When Can Property Owners Be Blamed for Injuries?

Have you been injured in an accident on someone else’s property? If so,  you may have questions about when property owners are liable for accidents and injuries. In certain situations, you may seek compensation for your losses under North Carolina’s premises liability laws. Premises liability provides individuals with a means of pursuing compensation for their injuries in preventable accidents on another person’s property. These laws allow people who have been injured through no fault of their own to hold careless property owners accountable for the harm they cause.

Determining when a property owner is liable for an accident and resulting injuries can be complicated. We are here to cover property owner’s responsibility for an accident and how a personal injury attorney can help if you suffered harm on someone else’s property.

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What Are Premises Liability Laws in North Carolina?

North Carolina premises liability laws allow an individual injured on another person’s property to hold the property owner financially liable for injuries due to hazardous conditions on the property that were not corrected or posted with warnings.

Under North Carolina law, all property owners have a legal obligation to take reasonable steps to maintain their property in safe condition to avoid exposing lawful visitors to hazards. Property owners must provide adequate warning of foreseeable hazards that cannot be corrected immediately.

The Responsibilities of Property Owners You Must Know

If a property owner fails to uphold their responsibility to maintain the property in safe condition and a visitor is harmed, the property owner may be found to be negligent and be financially liable for the visitor’s injuries. Premises liability laws apply to individuals, businesses, and government entities that own or manage property.

Property owners in North Carolina are not liable for injuries to trespassers in most cases but are prohibited from willfully harming trespassers.

Child trespassers are an exception to the rule because they lack mature judgment. A property owner may be liable for injuries suffered by a child trespasser due to an “artificial condition” on the premises if the owner had reason to know that children might trespass. Examples of artificial conditions that might attract child trespassers include swimming pools and trampolines.

Types of Accidents and Injuries on a Property

Premises liability accidents can result from various dangerous conditions on a property. Some of the most common types of accidents that result in premises liability claims include:

Many North Carolina premises liability accidents result from carelessness or inaction by landowners. Several hazardous situations can contribute to dangerous premises liability accidents.

Examples of unsafe conditions that may lead to a significant injury include:

  • Wet or slippery floors
  • Ice or snow on walkways
  • Uneven or cracked flooring
  • Uneven or cracked sidewalks
  • Loose cords or wires
  • Unmarked stairs
  • Stairs without railings or stairs with broken railings
  • Obstructions in walkways
  • Products blocking aisles
  • Loose carpets, rugs, or tiles
  • Lack of warning signs
  • Poor maintenance
  • Poor lighting conditions
  • Faulty electric cords or appliances
  • Inadequate security measures
  • Negligent security

Premises liability accidents can cause serious and life-changing injuries. Slip and fall accidents are one of the most common premises liability accidents. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that falls are the leading cause of traumatic brain injuries in the United States.

Other injuries that are common in premises liability accidents include the following:

  • Broken bones
  • Burn injuries
  • Soft tissue damage
  • Neck and back injuries
  • Internal bleeding
  • Dislocated joints
  • Lacerations
  • Contusions
  • Sprains and strains

When Is a Property Owner at Fault?

When a property owner fails to take reasonable steps to ensure a property is safe for visitors, the property owner may be found at fault for an accident that occurs.

Property owners and managers must fix any dangerous conditions they discover and warn visitors of any foreseeable safety risks. For instance, a supermarket should clean up a spill on the floor in a reasonable amount of time and, in the meantime, warn shoppers of the spill to prevent them from slipping and falling.

8 Legal Steps to Take After an Accident in a Property You Don’t Own

Following a premises liability accident, you must immediately take steps to protect your legal right to pursue compensation for your injuries.

Here is what you should do after an accident on someone else’s property:

  1. Seek medical attention immediately to have your injuries diagnosed and treated.
  2. Follow your doctor’s treatment plan and keep all follow-up appointments.
  3. Document the scene of the accident by taking photos of the hazardous condition, your injuries, and any other physical evidence.
  4. Report the accident to the property owner or manager and ask for a copy of the incident report.
  5. Keep the clothing and shoes that you were wearing at the time of the accident.
  6. Avoid posting about the accident or your injuries on social media.
  7. Hang on to medical bills and invoices from accident-related expenses.
  8. Contact an experienced North Carolina premises liability attorney.

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Your Compensation in a Premises Liability Case

If you have a valid premises liability claim, you may be entitled to pursue compensation for the following losses resulting from your injuries:

  • Medical expenses, including hospital stays, surgeries, doctor’s visits, prescription medications, diagnostic tests, and mobility equipment.
  • Lost wages if you miss work while healing from your injuries.
  • Loss of earning capacity if your injuries result in permanent impairments that prevent you from working.
  • Damage to personal property. (Read our comprehensive Q&A on property damages)
  • Emotional distress, including anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
  • Physical pain and suffering.

Our Personal Injury Attorney Can Help You

Have you been injured on another person’s property? A North Carolina personal injury attorney from Hardison & Cochran can help you seek the compensation you need to cover your medical bills, lost wages, and other losses. Our skilled premises liability lawyers will investigate the cause of the accident, gather evidence showing the property owner’s negligence, and build a robust case to pursue the justice and financial relief you deserve. Contact our office today for a free consultation to learn more about your legal options.

About the Author

Hardison & Cochran was established based on the conviction that a modern approach was essential in today’s legal landscape. Focused on delivering exceptional results through a skilled team, the firm prioritizes personal attention, integrity, and client needs. Each attorney, paralegal, and staff member is dedicated to this vision. Over three decades, with Ben Cochran overseeing daily operations, the firm has evolved into a highly respected practice.

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