Personal injury accidents can happen on commercial property to workers or anyone else who is on that property. Whether an injury that occurs on commercial property is something to pursue through legal channels depends on the actual event and factors that led up to the accident. If you or a loved one has been injured or killed while on commercial property, it definitely is wise to consult with an experienced Personal Injury Attorney to determine your rights and any subsequent course of action you may be allowed take to recover fair compensation for your injury claims.
Personal Injury Attorneys
People who have been injured or had loved ones killed in accidents that are a result of negligent behavior can seek fair compensation for their accident-related expenses through the legal system. There are many factors that apply to this opportunity for justice, so it is important to work with experienced Personal Injury Attorneys for best results. Survivors also may be eligible to recover expenses when there is a wrongful death, including funeral and burial costs.
Injury Accidents on Commercial Property
Accidents happen everywhere, including on commercial property. This is a special area of concern for business owners; they have a duty to protect people who are visiting or using their property. Building owners, renters and others who are in charge of property or buildings may be held liable for injuries or deaths that might occur on those premises.
Statistics – According to the National Floor Safety Institute, injuries that occur due to falls on commercial property are the leading cause of hospital emergency room visits. Over 8 million visits (21.3% of total E.R. visits) are typical, and of these, slip and fall accidents make up over 1 million (12%) of those visits. Falls also are the second leading cause of injury-related deaths for people aged 65-84, and the leading cause of injury-related deaths for those who are older than 84.
Expenses for injury recovery can be high and even send the injured person into a nursing home. Injury costs from falls are estimated to be around $13-14 million per year. Add to these figures all the myriad of other accidents that happen to people while visiting or working on commercial property, the annual costs skyrocket.
Types of Injuries – Injury claims include bodily harm, emotional and psychological distress, work loss and medical treatment. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports that floors and flooring materials contribute to over 2 million fall injures annually. In addition to the physical injuries that result from falls, such as broken or fractured bones, sprains, head, neck or spine injuries, other incidents can result in personal injury accidents. At construction sites, workers are subject to harm from falls, equipment failures and having items fall on them from heights. Passersby can be hurt when objects fall from above or if they slip, trip or fall because the ground is uneven or covered with debris.
Owner/Visitor Responsibilities – Property owners have a duty to keep their property safe and free from hazards, or to mark such hazards so visitors will not be harmed. There are many ways to try to protect guests and other visitors, but this duty does not extend to protection of those who are trespassing on the property.
Some of the primary ways to meet property owner responsibilities include:
- Security measures – lighting, fences, guards, video cameras, signage
- Maintenance of grounds – keeping walkways and parking lots free of hazards, debris, ice/snow and other potential problems that could result in visitor harm
Visitors on property also bear some responsibility for their own safety:
- Being aware of surroundings – watching where they walk, getting an escort to car when needed (example: winners at a casino can request safe escort to car)
- Using designated walkways and stairs, not behaving in a reckless manner
Personal Injury Accident Claims
Accident claims that result from personal injury accidents can become very significant in terms of compensation requested:
- Work Loss – if you are unable to maintain your regular work activities
- Medical Costs – emergency, hospital, doctor, nurse, dental and other medical care; after-care, nursing home care, mental/psychological treatment, rehabilitation and long-term care
- Additional Claims – non-physical damages (equipment, vehicle), funeral/burial costs if there is a wrongful death from injuries, temporary or permanent disability
Commercial Property & Liability
One of the first things to determine in a personal injury case is negligence. This also indicates liability for the accident.
- Responsibility for Injury – If the property owner neglected their duty of reasonable care of the premises, they are likely to be determined to be liable for accident claims. Visitors also have a duty to behave properly while on commercial property; they should not act recklessly.
- Expectations of Safety – Invited visitors and guests on commercial property have a right to expect that they will not be harmed while at that location. They trust that the property owner will not have hazardous conditions left unmarked or in disrepair. Most people reasonably do not expect items to fall down from heights as they walk past a structure or down the aisles of a store.
- Example – There are many examples of personal injury on commercial property, including lawsuits following cruise ship illnesses, restaurant food poisoning and workplace accidents. One of the most notable is the case of Liebeck v. McDonald’s Restaurants, otherwise known as the hot coffee injury case. The plaintiff, 79-year old Stella Liebeck, received severe burns when 180 degree Fahrenheit coffee spilled on her lap. The company had already received over 700 complaints about the hot coffee and burns. Her expenses were over $2,000, but McDonald’s only offer her $800. The end result for Ms. Liebeck was a punitive judgment by a jury of $2.7 million; a judge reduced that to $640,000.
If you or a loved one is injured while on commercial property, you can seek fair compensation for related expenses. Time limits for a claim may apply; it is important to act quickly.
To discuss your concerns in confidence with our experienced Personal Injury Attorney, contact our law office today. Call us now, at (phone number).