Premises Liability: What to Know
Most businesses have premises liability insurance in addition to general liability insurance coverage. That is because personal injury litigation can be very costly, especially if the case is brought to court. Every case is different but let’s take a look at what can happen.
In a case worth almost $70 million that was brought against a Kroger grocery store in Atlanta, a Navy veteran was shot in a carjacking and robbery on the store premises. The shooting left the victim as a paraplegic. The highly-publicized incident left the man wealthy, but he will never walk again.
In another high-dollar settlement, a former Miami lab technician was awarded almost $70 million because he contracted mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos at work. This type of cancer has a high mortality rate and usually the patient dies in less than one year.
The value of a personal injury claim, of course, varies widely and most likely your claim is nowhere near the $70-million mark. And let’s hope not, since injuries can be serious and life-threatening. But companies large and small take no chances and pay huge sums to insurance companies to protect them from pricey premise liability lawsuits. So if injured, how does an individual take on the insurance company?
- Collect contact info from anyone that may have witnessed your accident.
- Find out if there was any camera footage on site.
- Take pictures of the dangerous conditions or missing caution signs.
- Request a copy of the incident report while you are still on property grounds because later, you may not have access to this information unless you actually go to court.
- Get evaluated by doctors, preferably emergency room personnel as soon as possible.
- Contact an experienced premises liability attorney.
- Preserve all evidence from the accident scene.
- Give potential defendants notice about your legal action.
Need to Know: Timelines and Statute of Limitations
Each state has different time limits for the statute of limitations, but generally, you will have a couple of years to file your case. There are circumstances where deadlines are not as long, for instance, when your case involves state, county, or city property.
As far as getting your case resolved, the time frame is dependent on your specific case. Your lawyer will want to make sure they fully understand your injuries and carefully take into account any long-lasting effects or medical care that you will need in the future.
A straightforward case without any outstanding issues will likely be complete within 3 to 6 months after your medical treatment is complete. If your case is more complicated and has unclear liability issues, then it could take significantly more time.
Determining Whether to File a Premises Liability Lawsuit
Your lawyer will look at the case in its totality to decide whether or not to move forward. Determining factors include the following:
- If you will be suing a small company or large corporation
- That company’s public profile and who owns it
- The extent of your injuries
- How clear cut your injuries are
- What the liability for the company is
- If there was any negligence on the part of the defendant
Counsel will meet with you to review the evidence and together, you will decide how to best move forward. Premises liability claims can be very complex and insurance companies are going to work overtime to make sure that they reduce your payout, delay or even get your case dismissed. A good lawyer will help you get the maximum payout with the least hassle from the insurance company.