Southern Indiana Personal Injury Lawyer Blog

Articles Posted in Land Owner Liability

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Many people may already associate premises liability claims with what is referred to as slip and fall injuries. However, these claims can involve a lot more than slipping on a store floor and getting hurt. In Indiana, there are a wide variety of situations that can lead to a premises liability case.

If a store or establishment has the ability and means to protect against a preventable injury, that place has the legal responsibility to enforce those protections. This can mean ensuring an uneven sidewalk is fixed or labeled as broken or uneven. If you break an ankle on an uneven sidewalk, you could have a a viable claim for monetary damages.

Banisters and sidewalks can be the source of injury just as easily as a store floor that is wet without a warning sign. If a banister leading up the stairs — inside or outside — breaks and gives way, an unexpected fall can lead to serious injuries. Also, a single step in a state of disrepair or otherwise unsafe can collapse and also lead to serious injuries.

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Shopping at stores is a regular part of life for most people. These visits have become so common that many may take for granted that they will be safe while visiting. Unfortunately, this is not always the case as store patrons are hurt every day in incidents that could have been prevented had the store taken certain steps. The injuries that could occur in stores run the gamut but include tripping or slipping or having an object fall upon a shopper, inflicting harm.

Sometimes the injuries are minor and don’t disrupt the life of the shopper. Other times, however, they are catastrophic and leave the person unsure of how they will complete tasks they once took for granted. For people in the latter situation, how to cover costs associated with everyday life may become an issue. Depending on the circumstances surrounding their injury it is possible these individuals could decide to file a premises liability lawsuit against the store where they were hurt.

To succeed in this type of lawsuit several things must be established. The first is that the owner of the store either knew or, in the alternative, should have known that there was a dangerous condition located on the store property. Second, that the owner of the store did not adequately maintain the store property or inspect it regularly. Next, it must be shown that if that dangerous condition did not exist, the patron would not have been hurt and the injury suffered by the shopper was due to that dangerous condition. Last, the injured customer must show that he or she suffered actual “damages” due to it.

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When most people think about devastating or life-changing injuries, their minds may naturally gravitate towards car accidents. However, it may surprise Indiana residents to realize falls related to premises liability situations are the number one cause of injuries. Injuries related to premises liability should be taken seriously and dealt with properly to ensure the best recover and the least amount of financial hardship.

The first step to evaluating if compensation for a slip and fall injury is possible is to understand what constitutes premises liability. Slipping and falling on a floor that is wet or slippery and not properly labeled or being injured by a broken step at a store certainly may be premises liability. However, many may not realize that being bitten by a dog and suffering injuries can also lead to a premises liability case.

A slip and fall premises liability situation can lead to mounting medical bills. Also, recovery time or rehabilitative needs may mean significant time away from work. If the injury has led to the death of a loved one, the costs of a funeral may be financially devastating also.

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Winter Premises Liability in IndianaThough southwestern Indiana has dodged snow so far, temperatures are falling and icy conditions increasing. Wintry conditions inevitably lead to slips and falls, some of which will lead to serious head, neck and back injuries, broken bones, and muscle and ligament tears, strains and sprains.For many who slip and fall, their first emotion is embarrassment and their first instinct is to blame themselves. Also, many premises owners will be quick to claim they cannot be at fault for folks who venture out into wintry conditions and happen to slip and fall. Accordingly, for many guests and premises owners alike there is a perception that a premises owner will not be liable when a guest does slip and fall in wintry conditions. Reaching such a conclusion without consideration of Indiana law and surrounding circumstances could be costly.

Indiana law on the hazards presented by the natural accumulation of snow and ice is clear:

a landlord does have a duty of reasonable care that the common ways and areas, or areas over which he has reserved control, are reasonably fit and that hazards created through a natural accumulation of ice and snow are not beyond the purview of that duty.

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People are injured everyday throughout the country. Depending on the circumstances surrounding an injury it is possible that legal action could be taken against those whose negligence contributed to the accident occurring. This is true regardless of where the incident occurred— even if it happens at a school.

