When you are injured as a result of a dangerous condition on someone’s property, you may have legal rights to help you receive financial compensation for your losses. This can include any time lost from work, to pay for medical care, and to compensate you for lasting pain. Yet, there are laws that govern whether or not the owner is responsible and outline specific deadlines to file your claim.
If you or someone you love has been hurt because of a premises liability accident, the experienced lawyers of Hastings & Hastings are here to help. Schedule your free case review with our Phoenix personal injury attorneys to learn how we can help you.
If we break “premises liability” down to its most basic form, we have two words: premises and liability. Premises refers to property, a business, a home, etc., and liability means being responsible for something because the law states that a person (or a business) holds that responsibility. Of course, from there, a lot of nuance is involved. However, when we talk about what premises liability means, we can summarize it by stating that someone (including a business) has or had a legal obligation to keep the property reasonably safe for people who are allowed to be on the premises.
In Arizona, property owners owe a duty of care to people who have a legal right to be on their premises, such as customers at a store or guests at a private residence. This duty of care means that property owners are obligated to take reasonable efforts to inspect their property for potential hazards, repair any known dangers, warn visitors of possible risks, and maintain the standards of safety expected by law. The level of care required depends on the status of the injured party.
However, there is a significant exception when it comes to child trespassers.
While property owners usually owe no duty of care to trespassers, an exception applies when the trespasser is a child. Child trespassers may be entitled to some protection based on the attractive nuisance law. This law obligates landowners to secure potentially hazardous attractions, like swimming pools or trampolines, that might beckon curious children. So, it’s essential to “childproof” a property, minimizing the risk of accidents and keeping the community safe.
Some of the most common premises liability claims that occur in Phoenix include:
When we enter someone’s property, we usually expect to be safe and not experience any harm. Unfortunately, accidents can happen, and in some instances, they might result in severe and life-altering injuries. Some of the most common injuries that occur include the following:
TBIs are life-threatening and can leave a person with long-term cognitive impairment. They are often caused by an unexpected impact, such as a slip and fall or being struck by a falling object.
Neck and Spinal Cord Injuries
These injuries can severely impact a person’s mobility and quality of life. Depending on the severity, spinal cord injuries may result in partial or complete paralysis.
Paralysis is the loss of muscle function and sensation in some parts of the body. It is a debilitating condition that can arise due to various premises liability accidents, such as falls from heights or accidents involving heavy machinery.
Scarring and Disfigurement
Scarring and disfigurement can occur from injuries that cause severe skin damage, leading to emotional distress and long-term medical care.
Serious falls or impacts can lead to broken bones and fractures, which may require surgery and extensive rehabilitation.
Internal Bleeding and Organ Damage
Serious accidents can lead to ruptured organs and internal bleeding, causing life-threatening conditions if not treated immediately.
There is no loss greater than the life of a loved one. In many cases, victims of premises liability injuries will eventually succumb to them, leaving their families with substantial medical bills and expenses, all while trying to handle their grief over their loss.
Responsibility for a Phoenix liability claim means who is legally liable for what happened to you. The short answer is any person who was involved in creating the hazard that caused the conditions that created your claim may become a defendant.
For example, you slipped and fell at the grocery store. It’s the store’s policy to have employees put out the proper amount of caution signs around the area, depending on its size, so that patrons know the area is wet or slippery. Everyone working that day is aware of the policy. The person working in the area before you slipped knew of the wet floor but chose to not put out the signs. That person may be liable along with management and the store owner because of the dangerous conditions.
The most common types of compensation that are awarded from premises liability accidents include the following:
From emergency room visits to physical therapy, medical treatment costs after an accident can skyrocket in no time. In premises liability cases, the property owner or their insurance company may be responsible for covering the costs associated with your medical care, including any necessary ongoing treatments such as therapy or rehabilitation.
When you’re unable to work due to an injury sustained on someone else’s property, the liable party may be responsible for compensating your lost wages. This not only includes the wages lost during your recovery period but also any future earnings you may lose if your ability to work has been permanently affected.
Although it’s impossible to put a precise value on the emotional distress and the pain suffered after an accident, courts recognize the importance of compensating victims for these non-economic losses. Compensation for pain, suffering, and the loss of enjoyment of life may be awarded to account for the mental and emotional impact the accident has had on your life.
Beyond medical expenses and lost wages, many accident victims are left with out-of-pocket expenses related to their injuries. These costs can range from transportation to and from medical appointments to the purchase of specialized equipment or modifications to your home. In a premises liability case, you may be entitled to reimbursement for these expenses as well.
In some cases, punitive damages may be awarded to plaintiffs to punish property owners for particularly egregious conduct. However, in Arizona, punitive damages are rarely awarded in slip-and-fall cases. These damages are only applicable in extraordinary circumstances where the owner or occupier acted with an “evil hand and evil mind.”
To prove a premises liability claim, you and your Phoenix premises liability lawyer must show that:
Premises liability claims can be complicated. Make sure that you work with an experienced Phoenix premises liability attorney who understands the laws and how to get you the compensation you deserve. Schedule your free consultation with Hastings & Hastings today.