For most people, walking around is something they do without giving it much thought—until something goes wrong, that is. Slips, trips, and falls happen far more often than most people realize, resulting in millions of emergency room visits each year. While some slips, trips, and falls can be chalked up to the victim's own clumsiness or inattention, others are caused by hazards that the property owner neglected to address or warn visitors about.
When a property owner's negligence results in serious injuries or other losses, the victim may be entitled to compensation. Here's what you need to know if you're considering taking legal action following a premises liability accident.
Common Types of Premises Liability Accidents
Though slips and falls are the most common type of premises liability accidents, they're far from the only kind of premises liability case our firm handles. The term “premises liability” covers a broad range of accidents and injuries that can occur on someone else's property, whether the property in question is a public place, grocery store, other business, or a private residence, including:
- Slip and fall accidents
- Negligent security, which may allow for assaults and other violent incidents
- Fallen object accidents
- Dog bites and/or animal attacks
- Carbon monoxide and other toxic fume accidents
- Swimming pool and other drowning accidents
- Structural collapses
- Elevator and escalator accidents
- And more.
Examples of Premises Liability Hazards
- Slippery surfaces
- Wet floors
- Spilled liquid
- Broken stairs or railings
- Loose floorboards
- Uneven or cracked pavement
- Torn or loose carpeting
- Inadequate lighting
- Snow and ice
- Obstructed walkways
- Fallen objects
- Hanging objects
- Improper or unsafe electrical wiring
- Poor property maintenance and upkeep
- Visually confusing or disorienting carpet or wallpaper patterns
- Improperly designed grates
- Uncovered manholes
Do You Have a Premises Liability Case?
Just because someone was injured on their property doesn't necessarily mean the property or business owner is responsible for damages. In order to have an actionable premises liability claim, the case must contain the following elements:
- The defendant was in control of the property at the time of the accident and injury.
- The defendant was negligent in the maintenance of the property.
- The defendant's negligence directly led to the plaintiff's injuries and losses.
Additionally, the defendant must have known—or should have known—about the hazardous condition to be considered negligent for failing to take action. Other examples of negligence can include refusing to inspect the property or complete maintenance in a timely manner.
Potential Damages in Premises Liability Cases
Depending on the severity of the accident, premises liability victims may face significant physical and financial consequences. Fortunately, North Carolina law gives the victims of premises liability accidents the ability to seek compensation for damages, including:
- Past, current and future accident-related medical expenses
- Medical-related travel expenses
- Lost wages
- Loss of earning capacity, if applicable
- Physical pain and suffering
- Mental and emotional anguish
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Loss of quality of life
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- And more.
Also, in cases where the defendant's conduct is deemed particularly reprehensible, victims may also be eligible to collect a rarely-awarded type of compensation known as punitive damages. Rather than compensating the victim for an economic or non-economic loss, punitive damages are paid to the victim to punish the defendant and deter others from participating in similar conduct.
Our Attorneys Can Help You Fight for Justice and Compensation
If you were seriously injured in a premises liability accident caused by a property or business owner's negligence, you shouldn't be left paying the financial consequences of someone else's mistake. The knowledgeable attorneys with the Law Offices of Shane Smith can help you pursue the compensation you deserve. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for a free initial case consultation. Act quickly—North Carolina premises liability victims have just three years to file a lawsuit.