What happens when you injure yourself on someone else’s property and the accident results in injuries? When you visit a place of business or personal residence, you expect to visit without putting yourself at risk of sustaining an injury. When another party’s negligence causes personal injury to you or someone you love, you should seek compensation from that party for damages sustained as a result of such negligence. If you think that your injury is the result of someone else’s actions, you should determine your eligibility to seek compensation. Contacting the legal team at the Groth Law Firm can help you determine whether you have a premises liability claim.
Understanding Premises Liability
Property owners must provide a safe environment for their visitors. The issue of premises liability comes up when a person is injured on someone else’s property. However, many factors come into play in a premises liability case. Just because an injury occurred at a business or private residence, that does not necessarily make the property owner liable. You must first prove that the owner’s negligence caused your injury. Additionally, you must prove that the property owner knew about the unsafe condition and chose to do nothing to rectify it. Any lack of knowledge about dangerous conditions is often a viable defense in a premises liability claim.
The duty of care required by a property owner depends on the status of the injured party. In Wisconsin, three types of visitors may seek a claim for premises liability:
- Invitees: An invitee is someone who is directly invited to the owner’s property or who has an implied invitation. An implied invitation can apply to personal property or is often assumed with a public place of business. A property owner owes an invitee the highest duty of care. Owners have a duty to ensure that their property is safe and free of dangers.
- Licensees: Like invited guests, licensees have been granted permission to be on the owner’s property. However, licensees are on the property to conduct personal business, which may include business vendors or civilians using the property for recreational purposes, such as fishing or hunting. The property owner must warn licensees of any known dangers but does not have the obligation to remove these dangers.
- Trespassers: Trespassers are uninvited guests. Under most circumstances, a property owner does not owe any duty of care to trespassers. However, Wisconsin law includes a few exemptions to this rule. Most notably, the property owner may still be liable for any injured child or if the property owner knew that trespassers were likely to visit the property.
Common Premises Liability Accidents
There are a variety of circumstances that may lead to an injury while you are away from home. Some of the most common premises liability claims include:
- Slip and falls: A business owner has a responsibility to ensure safe walking conditions. This includes keeping sidewalks in good condition and ensuring that interior floors are not slick or wet. During periods of ice or snow, both business owners and homeowners have a responsibility to ensure the area around the property is safe.
- Lack of security: Poor security can lead to personal injury, including rape, homicide, or assault. Premises liability claims regarding lack of security generally apply to businesses and apartment complexes.
- Swimming pool accidents: Both homeowners and business owners have a responsibility to ensure that the areas around their pools are safe. For public pools, this means following guidelines requiring signage and lifeguards. For home pools, this may mean locks preventing children from entering a pool’s location or a safety fence around the pool. Though Wisconsin does not have laws requiring a fence around in-ground pools, many cities throughout the state, including nearby Madison, do.
- Amusement park accidents: Amusement park operators have a duty to keep visitors safe, which includes ensuring that all rides are in working order and keeping the grounds safe and free of hazards.
What Types of Damages Can I Recover?
When you file a premises liability claim, you will often deal with the property owner’s insurance company. In the case where the owner does not have insurance or your damages exceed the policy limits, a personal injury lawsuit may be necessary. There are many costs associated with your injury that an insurance adjuster may consider when determining an appropriate settlement. Common costs include:
Economic damages have a direct dollar amount associated with the victim’s loss. The most common economic damages include:
- Medical costs, including medical transportation, emergency room visits, doctor visits, surgeries, medication, and rehabilitation.
- Lost wages for any time lost from work. This includes days missed as a direct result of the accident, including any missed time during the recovery process. In some cases, you may have a claim for future wages or loss of earning capacity.
Non-economic damages are difficult to tie directly to a dollar amount. These damages often include compensation for an injured individual’s pain and suffering, and may include the following:
- Physical pain: This includes any actual pain sustained during the accident or long-term pain that persists beyond the date of injury.
- Emotional distress: Including anxiety, depression, or PTSD.
- Loss of enjoyment: If you are unable to participate in the activities you enjoyed before you were injured, your quality of life may suffer. In this case, you may have a claim for loss of enjoyment.
- Loss of consortium: Loss of consortium applies to the loved ones of an accident. It occurs when the victim is no longer able to participate in activities commonly expected of a loving relationship including loss of companionship and loss of an intimate relationship.
An Experienced Personal Injury Attorney Can Help
Premises liability cases are seldom easy to prove. In most cases, the at-fault party will try to deny fault or assert comparative negligence, which is why it is always a good idea to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney after you have been injured on someone else’s property.
The legal team at the Groth Law Firm knows the tactics that major corporations and insurance companies use to try and avoid liability. If you have been injured because of someone else’s negligence, you deserve compensation for the full cost of your injuries. Contact our office at (414) 240-0707, or fill out our contact form, to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced personal injury lawyers.