Homeowners have a duty of care to provide a safe environment for guests and warn them of any hidden dangers. If you were injured at someone’s house, you might be entitled to file a premises liability claim or lawsuit against the homeowner. To seek compensation, you must prove that the property owner was negligent and that their negligence caused you to suffer harm.
You must provide proof to support your claims. Therefore, you must fully document the incident and craft a compelling strategy to tell your story. A personal injury lawyer can help with the process.
What’s a Premises Liability Case?
Premises liability laws provide that a property owner could be held responsible for injuries occurring on their property. The laws apply not just to commercial establishments but also to private homes. A person may bring a case if they claim that the owner’s negligence caused their accident.
Various incidents can give rise to a premises liability claim against a homeowner, including:
- Slips and falls on driveways or walkways
- Falls down poorly maintained stairs
- Dog bites
- Drowning or near-drownings in swimming pools
- Trips over uneven pavement
- Trips on worn carpeting
- Trips over electrical cords
If you are an invited guest into someone’s home and are injured because of a known hazard that the homeowner did not fix or address, the homeowner may be liable for damages you suffered. You can seek compensation from them (or their insurance company) for accident-related expenses and losses.
Proving Your Premises Liability Claim
When you bring a premises liability claim against a homeowner, it’s not enough for you to simply say that you deserve compensation because you were injured on their property. You must prove that the homeowner was negligent, which led to your accident.
Generally, demonstrating negligence requires proving the following four elements:
- The homeowner owed you a duty of care: When a homeowner has guests, they must ensure that their property is safe and repair any hazardous conditions or warn the visitors about any lurking dangers.
- The homeowner breached their duty of care: The homeowner can be considered in breach of their duty of care if they did not address known dangers on their property or at least notify visitors of them. However, the homeowner might not be liable if a guest was injured because of an accident caused by an open and obvious dangerous condition.
- A direct connection between negligence and injury: The guest must prove that had it not been for the hazard or had they at least known about it, they would not have been injured.
- Resulting damages: The guest must show that they incurred damages, such as medical expenses, lost wages, or pain/suffering, because of the accident on the homeowner’s property. Compensation cannot be awarded if the injured party did not suffer expenses or losses.
To fully tell your side of the story and show how the homeowner’s negligence caused your accident, you must have evidence to back up your claims.
You must be clear about where the incident occurred when it happened, and what caused it. It is best to write these details down as soon as possible after the accident to ensure that you don’t forget any important details.
Additionally, you should take photos of the area where the accident occurred. Pictures of the scene allow others (e.g., your attorney, insurance adjusters, a judge, or jury) to see the property conditions when you were injured. It’s important to get photos right away in case the homeowner repairs the issue before your claim is investigated.
Be sure to get medical care right away. Having a doctor’s report and photos of your injuries can help show the insurance company or judge or jury how severely you were injured. Keep copies of your medical records and bills, including expenses for prescriptions and other services needed to treat your injuries. These documents are necessary for valuing your case.
Get Legal Help Through the Process
You may face challenges when trying to convince an adjuster, judge, or jury that your injuries warrant compensation from the homeowner. If you are offered a settlement, you may be unsure whether the amount is fair. A personal injury attorney can take care of the legal details and determine your case’s worth.