Premises Liability Lawyer
Every year, throughout the United States, tens of thousands of people who visit someone else’s property get hurt because of an unreasonably dangerous condition on the property. At Jacoby & Meyers, LLP, our attorneys represent the victims of these preventable, injury-causing incidents.
“If it were not for the integral legal team of experts at Jacoby & Meyers I would not be where I am today with my recovery. I highly recommend hiring Jacoby & Meyers should you ever find yourself injured in an accident, and an individual or company needs to be held accountable for their negligence.” -C.J.
About Jacoby & Meyers, LLP’s Premises Liability Law Firm
Jacoby & Meyers, LLP is a renowned New York-area personal injury law firm with a national reach. For nearly 50 years, our lawyers have advocated for the rights of people injured because of someone else’s dangerous decisions or harmful actions. Representing people hurt by dangerous conditions on someone else’s property has always formed a core part of our legal practice.
Over the years, we have recovered millions and millions of dollars for injured victims in cases involving premises liability. You can read about some of our significant successes. Of course, we can never guarantee that a client will recover money damages. However, Jacoby & Meyers, LLP clients nationwide can always rest assured that their lawyers have the experience, skill, reputation, and resources to get top-dollar results for innocent victims of other peoples’ wrongdoing.
About Premises Liability
Premises liability is a term that lawyers use to refer to the legal obligation property owners, occupants, and managers have to protect visitors from unsafe property conditions. The precise details of these obligations vary from state-to-state, but in most states, they depend on the type of permission a visitor has to enter a property.
The law typically categorizes visitors into three broad groups, each of whom enjoys different protections under the law:
- Invitees: Invitees come onto a property for the business purposes of the property owner/occupant/manager. They include restaurant patrons, retail customers, and hotel guests, and may include service providers asked by the property owner to perform a specific task there. Owners owe invitees the highest duty of care; they must fix any dangerous property condition, warn visitors about any danger they know or should know about, and keep visitors away from areas of a property that they cannot make safe.
- Licensees: Licensees come onto a property with the explicit or implicit permission of the owner/occupant/manager, but for their own purposes rather than the property owner’s. The law usually treats social guests as licensees, even if the property owner invites them. Workers who have implied permission to come onto a property, such as meter readers, utility workers, or building inspectors, are also typically categorized as licensees. So are people visiting public land for recreational purposes. Owners owe a modified duty of care to licensees. They must warn them about known, non-obvious dangers on a property, and must not intentionally harm them.
- Adult trespassers: Trespassers are individuals who come onto a property without permission. Owners owe relatively minimal obligations to adult trespassers. In most states, the obligation extends only to not intentionally harming trespassers (at least, not without provocation).
- Child trespassers: The law treats child trespassers differently. Under a legal principle known as the attractive nuisance doctrine, a property owner must take reasonable steps to protect the safety of children around any property feature that may attract them onto the owner’s property (which the law calls an attractive nuisance). Swimming pools, backyard trampolines, and piles of building materials often constitute attractive nuisances that a property owner must secure or monitor to protect child safety.
As you might imagine, putting property visitors into categories and then figuring out what duties a property owner/occupant/manager owed to them can get very complicated. Do not assume that you do not have rights relating to injuries you suffered on someone else’s land. Instead, trust the lawyers at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP and their years of experience to help you determine whether a property owner/occupant/manager owes you financial compensation.
Common Premises Liability Situations
A wide range of hazardous property features can result in an owner, occupant, or manager of a premises having liability to someone who gets hurt, including:
- Slip and fall accidents: This is the most common type of premises liability complaint. Slip and fall accidents are often caused by situations such as clutter or debris on the floor, icy walkways, poorly lit areas such as stairwells, electrical cords extending through areas where people walk, cracked pavement, poorly constructed staircases or broken or missing handrails, loose flooring tiles or torn carpeting, potholes in parking lots, or freshly mopped or waxed floors. According to the National Floor Safety Institute, falls are the most common reason for emergency department visits for nonfatal injuries, resulting in around 8 million visits a year in the U.S. Of those visits, approximately 1 million (12 percent) stemmed from a slip and fall accident.
- Swimming pool accidents: Drowning is one of the leading causes of accidental death among children ages one to four, and most of those cases result from improperly secured home swimming pools. However, swimming pool accidents can cause injuries to people of any age and can occur in other locations, including hotel or public swimming pools, and natural bodies of water. In most states, property owners must, at a bare minimum, place fencing around swimming pools to avoid the risk of small children using or falling into them while unattended. Other risks owners must address can include slippery surfaces around the pool, electrocution risks from pool equipment, unmarked pool depths, and malfunctioning drain or filtering systems.
- Fires: Fires, no matter what the cause, can leave a property owner/occupant/manager legally liable for injuries suffered by visitors as a result. Some common fire-related liability scenarios include hotel guests injured in a blaze, tenants injured in an apartment building fire, construction sites, or party-goers injured by an unattended campfire or cooking fire.
