The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that more than 8 million Americans experience premise liability-related injuries yearly. It is possible to sustain life-threatening injuries resulting from these accidents. If you have injuries owing to a hazardous condition in another person’s or entity’s property, you have a right to pursue a premises liability claim for your losses. Indiana premises liability law holds property owners liable for injuries and losses because of preventable safety hazards that buildings or their grounds may pose. At Wagner Reese, our knowledgeable attorneys have vast experience in Indianapolis premises liability laws and will build a solid case to help you gain compensation for your injuries and other losses in the shortest time possible. Schedule a free consultation today to discuss your case with a skilled Indianapolis premises liability claims lawyer.
What Is a Premises Liability Claim?
Premises liability is a common legal term in personal injury cases when a defective condition present on another person’s property causes the injury. A premises liability claim occurs when a landlord, manager, or property owner becomes negligent, and their actions or inactions lead to an injury or loss. Premises liability claims may occur on both commercial and residential properties.
The Most Common Causes of Premises Liability Accidents in Indianapolis
Common causes of premises liability accidents in Indianapolis include:
- Slip and fall hazards: Slip and fall accidents are undoubtedly the most common type of premises liability claims in the United States. These accidents may occur if a property owner or manager fails to maintain their parking lots, staircases, or sidewalks properly. Other causes include wet floors not marked by warning signage, misplaced cords, and ice or snow. Should someone slip and fall on hazardous premises or grounds, the courts will likely hold the owners liable for the injuries.
- Lack of maintenance: Several types of building elements can become hazardous if not properly maintained. These may include light fixtures, elevators, and appliances. Should a poorly maintained elevator or appliance malfunction and injure a tenant or visitor, the court can hold the landlord liable for those injuries.
- Falling objects: You can also get injured by falling objects, which can happen during construction or maintenance. Material from poorly maintained buildings can also chip off and fall, causing injuries.
- Fire-related accidents: Another common cause of premises liability accidents is a fire that engulfs a building or structure. Although the property owners may not have caused the fire, they may still be responsible if the building doesn’t meet the established codes. The buildings could also have other violations such as lack of fire exits and lack of fire extinguishers.
- Swimming pool accidents: Another typical cause of premises liability injury is the presence of hazards in swimming pools. When in use, the owner must always properly maintain pools, and an adult, who can rescue someone if necessary, must watch over the pool. Failing to adhere to these standards raises the risks of injuries around the pool.
Types of Injuries a Premises Liability Accident Causes
In premises liability accidents, types of injuries range in severity from minor to life-threatening. Some of the most common types of injuries in these accidents include:
- Head injuries.
- Spinal cord injuries.
- Burn injuries.
- Broken bones.
- Wrongful death.
At Wagner Reese, we firmly believe that regardless of the type of injury, the injured should pursue the compensation they are entitled to. If the accident was the property owner’s fault, contact our experienced premises liability claims lawyers in Indianapolis today to help you with the case.
Indiana Liability Laws
Premises liability law in Indianapolis is complex. Establishing fault and filing your case before the time to file a suit elapses is vital to a successful claim. The following are some of the things to keep in mind when it comes to Indiana liability laws:
- Fault: Indianapolis recognizes three types of visitors on premises. The level of liability the court determines and apportions to the property owner depends on the type of visitor who was injured.
- An invitee: This includes anyone the property owner invites to the property. The property owner owes the invited guest a duty of reasonable care to guarantee their premises are safe during the guest’s stay.
- A licensee: A licensee is anyone granted access to a property through an agreement with the owner. The owner has a duty to inform the person of existing dangers on the property. They should also ensure their property is generally safe during their stay.
- Trespasser: This refers to an unauthorized person who accesses another person’s property. Trespassers typically don’t have a claim should they get injured on the property.
- Timely filing: Indiana laws state you should file your claim within two years from the date of injury. If you fail to submit your claim before this time frame ends, the court will likely dismiss your case.
- Concept of negligence: According to Indiana Code Section 34-51-2-6, the claimant cannot recover damages if their contributory fault is greater than the fault of the other person or entity. This means that if you are partially responsible for your accident, you can still pursue compensation from the property owner, provided you are not more than 50% responsible for the accident.
Common Defenses to Premises Liability Claims
There are several defenses a property owner may use to avoid liability. These defenses include:
- Comparative fault: Indiana recognizes the modified comparative fault rule. This rule establishes that the plaintiff’s damages lessen based on the percentage of their fault. Besides, if the court finds you more than 50% liable for the accident, you may not recover any damages.
- Assumption of risk: Under this rule, if you have injuries that happened during a risk you knowingly consented to, the court may prevent you from suing for damages. However, the assumption of risk is not a complete defense, meaning you can still recover some damages.
- Timely filing: As mentioned earlier, you cannot sue for damages if you fail to file your case within two years from the date of the injury.
What Damages Are Available in an Indianapolis Premises Liability Claim?
Damages from an Indianapolis liability case may include economic, non-economic, and punitive damages:
- Economic damages: These include medical bills, lost wages, reduced or lost earning ability, and life care services.
- Punitive damages: Punitive damages punish the defendant if the defendant acted with malice, fraud, or gross negligence.
- Non-economic damages: These damages include pain and suffering, loss of normal life, and emotional distress.
Contact a Premises Liability Claims Lawyer in Indianapolis
The complexities of Indiana liability law may make it quite challenging to pursue a claim independently. It is advisable to hire an experienced lawyer to investigate your case and help prove fault in your premises liability claim. At Wagner Reese, our highly experienced premises liability lawyers can help Indianapolis residents in any kind of premises injury. If you or a loved one have injuries due to another person’s negligence, contact Wagner Reese today to schedule a consultation with our knowledgeable lawyers.
This content has been reviewed by the attorneys at the Wagner Reese offices.