Legal Duty of Property Owners to Protect their Visitors from Harm

Jun 09

The US National Safety Council (NSC) Injury Facts records more than 8 million slip and fall accidents every year, making this type of accident one of the top causes of serious injuries in the U.S. and the most frequent type of accident that results in lawsuits (premises liability lawsuit).

Slip and fall accidents can be caused by wet or icy surfaces, moss-filled floors, uneven floors or walkways (especially those that are not well illuminated), unstable surfaces, exposed wires, absences of railings or guardrails, uncovered metal or wooden pegs, faulty stairs, unmarked obstacles, and so forth. While this type of accident can happen to anyone, those who are most seriously affected and hurt are people 55 years old and above. Injuries can include a fractured wrist or elbow, knee injury, torn muscle and ligament, back pain and fractured hip.

A slip and fall accident can happen not only in public places, such as hospitals, churches, malls, restaurants and near swimming pools, but also in private residences where one goes to as a visitor (as an invitee, a licensee or a trespasser, who is an unwelcome visitor, of course).

Identifying an injured visitor’s status on the premise or reason why he/she entered into another’s land entails major legal significance as it will determine a property owner’s extent of responsibility for the safety and well-being of his/her visitor, as well as the extent of a visitor’s rights in seeking compensation. And where protection from harm is the issue, invitees are afforded the highest level.

An invitee refers to a person who has received (direct or implied) invitation from the property owner to come onto his/her property to further the owner’s purposes. Persons directly invited to special family gatherings, such as anniversaries, or those entering a shop to transact business with the store owner, are considered invitees.

Invitees are types of guests who naturally assume that the place they enter onto is totally safe; thus, in the event of an accident, which results to an invitee’s injury, the property owner (or anyone directly responsible for the maintenance of the place) can be held totally responsible.

A licensee is another type of guest who has been granted permission to be on the owner’s property; his/her presence there, though, is personal, as it is for his/her own purpose or amusement. Family friends and party guests (and those to whom an open invitation to visit has been extended) fit this visitor description.

Property owners are also obligated by law to ensure the total safety of licensees, unlike in the case of trespassers, towards whom owners do not owe the responsibility of giving warnings about the dangers naturally occurring on the premises (unless the owner becomes aware of a trespasser’s presence).

Property owners or those responsible in the maintenance or upkeep of a place, but who negligently fail to perform their duty, can be held accountable under the premises liability laws, in the event of an injury.

As explained by the law firm Crowe & Mulvey, LLP, there are a number of different ways in which individuals may be put in danger of suffering a serious injury by unsafe premises, resulting in a premises liability claim. Some of the most common reasons people seek legal help for premises liability claims include: dog bites, slip and fall, elevator and escalator injuries, porch collapse, stair collapse, fires, lead paint poisoning, mercury poisoning or swimming pool injuries. As a guest at someone else’s home, or a patron of a business, you have a right to expect that a certain level of safety will be provided for you.

 

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Radon exposure at home

Oct 08

Radon is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless radioactive gas that is a by-product of uranium decay. It can be found in rocks, soil, and water, and can penetrate your home through fissures and cracks in the basement walls and crawl spaces. Although radon has been used for different medical and scientific purposes, exposure to it may result in different health complications.

One of the most fatal health effect commonly associated with radon exposure is lung cancer. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, approximately 21,000 die in the country because of radon-induced lung cancer every year. However, these deaths due to radon exposure could have been prevented if occupants have been vigilant enough to test their home for radon exposure. Unfortunately, according to the website of The Mokaram Law Firm (view website), you may notice that there can still be negligent property owners who refuse to have their home tested for radon and repaired to cut cost.

There are many ways on how radon may enter your home, here are some of them:

  • Cracks, gaps, or fissures in basement floors and walls
  • Cracks in crawlspaces
  • Construction joints
  • Water supplies (ex. private wells)

When moving into a new home or renting, it is imperative to get your home tested first for radon exposure, even if the property owner insists that the house has no problem with radon. While radon levels vary from one place to another, it is never safe to assume that this radioactive gas only affects certain areas of the country. The only way to know if your home is safe is by getting it tested.

However, living in a house with radon problems doesn’t mean abandoning your home altogether. Many homeowners have been able to fix their radon problems. You only need to contact qualified and professional radon experts in your locality to know what should be done to decrease the level of radon in your home.

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The Facts about a Personal Injury Lawsuit

May 31

It may seem to you that everybody is suing everybody else for personal injury, but that is not the case at all. For one thing, it is not at all easy, or cheap, to sue anyone and it takes a lot of time besides. It is not true that all you have to do is hire a lawyer and you just sit back and wait for developments. Your lawyer will need input for you, and the defendant may do a thorough background check on you. It could get embarrassing or uncomfortable.

However, when serious injury is involved, it may be worth the trouble. According to the Abel Law Firm website, the effects of serious physical or mental injury can be devastating. At the very least, you will need financial help to get through it, and in most cases, it involves a personal injury lawsuit.

If you are considering a personal injury lawsuit, there are three things you need. You need to prove that someone was at fault, you sustained a serious injury, and there was a breach of duty of care. As pointed out on the website of Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC, this is easier said than done. However, if you have a good case, you should have a good chance of success.

When you do decide to sue, you need to know that it is easier if you get a lawyer with a personal injury practice in the same area. This is because laws on personal injury differ from state to state. For example, if you live in Killeen or the surrounding towns, you probably want to talk with Houston personal injury attorneys. You may not get the best results if you retain a corporate lawyer from another state. This is especially true if you are planning to sue a big corporation.

If you feel you have no choice but to ask for compensation for your personal injury, you should take the time to find a really good lawyer. As many personal injury lawyers only accept payment when they win, they will not take on a case if it has no merit. Your initial consultation should be free, so you do not have to worry about that.

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