assured that they will apply their years of experience and personal injury case strategies to get compensation for your injuries.
Schedule Your Free Consultation with an Indiana Premises Liability Attorney Now
If you have been injured as a result of a fall on someone else’s property, the team at Indianapolis Injury Lawyers has the experience, drive, and skills to maximize your compensation. Whether you live or elsewhere in the state, contact us today at 317-455-4043 or complete our online contact form to schedule an appointment with an experienced and compassionate Indiana premises liability attorney who will answer all of your questions and help you recover the money damages you deserve.