Many people assume that if they are injured in a store, parking lot, or another person’s home, the property owner will pay for their damages such as medical bills. Unfortunately, insurance companies typically refuse to pay injury claims until you can prove fault on the part of the property owner. This can be difficult to do without a lawyer’s help. At the law firm of Chatham Gilder Howell Pittman, our lawyers handle slip-and-fall, trip-and-fall, and other types of premises liability cases in North Mississippi. We offer free initial consultations to discuss your case and answer your questions.
What Is Premises Liability?
A property owner has a duty to protect guests from obvious dangers that could result in serious injury. This area of law, which is known as premises liability, applies to businesses, local governments, casinos, homeowners, and other property owners. To be held responsible, however, the property owner must have been behaving negligently
Examples of negligence include:
- Failing to indicate a wet floor
- Failing to maintain safe conditions on a property
- Code violations such as missing handrails on stairs
- Americans With Disabilities Act violations for walkways and entrances
- Dog bites or animal attacks, as long as the guest did not taunt or abuse the animal
- Employees not paying attention to stacking procedures or how they are handling items
- Unsafe conditions or poorly trained staff at daycare or child care facilities that lead to injuries
In Mississippi, a property owner or one who occupies property or land owes a limited duty to people who visit or work on their property. Mississippi law makes a distinction between a trespasser, a licensee, or an invitee. The owner should exercise reasonable care for those people who enter their property legally. Basically, this means that they should ensure that their property is safe and presents no obvious hazards that could cause harm.
When a hazard exists they must correct it in a reasonable amount of time. Much of this is open to legal interpretation and must be proven in court. There are specific circumstances that must be present when claiming fault under premises liability. Other issues may not be required, but they can give weight to your claim. These factors include some of the following.
- You were injured on the premises due to some type of hazard or negligence.
- You were on the premises lawfully as an invitee or a licensee.
- The hazard must have been under the management of the owner or property manager.
- The responsible party must have either known of the hazard, or the situation is such that he should have been aware of it.
- The hazard wasn’t brand new, so there would have been time for the owner or manager to take protective measures.
Other factors that can bearing is how long the hazard went unattended, whether the owner took any rudimentary measures to correct the problem, and if there were procedures in place to deal with potential hazards on the property.
Types of Premises Liability Claims
In addition to the slip, trip, and/or step and fall scenarios, there are many other common situations where premises liability applies.
- Drowning, diving and drain entrapment injuries in swimming pools
- Being assaulted on the property of another due to their negligent security practices
- Injurious stairway falls due to missing railings and broken steps
Our premises liability attorneys in Southaven are experienced in negotiating with insurance companies to encourage them to do the right thing when an innocent person is injured. Damages are typically paid by homeowners or general business liability insurance.
We will seek damages that will cover all your medical needs, including extensive care and treatment for catastrophic injuries. If you suffered an injury on another person’s property while performing your job, we can also help you manage a workers’ compensation claim or apply for disability benefits, if your injuries were severe enough to warrant a claim.
Contact us today to set up a free and confidential consultation.
Chatham Gilder Howell Pittman helps those who have a premise liability claim throughout Northern Mississippi including the cities of Southaven and Hernando as well as the counties of DeSoto, Marshall, Tate, and Tunica.