While visiting someone else's home or place of business, a person may become seriously injured. Such injuries may have arisen as a result of wet floors, uneven steps or floors, falling objects, defective elevators, defective roadways and sidewalks, poorly lit staircases, inadequate security, dog bites, and other dangerous conditions on the premises.
Building and home owners have a duty to exercise reasonable care of their property to ensure persons are protected from an unreasonable risk of harm. This means the owner has the obligation to inspect the property and repair or adequately warn the visitors of dangerous conditions on the property. If the property owner knows of a dangerous condition on the property but fails to do anything about it, the owner may be held liable for any injuries suffered by visitors. Persons so injured have remedies against property owners or managers. They also would be wise to heed the following:
- Seek medical attention immediately. – The severity of one's injuries are not always apparent. This is the reason why injured persons should immediately seek medical care.
- Take photographs. – Now is the time to put to use that cell phone camera. Immediately take photographs of the scene that display the dangerous condition which caused the injury.
- Gather and preserve other relevant information or evidence. – Get the names and contact information of any person who may have witnessed the incident or who can describe the conditions of the floor, lighting and other conditions at the time of the incident. Talk to everyone who saw the accident; the more witnesses, the better. Also, preserve evidence such as shoes and clothes that were worn when the incident occurred. Items should be secured and stored without being washed, cleaned, or changed in any way.
- File or obtain an incident report. – If the incident occurred in a business establishment, inform the store manager or the security officer and file an incident report. Before leaving the premises, be sure to get a copy of this report.
- Preserve medical records. – The injured person may be eligible to receive reimbursement of medical bills, lost wages and other damages suffered as a result of the injury. However, these damages will need to be proven. Proofs will include medical records from treating doctors, details of procedures performed, and receipts of any out-of-pocket expenses such as for prescription medications or medical equipment.
- Do not sign anything without obtaining legal advice. – Following an accident in someone else's property, a person may contact you to get more information about your injuries or ask you to sign a release. Before signing anything consult with an attorney who specializes in these cases and who will be able to advise you accordingly. Our law firm offers a free case evaluation where you may ask questions and determine if you have a meritorious claim. We also work on a contingency fee basis; this means you will not owe your attorney any fees, if no recovery is made.
- Hire experienced legal help if your injuries are serious. – The insurance company of the property where the accident occurred will investigate who was at fault in the accident. They have an incentive to blame the injured person in order to avoid or minimize payment. These companies are not there to help you.
Just because someone was injured does not mean he or she can obtain compensation for his or her injuries. It may take a team of attorneys and experts coupled with a reasonable amount of planning and investigation to prove the case and convince the other side that the injured person must be paid.