Phoenix Premise Liability Lawyer
If you have been injured on someone else’s property, you may be entitled to recover damages through a premises liability lawsuit. While this type of lawsuit is fairly common after a slip and fall accident, it can also cover more types of injuries that occurred due to a manager’s or owner’s failure to maintain their property. If you’re not sure you have a case, speak to a Phoenix premises liability lawyer. An attorney can give you the guidance you need during this time and discuss what steps you need to take to hold the property owner accountable.
What is Premises Liability?
A property owner has a responsibility to maintain a safe environment for people who are visiting. A property owner can be held liable for a preventable accident on their land. If a victim decides to file a lawsuit, they will be required to prove the owner is at fault to recover compensation. Keep in mind, under comparative negligence laws, an accident victim’s negligence can reduce the compensation they receive or may even bar it.
Comparative Negligence Laws in Phoenix
In Phoenix, negligence laws follow the doctrine of comparative negligence. Under comparative negligence laws, an injured party can recover compensation for their accident, even if the injured party is 99% at fault. However, the plaintiff’s monetary damages are reduced based on the amount in which he or she is at fault. However, if the plaintiff intentionally contributed to or caused a death or injury, the state will block any recovery by the plaintiff.
How a Phoenix Premises Liability Attorney Can Prove Your Case
A premises liability case will typically be based on negligence. A plaintiff must prove that the owner failed to use reasonable care in connection to their property, which in turn, led to the injuries sustained by the plaintiff.
What is Level of Care?
Phoenix law establishes different levels of care that a landowner is required to provide to different types of visitors.
Many people assume that when they’re injured on someone’s property, the owner is automatically responsible. However, these types of cases are not always straightforward. One of the most complicated aspects of this type of case is determining who is liable. This is where evidence will come into play. The status of the visitor is a key factor in determining liability. Determining which category the injured party falls into will dictate how the case proceeds.
The invitee status will apply to anyone who stepped foot on the property to do business with the landowner. There’s implied permission when a business is on the land and open to the public. Invitee status can also apply to the landowner’s neighbors, family, or friends. The occupier or landowner owes an ordinary level of care to an invitee. This means that the possessor will be required to maintain their property reasonably. If they fail to do so, then they will be held liable for any resulting injuries.
The licensee status applies to people such as solicitors who are coming onto the occupant’s or property owner’s land for their own purpose. The landowner typically doesn’t owe licensees the same level of care as an invitee. However, they are still responsible for warning them about any dangerous conditions that can create unreasonable risk if the property owner is aware of them and the licensee is not likely to discover it before it causes an accident.
The trespasser status applies to individuals who do not have the authorization to be on the property owner’s land. Essentially, the landowner does not owe a duty of care to a trespasser, although there is an exception for minors. The property owner does owe a duty of care to avoid any type of foreseeable risk to children that may be caused by certain conditions, such as an ungated swimming pool. A trespasser can hold the property owner liable only if the property owner maliciously or willfully injured the trespasser.
Limitations on Recovery
In many instances, most jurisdictions will look at whether the injured party failed to exercise reasonable care to stay safe when on someone else’s land. There are a couple of main ways the law will handle plaintiff negligence: comparative or contributory negligence.
Arizona is a comparative negligence state. In a contributory negligence state, the plaintiff can be barred from recovering compensation even if they were only a little at fault. With comparative negligence, the jury or court will assign a percentage of fault to both sides. This means if the jury awarded $200,000 in damages, and the jury found the plaintiff 20% at fault, the plaintiff’s recovery would be reduced by $20,000. In some jurisdictions, comparative negligence is handled differently if the plaintiff is found to be 50% or more at fault. In some cases, the plaintiff may be prevented from receiving damages.
Questions to Ask Your Phoenix Premises Liability Lawyer
Below, you’ll find a list of some common questions you may want to consider asking when you meet with a premises liability lawyer.
- What type of damages can I recover?
- What happens if I contributed to my injury in any way?
- Does it matter if I’ve been on the property several times before my accident?
- What are the premises liability laws for landlords and tenants?
- Does my accident fall under premises liability?
Finding the Right Phoenix Premises Liability Attorney
Finding the right type of attorney-someone who can help guide you through your entire case-is important.
You’ll need an attorney who has experience in premises liability law and one with experience representing plaintiffs in court.