The parents of some Indiana teens may be looking into pursuing this route. Seventeen high school students were hurt when the orchestra pit cover they were performing on collapsed. It sent the students falling into the orchestra pit.

Prior to the incident the original orchestra pit was removed. Someone who worked at the school then purchased materials and made a new one. A header that was a part of the new cover was not secured the way it needed to be to the stage. In addition, the metal supports it needed to hold it up were not used.

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Slip-and-fall accidents involve a lot more than slipping on wet floors or tripping on uneven surfaces. What is typically referred to as a slip-and-fall situation is actually a premises liability case, which can be extremely complicated. If you fell on another person or business’s property, an understanding of Indiana law is beneficial when determining whether a premises liability case is valid.

Sustaining an injury somewhere other than your home is not enough to make a claim valid. The accident that led to an injury must have been preventable had the owner, manager or other responsible party acted with what is considered an ordinary amount of care. For example, the lack of a sign announcing a wet floor can lead to injuries. Neglecting to remove dangerous ice or snow within a reasonable amount of time after a storm can also be shown as negligence on the part of a property or business owner.

There are other situations that constitute premises liability that are not necessarily slip-and-fall accidents. If equipment, such as an elevator door, malfunctions and you are hurt that may be premises liability, depending on the cause of the malfunction. If stairs collapse and you suffer a head injury or if you are bit by an animal, those may also be cases for premises liability.

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When people mention claims involving slip and fall injuries, they are most likely referring to premises liability cases. However, premises liability litigation in Indiana involves much more than simply slipping and falling in a store. When a preventable accident causes personal injuries on the property of another, grounds may exist for a premises liability lawsuit.

Slip and fall injuries can occur just about anyplace. Slipping on a wet floor in a retail store happens more often than many would like to think. A banister that gives way and causes a fall is another potentially costly source of injury, one which may have been preventable. An unmarked hole in the ground due to construction work can lead to injuries to unsuspecting pedestrians.

Aside from the type of injury, the preventability factor also matters. A business owner or operator of an establishment has the legal obligation to maintain a safe environment and act reasonably to prevent accidents to invitees. For example, if a store or business owner has not cleared the sidewalk or parking lot of ice after a storm and someone is injured, that business or establishment may face claims for financial liability due to any injuries suffered.

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When people think about personal injury cases, many automatically think about car accident injuries and ensuring car insurance companies award fair compensation to injured parties. Many people are unaware of other scenarios in which injuries are sustained by innocent victims due to the negligence of others. While the majority of personal injury claims do indeed involve motor vehicle accidents, there are many other incidents that can warrant personal injury suits in Indiana.

Some common scenarios that can be resolved by civil suits include slip-and-fall cases and negligent security cases. These kinds of accidents can result in devastating injuries, particularly to individuals who already have health issues. In addition, medical negligence and medical malpractice are also commonly cited in personal injury lawsuits.

Some personal injury suits may involve companies or entities who acted negligently. This can include incidents of product liability, such as when a company manufactures a dangerous product that results in injuries to consumers. Construction site accidents resulting from third-party negligence can also warrant personal injury suits when injured workers or bystanders sustain serious injuries.

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Many residents of Southwestern Indiana are animal lovers and naturally want to pet dogs that they come across. Unfortunately, some dogs bite people, and dog bites can cause severe physical wounds. In many cases, the victims are left with not only physical scars, but the event could cause emotional trauma as well. A sad fact is that children are often the victims of dog attacks. In many cases, dog owners face premises liability claims after such attacks.

During the National Dog Bite Prevention Week last month, it was reported that in excess of 4.5 million people nationwide suffer dog bites every year. In 2014, Indiana was at number 13 on the country’s list of dog attacks per state. During that week, the American Veterinary Medical Association in collaboration with an insurance company educated children and adults about the prevention of dog bite injuries.

The insurance company that was involved in the education project reported that it paid just under $3 million in claims for dog bite injuries in 2014. An Animal Control Officer says a lot can be revealed by the body language of dogs. Dogs with their tails lowered must not be approached. Also, bristled hair on a dog’s back is a sure sign of danger, and such a dog must be avoided.

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