Raleigh Premises Liability Lawyer
Premises liability cases involve people who are injured while on property owned by someone else. Property owners must ensure their premises are free of dangers that could harm lawful visitors. An owner who fails to uphold this duty could be liable for injuries a visitor suffers on their property, such as when a guest slips on a wet floor or falls down a damaged staircase. Hardison & Cochran Attorney at Law can help you demand compensation for your medical bills and other losses if you were hurt because of dangerous conditions on someone else’s property.
For over 30 years, our firm has advocated for injured clients in North Carolina. We’re ready to investigate your premises liability case and seek the maximum compensation you deserve. Call our Raleigh premises liability lawyer at (252) 333-3333 today for your free consultation.
What Is Premises Liability?
Premises liability is a legal concept that allows people who are injured because of unsafe conditions on someone else’s property to hold the property’s owner or manager accountable. Like many personal injury cases, premises liability cases are based on negligence. Negligence is a legal term for someone’s failure to provide the reasonable care they owe another party, resulting in that party’s injury.
You’re not necessarily owed compensation just because you were hurt on someone else’s property. Nor does an unsafe condition on the property make the owner automatically responsible for your losses. In most premises liability cases, the injured person must prove the property owner knew or should have known about the dangerous condition and failed to take the necessary steps to remedy the situation to avoid an accident.
Premises Liability Law in North Carolina
Premises liability law in North Carolina applies to properties owned by individuals, corporations, or governments. The state holds property owners to different types of people, depending on whether or not they are legally on the property, as follows:
- Visitors– Visitors have the implied or express permission of the owner to enter the property. This permission may be for the owner’s profit, in the case of a customer or patron, or for their mutual benefit, such as a social guest or repair person.
- Trespassers– A trespasser enters a property without the owner’s permission or the legal right to do so. Under most circumstances, a property owner’s only obligation to a trespasser is not to deliberately injure them. However, property owners can be held liable for injuries to child trespassers under certain conditions outlined by North Carolina law. An owner must take reasonable steps to prevent a child from accessing dangerous conditions likely to be discovered by a child. For example, if a homeowner has a swimming pool in their backyard, they must install a fence or enclosure to keep children out.
It’s important to know who controls the property where you were injured. For instance, if you are injured on public property, such as a government building, the municipality or agency responsible for maintaining the building could be liable for your injuries. However, the laws regarding premises liability cases involving government agencies are often complex.
Typically, sovereign immunity shields the government from lawsuits, including premises liability cases. However, the North Carolina Tort Claims Act requires state and local governments to waive sovereign immunity under specific circumstances. For instance, you could file a lawsuit against a government entity if an employee, state officer, or agent was negligent while acting within the scope of their duties, resulting in your injury. If you plan to file a lawsuit against a government agency in North Carolina, you must generally do so within three years of the date of the injury. However, there are additional notice rules and deadlines you must comply with.
Filing a Premises Liability Lawsuit
If you are injured on someone’s property, you could likely file a premises liability claim with the property owner’s premises liability insurance. Business owners often purchase commercial liability insurance in case accidents occur on their properties. Private citizens may have homeowners’ or renters’ insurance policies that provide similar premises liability coverage.
If the property owner is not insured or their insurer will not offer you a fair settlement, you could file a lawsuit against them. In North Carolina, the statute of limitations gives you three years from the date of the injury to file a lawsuit against another party. If you miss this deadline, the court will likely dismiss your case, and you will lose your chance to seek compensation for your injuries in civil court.
Whether you file an insurance claim or lawsuit, you could seek compensation for the following losses related to your injury:
- Loss of quality or enjoyment of life
- Hospitalization, ambulance services, rehabilitation, and other medical treatment
- Lost wages
- Lost earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Emotional distress
- Damage to personal property
An experienced attorney can review your case, determine liability, and explore insurance coverage and other sources of compensation to determine how much compensation you could potentially receive.
Common Hazards in Premises Liability Cases
Various circumstances can lead to an accident on someone’s premises, whether at a private home, government building, business, or public area. Below are the most common hazards in premises liability cases:
- Wet or slippery floors
- Cracked sidewalks
- Damaged stairs
- Walkway obstructions
- Unusual flooring transitions
- Inadequate lighting
- Unmarked walkways
- Unsecured floor mats or rugs
Building Code Violation Hazards
The government sets and enforces safety codes that every building owner and manager must follow. Violating these codes can endanger anyone living in or visiting the building. Multiple types of building code violations can lead to injuries, such as:
- Defective handrails
- Faulty electrical components and wiring
- Malfunctioning escalators and elevators
- Collapsed ceilings
- Uneven floors
Negligent Security Hazards
A property owner’s job extends beyond simply maintaining their property and following safety codes. Sometimes, they must also take measures to protect their guests against harm. The following conditions might indicate negligent security:
- Inadequate or missing security systems
- Poor lighting in dark areas of the premises, such as a parking garage
- Unmonitored entrances
- Inexperienced or untrained security personnel
Other Hazards in Premises Liability Cases
Other hazards we see in premises liability cases we handle include:
- Dangerous construction sites
- Broken glass on beaches
- Unstable shelving in retail stores
- Improperly restrained dogs
- Poorly maintained amusement park rides
- Lack of fencing around public swimming pools
Types of Premises Liability Cases
Property owners must maintain reasonably safe premises, remove hazards that can lead to injuries, and warn guests of potential dangers. This obligation is not limited to the interiors of buildings and homes. Property owners must also keep the property’s exterior in good condition.
A premises liability attorney from Hardison & Cochran can represent you in any of the following types of premises liability cases:
- Trips or slip-and-falls
- Swimming pool accidents
- Dog bites
- Elevator or escalator accidents
- Fires or explosions
- Building safety code violations
- Negligent security attacks
- Collapsing porch or balcony accidents
- Parking lot accidents
- Toxic exposure
- Construction accidents
Common Premises Liability Injuries
Premises liability injuries can be severe and have life-changing consequences. Some premises liability accidents can even be fatal.
The most common injuries in premises liability cases include:
- Sprained or broken ankle
- Pulled tendons or muscles
- Dislocated joints
- Exposure to hazardous substances
- Burn injuries
- Nerve damage
- Electrical shock
- Broken bones
- Back and neck injuries
- Internal bleeding
- Scarring or disfigurement
- Spinal cord injury or paralysis
- Traumatic brain injury
A slip or trip-and-fall occurs when someone slips or trips and falls on someone else’s property because of hazardous conditions. These accidents can often lead to serious injuries, including broken hips, legs, or arms.
The Property Owner’s Duty of Care
To have a premises liability claim, you must establish that the property owner owed you a duty of care and failed to fulfill their responsibility, resulting in your injury. An owner is not required to keep the premises in perfect condition, but they must take reasonable steps to maintain the property and to warn lawful visitors of hazards or prevent them from unnecessary exposure to dangerous situations.
Contact Our Premises Liability Lawyers in Raleigh, NC
A premises liability case can be complex, especially for someone who hasn’t handled one before. If you’ve been hurt on someone else’s property, it’s essential that you have effective legal representation to help you demand the compensation and accountability you deserve. The dedicated Raleigh premises liability lawyers with Hardison & Cochran have over 30 years of experience helping injured North Carolinians. We have the skills, resources, and knowledge to build a solid premises liability case on your behalf.
You should not have to pay the price of an accident that was not your fault. Instead, call Hardison & Cochran at (252) 333-3333 or contact us online for a free consultation. We want to help you pursue the money you need for your injuries and related losses. Because we work on a contingency fee basis, you won’t owe us anything unless and until we win compensation for you.