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Anyone can fall victim to the damages and losses that come with being injured on another person’s property. For example, an injured person may be unable to work or provide for their family even after obtaining adequate medical treatment, placing them at serious financial risk. It’s a frightening notion, but innocent individuals can and do experience serious personal injuries and even wrongful death all the time due to property owners who fail to safeguard their premises from possible risks. When this happens, victims need to speak with a Phoenix premises liability attorney.
Luckily, there are regulations that exist that make irresponsible property owners responsible for any injuries that occur on their land. If you or a loved one has been injured while on someone else’s dangerous property, call a Phoenix premises liability lawyer at Ybarra Maldonado Law Group. We can help ensure that the negligent property owner is held legally liable and that you are properly compensated for your injuries.
What Is Premises Liability?
Premises liability refers to the legal obligation that property owners, managers, and landowners all have to provide a reasonably safe environment for those who visit or live on their property. Customers, consumers, service personnel, and renters all fall within this category.
When a safety hazard or dangerous condition develops on the premises, property owners are legally obligated to give proper warnings, such as cautionary signs, at least until the problem can be handled or remedied. If a property owner is aware of a potentially dangerous condition and does nothing to remedy it, he or she might be held responsible if someone is harmed or killed as a result. This demonstrates an act of negligence, which is a factor that is required for a premises liability lawsuit to move forward.
Types of Premises Liability Cases
Premises liability law applies to a number of personal injury cases. Basically, any case involving an injury on someone’s dangerous or unsafe property could fall under premises liability law. Below, we list some of the most common types of accidents that occur when a property owner fails to maintain safe premises.
A slip and fall accident is what most people envision when they think of a premises liability case. If a property owner’s negligence leads to dangerous conditions, such as slick floors, uneven flooring or sidewalks, ice and snow buildup, or dilapidated stairs, this opens the door for serious injury. Slip and fall accident victims have a right to hold the property owner liable for their serious injuries.
Another unsafe or defective condition that counts as a premises liability matter is poor or negligent security. It is the property owner’s duty to maintain reasonably safe premises, especially when it comes to office buildings or apartments. If a serious injury occurs due to poor security, victims can seek to recover compensation from the property or business owner.
Property owners with dogs have a duty of care to control and restrain those dogs. This is especially true if they already know that their dog tends to be aggressive. If someone suffered injuries from a loose or unleashed dog, that person could seek compensation from the dog’s owner.
Another type of premises accident is toxic exposure. If property defects result in toxic substances being released, anyone who enters the property could be at risk of serious illness. It is the property owner’s duty to take reasonable care with dangerous substances. Anyone who falls ill from toxic exposure can seek legal recourse for their injuries.
Premises liability attorneys see a large variety of cases that fall under the umbrella of premises liability law. Other examples include the following.
- Swimming pool accidents
- Private property accidents
- Amusement park accidents
- Commercial property accidents
- Elevator and escalator accidents
- Building code violations
What to Do After a Premises Liability Accident
If an injury occurred to you on someone’s property, you could seek fair compensation for the defendant’s negligence. However, there are a few steps we recommend you take before jumping into a personal injury claim. Below, we list the steps to take after an accident occurred.
- First and foremost, seek medical attention. This both keeps you safe and helps your case. Having medical records about your injuries will closely tie those injuries to the accident.
- Report the accident to the right person. Depending on where your accident occurred, the right person will vary. If you’re in a business, this will be the manager or business owner. If you’re in a residential property, this will be the landlord or HOA. Having an incident report from one of these parties will help your case.
- Take pictures and videos of the scene. If you can, be sure to document the dangerous conditions that caused the accident. This will help to show negligence and strengthen your case.
- Contact a premises liability lawyer. This is an essential step if you want to protect your legal right to compensation. An attorney will also help you deal with the insurance company.
Premises Liability Laws in Arizona
Both federal and Arizona state laws require property owners to keep their facilities safe and to inform those on the premises of any dangerous conditions or circumstances that may emerge. While the rules vary depending on the state, the fundamental reality remains the same: property owners have a responsibility to keep their land and structures safe for allowed visitors and anybody conducting business there. Premises liability claims may be filed when an accident occurs on someone else’s property as a consequence of hazardous, harmful, or defective conditions.
Any personal injury action, including premises liability, is subject to a statute of limitations. In Arizona, you generally have two years to make a claim if your injury was caused by a property condition. However, depending on who was the owner or property manager at the time of the accident, the window for which you can file a claim may be shorter. For example, claims against government entities in Arizona have a filing window of only 180 days. That is why it is crucial that those injured on another’s property contact a premises liability attorney as soon as possible following their accident.
