Alabama Premises Liability Attorneys
When you visit a private home or a place of business, you have a right to assume the owner has taken precautions to ensure your safety. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen and people can become seriously injured due to the negligent actions of others. For example, a landlord must maintain carpets in the hallway of an apartment building so they don’t pose a tripping hazard. If you visit a friend and fall and break your leg due to loose carpeting in the hallway, you could have a personal injury case that falls under the category of premises liability.
Status of the Visitor
Under Alabama state law, the liability of the property owner towards the injured person depends on his or her visitor status. The first classification is that of a business invitee. You would fall into this classification if you went to a place of business with the intent to conduct a transaction or gather information. The following are common examples of types of organizations covered by the business invitee classification:
- Retail stores
- Medical offices
- Salons and spas
- Amusement parks
- Insurance offices
An important distinction to make here is that people who visit a private home as part of their official job duties may also claim personal injury under the business invitee classification. A meter reader and a housekeeper are both good examples of this.
People who own a business or invite others to their home to conduct business must practice the highest standard of care. They must exercise diligence and due care to ensure that the property remains safe and warn visitors of any potential dangers. An example here would be a homeowner putting up a Beware of Dog sign or a grocery store manager placing a sign that the floor is slippery because someone just wiped up a spill. The law includes situations the home or business owner knew about, as well as those he or she should have known to warn about or correct.
Visiting a Private Home or a Business for Personal Reasons
The second category of visitor status is that of the licensee. This would be your legal classification if you visited someone as a guest with their implied or actual permission. Visiting a friend at home or at his or her workplace is an example of when you would be a licensee. This example includes businesses when a person visits one without an official business purpose.
The person or organization responsible for maintaining the property you visit as a licensee must repair known problems and warn visitors of potential dangers. Additionally, the responsible party cannot cause intentional injury to a visitor. The individual or business you visit as a licensee has less of an obligation for your safety than those in the business invitee class. The latter can be held liable for injuries that occurred due to something he or she should have known about while a licensee’s only obligation is to fix known issues.
The final classification deals with those considered trespassers on a property. If you meet the legal definition of trespasser, it means you were on someone else’s property without an invitation or without their knowledge. However, this covers a broad range of uninvited guests. It could be someone attempting to steal from a property owner or a person who simply walked across the grass to take a shortcut to get somewhere else.
State law makes an important distinction between adult and child trespassers. In either case, the owner of the property must not try to deliberately hurt someone. This includes such actions as setting a trap or firing a gun to scare a person who routinely walks across the lawn. When the landowner knows that others regularly access the property, such as when children walk across a path to get to a nearby park, he or she has a duty to warn of any known dangers.
The law also makes a concession for a classification known as an attractive nuisance, which means something known to attract children. A swimming pool is a primary example of this. If children live in the neighborhood and their natural curiosity would draw them to investigate the pool, the homeowner should place a fence around it with a gate and lock.
Even if you feel that you or a family member would fall into the classification of trespasser and therefore not win your personal injury case, it’s worth investigating in these situations. Slip and fall and inadequate security tend to be the most common reasons for a personal injury premises liability case no matter what the classification of the injured person.
Recreational Use Protection for Property Owners
A private landowner may be immune from some or all liability due to injuries that occurred when he or she made it available for recreational use. Camping, hiking, and canoeing are primary examples of the recreational use statute. When in doubt, it’s always best to speak to our qualified premises liability attorneys at McPhillips Shinbaum, LLP for clarification of the other party’s responsibility.
Possible Types of Compensation for Your Premises Liability Case
The most challenging aspect of this type of personal injury case is proving that the defendant’s actions or negligence and not your own caused your serious injury. Our personal injury attorneys have a combined 25 years of experience representing the interests of injured people and their families. We will seek a fair settlement to compensate you for your injuries, whether that’s in or out of court. Some potential areas of financial compensation include:
- Lost wages and loss of earning potential
- Past and future medical expenses
- Damage to your personal property
- Temporary or permanent disability
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering
McPhillips Shinbaum, LLP offers a free initial consultation to injured people across Alabama, including those residing in the counties of Augusta, Elmore, and Montgomery. The experienced premises liability attorneys and legal assistants at McPhillips Shinbaum, LLP look forward to meeting you and learning more about how we can help you through this difficult time in your life. Contact our office at (334) 262-1911 or online by using our website contact form.