Premises Liability

Noblesville Premises Liability Lawyer

Property owners can be held responsible for accidents that occur on their land, whether the property in question is commercial or residential. A person that has been injured because of what they believe to be the fault of a landowner should seek the guidance of a Noblesville premises liability lawyer. Premises liability comes down to a legal evaluation of negligence in which seemingly small details can make a significant difference in determining where the fault ultimately lies

Dollard Evans Whalin fights hard on every detail of a premises liability case because we know that small details may add up to big dollars for our clients. Call our Noblesville office today at (317) 854-5877 or contact us online. We offer free consultations to clients throughout the state of Indiana.

When Can A Premises Liability Lawsuit Be Filed in Indiana?

To best understand when a lawsuit has a reasonable chance of success, we’ll consider the elements of negligence, the types of visitors that may come on to a property and the factors a court will consider in evaluating the property owner’s actions.

4 Elements of Negligence

There are four basic elements of negligence that must be present in premises liability and with all personal injury cases. 

Those elements are:

  • Duty of Care
  • Breach of Duty
  • Causation
  • Damages

Depending on the circumstances of the case, the first of the four can present a unique challenge in premises liability. It’s the question of whether or not the property owner had any responsibility whatsoever toward the well-being of the plaintiff.

Does a homeowner owe a duty of care to an uninvited guest at a party? Does a business owner owe a duty of care to someone who has left the shop and is in the parking lot? These gray areas do not always exist in other personal injury cases. For example, there’s no dispute in medical malpractice that a doctor owes a duty of care to the patient. There’s no dispute in car accident cases that a driver owes a duty of care to everyone else on a public road.

Premises liability cases, depending on their circumstances can be less clear-cut. A Noblesville premises liability lawyer must then look at what type of visitor the injured person was.

3 Types of Property Visitors

Indiana law puts visitors to a property into three general categories:

  • Invitees
  • Licensees
  • Trespassers

Invitees are owed the highest duty of care. A person who gets a direct invitation to someone’s home is now owed a duty.

Licensees are not far behind when it comes to being owed a duty of care. A licensee is someone who has given implied permission to come onto a property. A perfect example is customers at a store. Once a store is open for business, it’s generally accepted that people are invited in. They don’t need an express invitation for duty of care to take effect.

Generally speaking, trespassers are not owed a duty of care. But there are exceptions, particularly in areas where children are likely to be involved. The law does not expect children to have the same knowledge of property boundaries that would exist with an adult. A property owner with a potentially dangerous dog or an unfenced pool could be held liable for any accident that occurs because of the trespassing.

Now, simply because duty of care exists does not make the property owner responsible for every bad thing that could happen to a visitor. For liability to be established, the Noblesville premises liability lawyer must show a breach of duty.

Two Factors in Breach of Duty

A court will look at two basic factors in determining whether a property owner breached their duty of care:

  • Reasonability
  • Foreseeability

Put simply, was the accident something that might have been foreseeable by a reasonable person? If it was, were reasonable steps taken to mitigate the possibilities of an accident.

Courts are to strive for fairness. It’s understood that not every business can clean up a spill within seconds of its occurrence. Not every homeowner can shovel their walk the instant the snow disappears. Property owners might well take reasonable steps to warn visitors of potential dangers. In cases like these, a court may well determine that no breach existed. But when people fail to act in a reasonable manner to prevent foreseeable accidents, they can be held accountable in a premises liability lawsuit.

Once the breach of a duty of care is established, an attorney must show causation–a clear link between the breach and the injury. Then damages–the costs, both financial and otherwise, that happened precisely because of this accident. When you have all four factors–duty of care, breach, causation, and damages, you have negligence. And you have a winning premises liability lawsuit.

Dollard Evans Whalin serves the entire Indiana community out of our Noblesville office. Call today at (317) 854-5877 or contact us online to set up a free consultation.

Prisoners Have Rights Too

The fact someone is serving a prison sentence doesn’t mean there isn’t an obligation on the part of prison leadership to keep the premises safe. Anything from slip and falls caused by staff negligence in cleaning up to a failure to provide adequate medical care to injuries directly caused by guards and staff all the way to wrongful death can form the basis of a premises liability lawsuit against a prison.

An inmate and their family might feel discouraged at what can be a complex process. The Prison Litigation Reform Act requires that all other remedies be tried before a lawsuit is filed. This involves paperwork and appeals through the existing administrative structure of the prison. The discouragement on the part of inmates is understandable–but a lawyer familiar with the system can provide a great deal of help.

Whether it’s the Hamilton County Prison, the federal prison in Terre Haute, or any one of the 18 state prisons here in Indiana, Dollard Evans Whalin wants to help.

From our Noblesville office, Dollard Evans Whalin serves the entire state of Indiana. Call today at (317) 854-5877 or contact us online to set up a free consultation.

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