A lawyer will be able to anticipate any problems with your case and can advise you on how you should approach any issues. They will also keep you updated on deadlines and file the paperwork with the necessary agencies and courts, so you will have one less thing to worry about.
Premises Liability Claims
Every landowner has a legal responsibility to maintain safe conditions on their property, warning visitors, and guests adequately of hazards. This is the principle that premises liability law is based on.
Injuries and accidents governed by this law include:
- An accident that results from rental property conditions
- An injury that results from a sexual or physical assault due to negligent security
- An accident that involves a parking lot, sidewalk, or road defects
- Construction-related accidents
- Swimming pool accidents
- An injury caused by an animal attack or dog bite
A premises liability case can be based on an injury that occurred on public or private land. This means that the injured party will have the option of filing their case against both the corporation or business that owns the property and the private individual responsible for the dangerous condition that caused the injury.
Insurance Companies and Premises Liability Cases
Many property owners have some type of insurance whether it’s commercial general liability insurance or homeowner’s insurance. These policies will cover any injuries that occur on the property. If the owner of the property is found to be negligent, the insurance company will cover the plaintiff’s damages. This can include pain and suffering, loss of wages, and medical expenses.
What to Do Immediately Following an Injury
Serious injuries can result from a simple slip and fall accident, and it can be difficult to preserve the evidence needed to prove your case. Many steps need to be taken to preserve evidence and pursue your claim. The following lists some of the most crucial steps that you must take if you intend to pursue a claim.
Contact the Property owner
Like in any type of case, proper documentation will be crucial. Provide notice immediately to the manager or owner of the property. The purpose of immediately notifying the landowner or manager is that it provides credibility to your claim that the accident occurred on the date and time you claimed it did.
You must properly document the scene of the incident through photographs. This type of evidence will be invaluable and can make or break a case. The condition of the area can change quickly, especially if it’s immediately cleaned up by the property owner. Other unsafe conditions can be repaired within a short period of time. Because of this, if you don’t take photos to establish the condition at the time of your accident, it can be very hard to give an accurate description to a jury or insurance company.
Obtain Witness Information
In any premises liability case, it can quickly turn into a matter of he said, she said. An insurance company may argue that you didn’t injure yourself on the date or time that you claimed you did. If you’re able to obtain the contact information of all the witnesses who observed the accident, this will give greater credibility to your claim.
Seek Medical Treatment
If you’re injured in the accident and you need medical attention, seek treatment immediately. Go to an emergency room for medical treatment instead of scheduling an appointment with your doctor. At the ER, a doctor can examine you and take x-rays to ensure you get proper medical treatment immediately. In most cases, the ER doctor will request that you make an appointment with your usual doctor for follow up treatment. You must keep all medical documentation and follow each physician’s treatment instructions.
Contact a Premises Liability Lawyer
It’s important to contact a lawyer right away if you intend to pursue a premises liability claim. There are important notice provisions and time limits under the law that must be satisfied so that you’re able to pursue your claim against insurance companies and property owners. Evidence must be preserved, the witnesses must be contacted, and investigations must be made.
Following these steps can greatly assist your lawyer in representing you to obtain the best results possible.
Premises Liability Attorneys are Here to Help
If you’ve been injured on someone else’s property, consult an attorney immediately to determine whether you’re entitled to compensation. If you don’t speak to a liability attorney right away, conditions on the property can be difficult to recreate or identify. Engaging a lawyer who is familiar with premises liability will give the injured party a much better chance of dealing with their injuries in the best way possible. Because premises liability covers such a broad spectrum of injury types and situations, these types of cases can be very confusing for some people, which is why legal guidance from an experienced attorney will be crucial.
Contact the Top Phoenix Premises Liability Attorney Today
Each year, people suffer injuries due to a property manager or owner who failed to address dangerous conditions and potential hazards on their property. Unfortunately, it’s very common for a building owner to ignore problems on their property, especially during the winter months. A malfunctioning light in a parking lot or a cracked sidewalk may seem harmless initially, but these issues can lead to a serious injury or accident. Hiring premises liability lawyers with experience will significantly increase your chances of holding the negligent party responsible.
At the Ferguson Law Group, we will use strategies and courtroom tactics that will maximize your chances of recovering a large settlement. We have extensive experience with premises liability claims and know exactly how to handle an insurance company and negligent property owners to ensure you are compensated for your losses. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.
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