While lawyers and judges are the ultimate legal experts, of course, I believe that every citizen should take the time to learn a little about law for several reasons. First, it is important to know your rights, and knowing them can come in handy if anyone ever accuses you of a crime you didn't commit or threatens you legally in another other way. Second, learning about your local, state, and federal laws can help you act as a better citizen. When election time comes around, you can then truly understand ever change in law being proposed by a candidate and whether it benefits society or not. I plan to share posts about law topics explained in plain English on my new blog, so you can come back often to sharpen your legal knowledge!
When you get injured on someone's property, you may be entitled to a settlement to help pay for your medical expenses. Slip and fall cases, however, can be extremely complicated, so your best bet is to hire an attorney and check out these three important facts you must consider.
It's Your Responsibility to Prove Fault
To successfully win your case against a property owner, you need to prove they caused your accident. Even if they didn't purposely hurt you, their carelessness may have led to your injury. Generally, for the property owner to be held responsible, there needs to be a dangerous condition that nobody bothered to fix. You'll want to prove this dangerous condition by taking pictures, getting witness statements and anything else you can to prove there was a dangerous condition.
You have a responsibility to keep yourself safe and watch out for potential dangers. So, if you were texting while walking and fell into a hole in someone's yard, you may be found partially responsible for your injury. If you live in a state that follows the contributory negligence system, you won't get any money if you are partially responsible. If you live in a state that follows a comparative negligence system, you'll get a reduced amount, depending on your level of responsibility. In this case, if you are awarded $50,000, but you are 20 percent responsible, you'll only get $40,000.
There Are Different Types of Properties
The three different types of properties include commercial, residential and government. If you were injured on a commercial property, there needs to be a dangerous condition, which the owner knew or should have known about. In other words, even if they weren't aware of the condition, a reasonable person would have, making them responsible. Last, they didn't do anything to fix the problem. It can get tricky to prove what conditions the owner should have been aware of, which is where a lawyer can help.
If you were injured on a residential property, the landlord may be held responsible, even if you aren't a tenant. The landlord can only be held responsible if they had control over the condition, they could have fixed it with little cost and it was clear the condition could lead and did lead to an injury. If you were injured on government property, be prepared for a battle. There are special rules and immunity provisions protect them from lawsuits. You'll definitely want to hire an attorney if you were injured on government property.
Cases Involving Children Are Handled Differently
If your child slipped or fell while on someone else's property, the process is handled a little differently. First, someone under 18 can't file a lawsuit, but you can file one for your child. If you win, it should be no problem getting reimbursement for their medical expenses, but depending on the extent of the injury, you may be able to get future income reimbursement for them too if they will be unable to work certain jobs.
Cases involving children are also different because children don't fully understand the consequences of their actions. Because of this, property owners have a bigger responsibility to protect children from attractive nuisances. Attractive nuisances are things that attract children but could be dangerous, such as pools. Similarly, children may not understand trespassing, so even if they sneak onto someone's property without permission and get hurt, the property owner may still be held responsible. Determining the extent of the child's responsibility or whether the child is responsible at all depends on how children of a similar age would behave.
If you've been injured on someone else's property, don't handle your own case. There are too many factors that could affect your settlement. Find a professional accident attorney in your area, such as those found at http://www.putnamlieb.com, to do the hard work for you.