Premise Liability

Premises Liability in Oklahoma

When you buy homeowners' insurance, it is not just to protect you against losses to your own belongings, but also to provide liability insurance in case of accidents on your property. The need for such insurance arises from the fact that property owners are legally responsible for providing a safe environment to visitors on the property. Premises liability refers to the responsibility of a homeowner, business owner, or other property owner to keep the home, land, and business property adequately maintained and free from hazards and unreasonable risk of harm.

If you were legally on someone's property - as a guest of the home or a customer of the business, for example - and you were injured in an accident caused by the property owner's negligence, you have the right to pursue financial compensation for your injuries.

The types of premises liability accidents in which a person may suffer a personal injury are virtually limitless. Following are some of the most common premises liability accidents:

  • Slips and falls
  • Dog bites
  • Dangerous environments
  • Lack of security
  • Swimming pool and spa accidents
  • Trampoline accidents
  • Daycare accidents
  • Amusement park accidents

Sometimes, people are hesitant to file a lawsuit against a neighbor for a premises liability accident. However, the homeowner's insurance should pay for your medical expenses and associated damages, and if the insurance company fails to pay, often a lawsuit is the only way to get adequate compensation.

Premises liability accidents are typically preventable through awareness of the state of the property and diligent maintenance. Sidewalks, walkways, and floors should be level and free from obstructions that could trip a visitor or substances that could cause a customer to slip. Damaged railings should be promptly repaired to reduce the risk of a serious fall. An "attractive nuisances, such as a swimming pool or trampoline, should be secured and supervised.

When negligent maintenance, lack of safety precautions, or inadequate security or supervision results in an injury accident, property owners can and should be held liable for the damages caused by their carelessness.

If you are hurt on someone else's residential or business property, get prompt medical attention and document as many details of the accident as possible. Then contact a premises liability lawyer with the Law Firm of Oklahoma for a free evaluation of your claim. If your attorney establishes the connection between your injury and the property owner's negligence, he or she can provide the legal representation you need to get compensation for your injuries from all liable parties.

Fall Accidents

When thinking of premises liability accidents, one of the first things that comes to mind is a slip and fall accident. While some fall accidents are relatively minor, a serious fall from a significant height can be fatal.

Fall accidents are sometimes the result of simple clumsiness, but often, they are the result of poorly maintained property. Slick or wet floors may lead to a customer's broken bone, and a railing failure or deck collapse can lead to significant head trauma, spinal injury, or even death.

In general, falls result from one or more of the following examples of negligent maintenance:

  • Slick walkways that are not cleared in adverse weather conditions
  • Wet floors from mopping or spills
  • Jagged or broken floors, sidewalks, or stairs
  • Obstacles and obstructions
  • Unstable surfaces
  • Unstable or broken railings
  • Unsecured rugs
  • Structures that are inadequate to support weight, as in a deck collapse

While a trip and fall may bruise little more than one's ego, fall injuries can be particularly devastating. Falls are by far the leading cause of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), a significant head injury that contributes to nearly a third of all injury deaths each year. Falls cause just over 40 percent of all traumatic brain injuries sustained each year, compared with only about 14 percent caused by motor vehicle accidents.

Falling Objects

Coming between falls and motor vehicle accidents as a leading cause of TBI are struck by/against accidents. These occur when an object strikes the head of an accident victim, or when the victim accidentally strikes his or her head against something.

A top cause of "struck by" accidents are falling objects. Often, these types of accidents occur on construction sites, which is why workers and visitors to the premises are required to wear hardhats. Nuts, bolts, tools, and building materials may fall from great heights, creating significant risk of injury or death.

Of course, construction sites are not the only places where falling objects may cause significant harm. On a homeowner's property, a dangling tree limb not removed can fall and injure a guest. At a home or business, heavy decorations not properly hung and secured can fall on visitors or customers. In a retail establishment, structurally unsound displays can collapse and injure shoppers.

Minor injuries merit financial compensation for lost wages and medical expenses; catastrophic head injuries may also incur damages including prolonged medical care, disability, loss of income, pain and suffering, rehabilitation and therapy, assistive devices, and even funeral or burial expenses. If you or a loved one has suffered an injury after being struck by a falling object, call to find out how our premises liability lawyers can assist you.

Swimming Pool Accidents

Each year as Oklahoma temperatures begin to soar thousands of adults and children flock to residential swimming pools, water parks, and public pools to cool off. Unfortunately, swimming pools can be a particularly deadly form of recreation. Drowning is the second leading cause of death for children under the age of 5. Each year, more than 350 children drown in the United States, and approximately 1500 sustain serious injury from near drowning. Permanent injuries may include traumatic brain injury from prolonged hypoxia, or oxygen deprivation.

Additionally swimming pool dangers include diving board accidents, which can lead to TBI or spinal cord injury and paralysis; pool drains cause an entrapment or disembowelment risk; and wet and slippery pool desks cause broken bones and head injuries in falls.

The liability risks of pool ownership are high, and any business or residence with a pool must ensure diligent maintenance of poolside surfaces, drains, and diving platforms. They must also secure the property to prevent unauthorized use of a pool, and they are responsible for providing adequate supervision of swimmers. If a pool owner demonstrates negligent maintenance, security, or supervision resulting in an injury, drowning, or near drowning in the pool or spa, the property owner can be held financially liable for economic and non-economic damages associated with the accident and injury.

Dangerous Environment

Often, when we think of premises liability accidents, we think of injuries that occur as a result of poor property maintenance - trips, slips, falls, malfunctioning equipment, broken structures, and so forth. However, sometimes, the nature of the property is conducive to risk.

Among the types of premises liability is the responsibility for maintaining a safe environment. Dangerous environment lawsuits may involve workplace accidents where employees are not protected by adequate safety measures from the inherent risks of a job: toxic chemicals, heavy machinery, high scaffolding, and so forth.

Often, a dangerous environment lawsuit is the result of a business's failure to protect visitors from crime. Poorly lit parking lots, alleys, or sidewalks may be conducive to robbery or sexual assault. Lack of security guards or cameras may also encourage criminal activity. Of course, a crime can occur anywhere, but if a property owner fails to address high-risk situations, he or she may be held accountable.

In the event that the property's environment is inherently dangerous or that necessary repairs cannot be immediately performed, the property owner has a duty to secure the hazardous area, post adequate warning of the hazard, and implement safety precautions to minimize risk. Failure to do so may lead to an injury accident for which the property owner may be held financially liable.

Premises Liability Lawsuit

When an accident at a job site, retailer, recreational area, or residence is caused by the negligent maintenance or insufficient precaution of the property owner, those injured in the accident may be able to obtain a settlement or judgment award to fully compensate for damages. A damage award may provide compensation for hospital bills, ongoing medical care, lost wages, pain and suffering, loss of benefits, reduced quality of life, funeral expenses, and much more.

To find out if you have a case, call the Law Firm of Oklahoma at (405) 608-4990 to schedule risk-free case review by an experienced personal injury lawyer.

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Oklahoma City
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