A premises liability lawyer handles personal injury claims that occur when a person is injured on someone else’s property. As a legal concept, premises liability holds owners liable for any injuries that occur on their premises, that is, their property, as a direct result of a property owner’s negligence.
Whether a residence or shop, by law, all property owners have an obligation and legal responsibility to their guests or customers to exercise reasonable care in maintaining their property. In other words, if you fall and fracture your wrist due to a broken step or an icy walkway, you have grounds to submit a personal injury claim because the injury occurred as a result of a defective or unsafe condition caused by owner negligence.
Situations That May Result in a Premises Liability Claim
Here are seven notable situations that may prompt you to consult with a premises liability lawyer:
Slip and Fall Accidents
In premises liability cases, slip and fall accidents are very common. As the name suggests, slip and fall accidents occur when a person is injured because of a slip, trip, and fall due to a hazardous condition on a property. In Maine, especially, slip and fall accidents change with the seasons and circumstances. A fall can result from ice and snow accumulation on sidewalks and parking lots, from wet and slippery floors inside a shop or restaurant, or due to uneven surfaces, potholes, and cracks on walkways, inadequate lighting on stairways, missing handrails, and torn, worn, or missing carpets, or debris and clutter left in walkways entering a house or apartment building. Any of these situations can cause a slip and fall accident that may result in a personal injury claim.
Swimming Pool Accidents
Another premises liability situation is accidents that result from unsupervised or unsecured swimming pools. The pool owner may be held responsible if you are injured or if someone drowns in a swimming pool due to a lack of proper fencing, safety measures, or lifeguard supervision. Pools must be secured by fencing, and any slides, diving boards, flotation devices, and the like must be functional and in good condition. Pool gates should never be left unlocked, and fencing should be high enough to prevent anyone from trespassing on the property, especially children.
Parking Lot Accidents
Parking lots present several potential hazardous conditions that could result in a premises liability claim. Apartment complexes, hotels, shopping plazas, businesses, restaurants, or commercial parking lots must be properly maintained and managed by the property owner to ensure the safety of pedestrians and vehicles alike. Parking lots should have visible and adequate signage to direct traffic flow, let people know where they can and cannot park, and clearly mark pedestrian zones to know where it is safe to walk. Parking lot surfaces should be free of potholes and cracked asphalt that could lead to an accident. They should be plowed and sanded in winter to prevent slip and fall injuries. Regarding security and safety, parking lots should also be well-lit to prevent assaults or collisions.
Animal Attacks and Dog Bites
Most animal attacks primarily involve dogs, which hold their owners liable. Maine is a “strict liability” state regarding dog attacks, meaning that their owners are at fault and can be held responsible for any injuries and damages to property, such as torn clothing or ripped shoes. This is especially true if the attack did not occur on the owner’s property. If it did, then you must be able to establish that the owner failed to exercise reasonable care, such as having the dog fenced in or on a leash to prevent the dog from attacking visitors or causing any harm or damages.
Unsafe Conditions and Poor Maintenance
Premises liability cases can result when dangerous conditions exist on a property, such as loose handrails on stairways, obstructed walkways, rotting or broken steps, or structural defects that can lead to injuries or accidents. A property owner must ensure that their premises, including all entry and exit ways, are free from hazards and obstacles that could harm visitors.
Whether working for a company or shopping at a store, the company is responsible for ensuring a safe environment for you, including adequate security measures. If you are assaulted in any common areas of the property, and you can show that the owner’s negligence contributed to the assault, then you may have grounds for a premises liability case.
Vacation Rental Properties
Popularity of vacation rentals has grown over the last several years. Unfortunately, not all of these properties are well-maintained. In such situations, any issues that create injuries or accidents in short-term rental properties, which the property owner or host should have been aware of and made their guests aware of, can be grounds for a premises liability claim.
Contact Maine’s Injury Lawyer
If you or a loved one has been harmed or injured on or by someone else’s property due to negligence or unsafe conditions, contact a premises liability lawyer at Hardy, Wolf & Downing. We offer an initial free consultation and will help you assess your situation, determine liability, and pursue legal action to get the compensation you deserve if negligence or unsafe conditions of a property owner lead to injuries or harm.