Premises Liability Lawyer
What Does Premises Liability Mean?
Owners and occupiers of premises open to the public owe a duty of reasonable care to ascertain the condition of the premises and to either make the premises reasonably safe or to give warnings as may be reasonably necessary to inform lawful visitors of foreseeable danger. Under North Carolina law, you are not entitled to recover for your injuries just because you are injured on the premises of a business or company. Instead, you must prove that the business or company acted negligently in some manner which led to your injuries. Stated more basically, the owner or occupier of the premises has a duty to warn of or make safe dangerous conditions on its premises that it knows or should know about, unless the dangerous condition is open and obvious.
Slip and Falls
Slip and Falls often occur in grocery stores, restaurants, or other retailers due to wet substances, such as water, on floors and can result in a variety of injuries. In these cases, the first inquiry as far as liability is how the liquid ended up on the floor. It is a different situation legally when an employee of the store mops and does not put a wet floor warning sign up when compared to a single small puddle that is created when another customer spills a drink. In the first situation, the employee’s knowledge is imputed to the business and it therefore knows about the dangerous condition and should have done something about it, since its employee caused it. However, in the second situation, the most important evidence will be any evidence tending to show that the water has been on the floor for a significant period of time, such that the employees of the business should have seen it and either cleaned it up or warned customers about it.
Insurance companies often deny claims for injuries resulting from Slip and Falls because it can be difficult to present evidence to prove the business’ negligence, and, even if that evidence exists, the defense of contributory negligence will often be relied upon by the insurance company. It will argue that the dangerous condition was open and obvious enough that they did not have to warn about it and the injured party should have seen it and avoided it, or that the injured party was not keeping a proper lookout. Given the intricacies of the law regarding Slip and Falls in North Carolina, if you are injured in a Slip and Fall, you should contact our Slip and Fall lawyer right away.
Trip and Falls
Another type of premises liability injury is known as a Trip and Fall. The law regarding injuries sustained in Trip and Falls is very similar to the law regarding injuries from Slip and Falls. The difference in Trip and Falls is that, typically, the dangerous condition that the injured person trips on is a fixed, permanent object or condition. Therefore, the business, through its employees, almost always has notice of the existence of the condition. However, these dangerous conditions also tend to be much more difficult to make safe than, for instance, a water spill on the floor.
Trip and Falls often occur when there are defects in concrete curbs, out of place or damaged brick pathways, or other similar conditions. The law is not often on the side of the injured person in these situations, because it is typically easy for the insurance company or defense to argue that the dangerous condition was open and obvious to anyone passing by, and therefore it had no duty to warn about it. This can be an effective defense depending upon all of the facts and circumstances, particularly any pictures showing the condition at the time of the Trip and Fall. The larger and more obvious the dangerous condition is, the harder it will be to prove negligence on the part of the business. Our Trip and Fall attorneys provide free consultations and will meet with you and give you advice regarding the likelihood of success of your claim.
Even if your claim is denied, businesses often carry medical payments coverage that will provide for payment of medical bills you incur on their premises, regardless of fault. Our Trip and Fall attorneys can help you identify the availability of insurance coverage when you suffer injuries in a Trip and Fall to make sure you are not leaving any possible money on the table.