Common Types of Premises Liability Injuries
There are a wide variety of case types that may fall under premises liability. Some of the more common include slips and falls, fire safety hazards, animal attacks, falling objects, inadequate lighting, and foundational issues, such as dangerous stairwells or uneven walkways. Just as there is a range of types of premises liability cases, there is also a wide range of potential injuries that may stem from these accidents. Below, we’ll include some of the more common types of injuries that our premises liability lawyers see here at Ybarra Maldonado Law Group:
- Broken bones
- Back and spinal cord injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Electric shock
- Burn injury
- Wrongful death
Damages in Premises Liability Cases
These injuries, among many others, often require extensive medical treatment and can result in serious losses. Under premises liability laws, those who are injured or suffer losses of some kind while on another’s property are entitled to compensation for the following.
- Medical expenses, both past and future
- Physical therapy and ongoing medical care
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage or loss
- Cost of disability
- Loss of consortium
Under certain circumstances, the law may also award plaintiffs punitive damages to penalize a particularly egregious property owner. However, these damages are only available in certain slip-and-fall accidents in Arizona and if/when the property owner acted with an “evil hand” or wicked intent.
Premises Liability Statute of Limitations Arizona
In Arizona, victims have two years from the date of their injury to file a premises liability claim. If the victim dies from complications related to the accident, family members have two years from the date of death to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Who Is Liable for Premises Liability Claims?
A property owner who fails to uphold his or her duty to maintain a safe property can be held liable for injuries that occur on that property. They could also be held liable for any financial damages that someone suffers as a result of the accident. As long as your attorney can establish the defendant’s breach of the duty of care, you have a valid claim.
How to Prove Liability in a Premises Liability Case
To have a successful claim, you and your attorney must be able to show negligence on the part of the property owner. You’ll need solid evidence of your injuries and that the dangerous condition existed on the property when you were there. Then, you need to connect your injuries with that dangerous condition.
Establishing Negligence in a Premises Liability Claim
Negligence is one of the most important parts of most personal injury cases. In order to show fault, you need to show the following three elements.
- The defendant owed you a duty of care. Property owners have a duty of care to maintain a reasonably safe property, as well as to take steps to minimize the risk of injury. One example is putting up a wet floor sign after a spill.
- They breached that duty of care. You must show that the property owner failed to maintain a safe property due to negligence or carelessness. Showing negligence involves proving that the property owner knew about a dangerous condition on their property but did nothing to fix it.
- That breach caused your injury. The last step is to connect the breach of duty with your injury. This is where your attorney will come in very handy. Gathering physical evidence and witness testimonies is crucial.
What A Premises Liability Lawyer Can Do For You
A plaintiff must be able to prove that their injuries were a direct result of the property owner’s carelessness and negligence in order to win a premises liability claim. This may appear to be a simple task to complete on your own, but think again. You should anticipate the property owner to reject any and all responsibility if you are harmed on their property, whether it is residential or commercial. It is up to your attorney to demonstrate that the property owner was, in fact, negligent by proving the following:
- The property was in a dangerous state at the time of your visit.
- The property’s hazardous state was known to, or should have been known to, the property owner.
- Your injuries were a direct result of the said hazardous state.
You’ll need more than just your own personal account of the occurrence to prove the above-mentioned factors. To identify the real cause of your injuries and the premises on which they occurred, your Phoenix personal injury attorney will conduct their own private investigation to gather as much evidence on your behalf as possible.
You’ll also have to prove your injuries from a medical viewpoint in addition to presenting your personal testimony. Here, a premises liability lawyer can assist you by obtaining proof from any treating doctors as well as by providing medical bills and expert testimony on the losses you’ve sustained.
In addition to this, premises liability lawyers can assist you in developing your initial claim, organizing facts and evidence in your favor, and identifying faults in the opposing party’s case in order to assist you in obtaining the compensation you deserve.
Contact an Experienced Premises Liability Lawyer in Phoenix, AZ
At Ybarra Maldonado Law Group, our Phoenix and Tucson premises liability attorneys have spent the entirety of their legal careers defending the rights of people all throughout Arizona. If you or someone you care about has been harmed as a result of dangerous property conditions, please call us as soon as possible to get to work on your case. Our law firm can assist you in determining whether or not you have grounds to bring a case, as well as collaborate with you to develop a strategy that best meets your demands. Call YMLG today at (602) 910-4040 to schedule a consultation, establish an attorney-client relationship with us, and get the top personal injury lawyers in Phoenix on your side.
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