When you go to a grocery store or walk through someone’s front door, you probably expect that no harm will come to you, as you should. When any visitor goes onto another property, they can expect to be on a premise that is reasonably safe and free of hazards, dangers, or anything that could cause them harm. However, the reality is that injuries can happen at any place, at any time. If you are injured on another property, you may be wondering who is liable for your injuries. The good news is that premises liability laws exist to protect people in these very situations.
Duty Owed To Visitors Under Premises Liability Laws
While each state has its own nuanced version of premises liability laws, each one essentially says that property owners have a legal duty of care to protect guests and visitors from harm by maintaining their premises in a reasonably safe condition.
The specific duty of care will vary based on circumstances of the situation and physical aspects of the property, but in general, it will require the property owner to:
- Regularly inspect the property
- Identify any potential hazards
- Make timely repairs
- Warn guests of any potential dangers
When a property owner fails to uphold this duty of care, it means that they acted negligently and may be held liable for injuries sustained by visitors. Your premises liability attorney can review your case to determine whether the property owner’s negligence caused your injuries.
Distinguishing Between Licensees, Trespassers, and Invitees
Mississippi premises liability laws distinguish an injured individual as one of the following: licensees, trespassers, and invitees. This classification is important, as it will guide what duty was owed to the injured individual.
- Trespasser: one that enters a property without a license, invitation, or other right
- Licensee: one who enters another property for his/her own convenience, pleasure or benefit pursuant to the license or implied permission of the owner
- Invitee: one that enters a property by the expressed or implied invitation of the owner or occupant for their mutual advantage
If you are a trespasser or licensee, the property owner has a duty not to willfully harm you. Invitees have the highest duty of care owed to them; property owners must ensure that their property is both reasonably safe and provide adequate warnings.
What To Do If You’re Injured On Another Property
Just like with a car crash, truck collision, or any other type of accident, the steps you take after an injury on another property are crucial to ensuring that your rights to compensation are protected:
- Seek medical treatment immediately
- Take photographs, videos, and witness testimonies
- Call the police or file a police report about the incident
- Obtain any video footage, if it exists
- Preserve medical records
- Contact an attorney for help filing a claim
- Do not speak with the insurance adjuster or sign anything without legal counsel
Proving Liability In A Premises Liability Case
When you’re injured on another property, you should not hesitate to reach out for legal assistance and pursue compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and other damages.
But just because you file a premises liability claim with the insurance company does not mean that they will readily pay up. Remember, insurance companies are businesses and will deny claims if they believe there is insufficient evidence to prove negligence and direct causation for your injuries.
In order to successfully pursue damages in a Mississippi premises liability case, your attorney must prove four elements are present:
- There was a duty owed to you. As a visitor, the property owner owed you a certain duty of care specified by premises liability laws.
- There was a breach of duty of care. The property owner failed to uphold their duty of care by not maintaining the property or fixing a hazard.
- The breach of duty resulted in injury. You sustained an injury as a direct result of the property owner’s failure to maintain the premises.
- The injury caused damages. You must have sustained an injury that led to damages, such as medical bills and lost wages.
With over 100 years of combined experience, the injury attorneys at Chatham Gilder Howell Pittman know that each case is different from the next. That’s why we take a personalized approach to each one and craft a unique legal strategy that maximizes your chances of financial recovery.
Let us take the stress off of your shoulders so you can focus on healing the right way. There are absolutely no fees and no obligations to simply sit down with our legal team and discuss what your options are moving forward with our firm.
Our top priority is making sure our communities, staff, and clients stay safe and healthy. If you are social distancing amid the pandemic, we are also available for phone and video consultations. We are available 24/7, so please don’t hesitate to reach out for more information.
Contact Chatham Gilder Howell Pittman at (662) 222-0597 to schedule your free case evaluation.