Personal Injury Lawyers
Attorney Van O'Steen

Injury Claim Against Owner of Property Can Be Tough to Prove

Van O'Steen

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There is a widely held, incorrect belief that if you are injured on someone else’s property, you are automatically entitled to compensation for your injuries from the owner of the property or his insurance company.

In truth, these personal injury claims generally are among the most difficult to establish.  Often, they fail entirely and injured person receives nothing from the property owner.

As with all claims for injuries, a victim generally must demonstrate that a property owner was legally careless in a manner that directly resulted in the injury.  This can be a difficult burden.

Typically, an injured person has the responsibility to prove that the property owner, or one of his or her employees, created a dangerous condition or that he or she knew or should have known of the condition and failed to take reasonable steps to eliminate it.

By way of example, suppose you slip on a French fry lying on the floor in a restaurant.  As a result of the fall, you seriously injure your back.

In situations like this, you may never know who dropped the food on the floor.  It is also likely you will be unable to show that the restaurant owner or an employee actually knew of the presence of the French fry on the floor.

If the restaurant has a practice of regularly cleaning its floors, you may also fail in your burden to show that the owner neglected his or her duty to take responsible steps to prevent injury to customers.

An additional problem for those injured on someone else’s property rests in the legal duty to be mindful of one’s own safety.  If a hazard is obvious, you may lose your injury claim for failing to avoid it.

In other cases, the value of an injured victim’s claim may be reduced by the extent to which it appears that the victim’s failure to recognize and avoid the dangerous condition contributed to the injury.

On property you own or rent, you always should be alert to conditions that are potentially dangerous.  Where they exist, eliminate them immediately.

If a potentially hazardous condition cannot be eliminated promptly, post adequate warnings and create barriers around it, where appropriate.  Keep in mind that young children cannot read warnings.

Finally, always take care to avoid injury yourself.  Watch where you walk and sit.

Those who are injured on someone else’s property may find that their injury claims fall through one of many trapdoors the law creates for these claims.