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Steps to Help Determine if You Might Have a Premises Liability Case

Hazard Signs
Premises liability is a broad area of law that covers any injury you suffer on someone else’s property. Many of our clients come to us having suffered horrible broken bones, brain injuries, and soft-tissue damage after slipping and falling or being assaulted on business premises or in someone’s home.

If you have been injured, please call us. It isn’t always easy to determine whether you have a valid premises liability claim, so we need to meet with you to discuss what happened. To prepare for your consultation, please follow these steps below.

Step 1: Document How You Were Injured

Write down your memories of how you ended up getting hurt. For example:

  • If you slipped on a wet floor, note whether any warning signs or cones had been put up. Did someone tell you the floor was wet? Did it look wet?
  • If you tripped over a hole in a parking lot, check whether saw horses or any other obstruction had been put up to keep people away from the hole. Was it a large hole?
  • If you fell while walking, note whether the floor was uneven or if another hazard was to blame (such as worn carpets).
  • If you were injured in hotel pools, note whether there was any lifeguard on duty or other warning that the pool was hazardous. For example, one end might have been very shallow but there was no sign telling you the depth.

The sooner you write down your memories, the fresher they will be.

Step 2: Take Pictures of the Hazard

  • Premises owners in Nevada must make certain hazards safe or at least warn visitors of them. You should take a picture of whatever it is that contributed to your injuries:
  • Broken steps or handrails that cause you to fall
  • Worn tread on carpeting that leads to slips and falls
  • Inadequate lighting in a stairwell, which can cause you to misplace your foot and fall
  • Insufficient lighting in a parking lot, which entices criminals to lie in wait and then attack customers
  • Lack of security, such as no front door staff at a hotel or motel, which allows criminals to enter the property
  • Lack of security in an apartment or hotel room, such as broken or missing locks on doors or windows

You can take a picture with a smartphone but make sure to note the date of the photograph. You can also take video. The sooner you document the hazard, the better. Some land owners will quickly fix a hazard after an accident and pretend that nothing was wrong. Obtaining documentary evidence of the hazard can really help a case.

Step 3: Get Medical Attention

Getting Medical Attention
You should do everything possible to get well. Go immediately to the hospital or a doctor to have any symptoms checked out. If you delay treatment, then a jury might find that you negligently contributed to your own injuries. The truth is that prompt treatment allows you the best chance to make a recovery.

Also remember to do everything your doctor says. If a doctor wants you to stay in bed, don’t go out for a ride or a walk. Some defendants will spy on people suing them and try to get video evidence showing you are not as injured as you claim. Failure to follow your doctor’s advice could also cause you to lose money.

Step 4: Locate Witnesses

Someone who saw you get injured could be a great witness. Juries tend to view third parties as more objective than your own testimony, so get the names of anyone who saw you fall. Also take down their phone number and email address. Years might go by before you get a day in court and you need a way to stay in contact. If possible, also note a summary of what the person saw.

Step 5: Analyze Why You Were on the Property

The fact that you were injured on someone’s property does not mean that the owner is automatically responsible. Instead, Nevada law requires that property owners take reasonable steps to keep their property safe. What’s “reasonable” will depend on the visitor’s status, i.e., why they went onto the property.

For example, a business owner has the highest duty of care to his customers. He must inspect his property to find potential hazards and then fix them. For example, a store owner should regularly check the aisles to see if something has been spilled on the floor that would cause a person to slip. They can’t just wait for people to report that some liquid has spilled, though they should quickly clean up any spills they are aware of. Hotels and casinos are businesses, so their customers are invitees.

If the security isn’t adequate, then an owner should also take steps to improve the safety, such as hiring security guards or installing fences around parking lots. They must move promptly and shouldn’t wait for someone to get attacked.

A property owner owes a lesser duty to those who enter the property for mutual benefit, such as a social guest, who is called a “licensee” under the law. Here, the owner must make known hazards safe or at least warn visitors of them. The property owner also has a reasonable amount of time to discover hazards and, unlike a business owner, does not have to regularly inspect the property to find them.

Lastly, property owners owe few duties to someone who trespasses on the property. In essence, the property owner cannot intentionally injure trespassers but owes them no other duties unless they are children.
Your lawyer will want to know why you visited the property and then will analyze whether the property owner had a duty to warn you or fix the hazard that injured you.

Step 6: Hire an Attorney at Ladah Law Firm

Your choice of attorney is the most important decision you will make while pursuing your premises liability claim. An experienced attorney can make a compelling argument for compensation and make sure that you have sufficiently strong evidence to back up your claim.

Contact us today. We offer a free consultation, which you may schedule by calling 702-252-0055.