- Negligent security: Property owners must also protect visitors against the known or reasonably-knowable dangers of crime. Of course, no one can predict all criminal acts. However, a building owner who knows of potential criminal activity and fails to keep visitors safe from it by, say, installing adequate lighting and security cameras, may face liability to crime victims.
- Elevator and escalator accidents: Malfunctioning elevators and escalators can inflict severe and fatal injuries. Property owners must maintain these conveniences in working condition, or warn visitors away from them when they fall into disrepair.
- Dog bites: In many states, property owners have liability to anyone bitten by a dog on their property. Some states have a one-bite rule, under which the property owner is only liable for damages caused by a dog that had exhibited vicious behavior in the past. Other states have strict liability when it comes to dog bites, meaning that the owner is liable for any bite, regardless of the dog’s history of aggression. Property owners often do not face liability, however, if a dog bites a trespasser, if someone provokes the dog, or if the dog acted at the direction of a law enforcement handler.
Seeking Compensation for Premises Liability Injuries
Individuals injured by a dangerous feature on someone else’s property can often pursue compensation for their injuries by filing a premises liability lawsuit against the property owner, occupant, or manager. Every lawsuit has its own unique facts and circumstances, of course, and as we said, the law can vary in its particulars from state-to-state.
However, in general, a person injured by an unreasonably hazardous property condition can often seek to recover compensation to pay for:
- Medical expenses resulting from the injury, including emergency care, doctor visits, surgeries, medication, medical equipment, and rehabilitative therapy;
- Non-medical expenses relating to the injury, such as costs associated with hiring services to take care of day-to-day tasks that the injury prevents the victim from doing;
- Lost past and future wages owing to the victim missing work to recuperate, and to any injury-related disability that prevents the victim from working in the same capacity, or altogether, in the future;
- Physical pain, emotional suffering, and diminished quality of life inflicted by the injury; and
- In some cases, punitive or exemplary damages to punish the property owner/occupant/manager for extremely dangerous conduct, and to deter that conduct in the future.
As mentioned above, lawsuits do not come with guarantees. However, the most reliable way to recover the compensation you deserve after getting hurt on someone else’s property is to retain the services of an experienced team of premises liability injury attorneys, like the lawyers at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP.
What Attorneys Do for Victims of Premises Liability Injuries
Most people who get hurt on someone else’s property usually have a sense that they might need a lawyer to help them. Fewer, however, know exactly what it is that a lawyer might do for them. Because all premises liability cases have their own unique aspects, the tasks lawyers perform for them vary.
However, as a general matter, lawyers can:
- Investigate a premises liability accident to determine its root cause, and who may have legal liability for it;
- Calculate the amount of money a victim of a premise liability incident should receive as compensation for injuries and losses;
- Develop a legal strategy appropriate for the client’s personal goals and financial needs;
- Pursue negotiation with representatives of the property owner, and often the owner’s insurance carrier, to attempt to resolve a matter through a fair and reasonable settlement;
- Filing and litigating a lawsuit in court, when necessary, to obtain an appropriate resolution of a client’s claim; and
- Collection of damages from the parties legally liable for paying them.
The team at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP approaches every matter it handles as unique and deserving of personalized attention. Our lawyers meet with clients, listen to them, and develop legal strategies tailored to their precise needs. We never treat a legal claim as a cookie-cutter matter.
After an Injury on Someone Else’s Property…
If you sustain an injury that a property owner should have prevented, then following the tips below could help you protect your rights to seek the compensation you deserve:
- Take photos or videos of the scene of the incident, especially any hazardous property feature that caused it. Try your best to capture these pictures before the property owner has the opportunity to fix any dangerous condition.
- Get names and contact information for anyone who witnessed the incident.
- Report the incident and your injury in writing to the property owner/occupant/manager, and keep a copy of your report for your own records.
- Do not demand compensation, however. Leave that to your lawyer.
- Do not throw away any item or document that has to do with the incident or your injuries.
- Keep everything, from the clothes you were wearing to the smallest receipt for over-the-counter painkillers. Every item and scrap of paper matters.
- Do not accept any offer of money of “free” goods or services from the property owner/occupant/manager, or any related insurance company, as compensation for your injury. This is especially important in cases where you got hurt at a hotel or restaurant. Accepting a comped room or meal could harm your legal rights to the compensation you deserve. Do not say or do anything that someone could take as an agreement to “resolve things without getting lawyers involved.”
Call Our Experienced, Diligent, Premises Liability Lawyers
If you or a loved one suffered an injury on someone else’s property because of a dangerous condition or hazard, then chances are you have the right to recover significant compensation for your injuries and losses.
For a free, no-obligation case evaluation from an experienced, skilled premises liability lawyer, contact the team of professionals at Jacoby & Meyers, LLP today online, start a chat with one of our live representatives, or call us at 877-565-2993.