Were You Injured On Someone Else’s Property?
If you are shopping, eating in a restaurant, or a guest in someone’s home, you have a right to expect that dangerous conditions won’t harm you. You may be entitled to compensation for medical bills and other losses if you are injured. This area of law is known as premises liability.
It can be challenging to pursue an injury claim. The property owner’s insurance company will do everything in its power to show that you’re to blame for your injury — or that you were not injured.
How Does Kentucky Premises Liability Law Work?
These situations involve negligence law. It’s a framework that courts use to determine if you, the plaintiff (the party filing the lawsuit), have a legal right to compensation from the defendant (the party owning or possessing the property, the one sued) because of injuries they caused in an accident.
In nearly all negligence cases, the defendant has liability insurance. The insurer is obligated to pay for a legal defense and a settlement or verdict, assuming the accident is covered by the policy, up to the policy’s limit.
The elements of negligence in a premises liability case are:
- The defendant owed the plaintiff a duty of care to maintain their premises reasonably safe. The scope of the duty owed by a land possessor turns on your legal status (a trespasser, a licensee, or an invitee)
- The defendant breached the standard of care applicable to your status
- The defendant’s breach caused your injuries
You must prove each element to be successful by a preponderance of the evidence (it’s more likely than not the defendant did what you claim).
Does it Matter Why I’m on the Property?
Depending on the relationship between you and the property owner/occupier, they will have a greater or lesser duty of care (they could be more or less careful), which can make or break a case. How much care a property owner must use depends on your status.
A trespasser enters or stays on a property without the owner’s consent. You can recover compensation if the owner/possessor committed wanton or willful negligence or misconduct.
A licensee can enter or remain on the land with the owner’s consent. A licensee can recover compensation for injuries when the owner/possessor:
- Knows or has reason to know of a dangerous condition and should understand it involves an unreasonable risk of harm
- Should expect that you won’t find or realize the danger
- Fails to use reasonable care to make the condition safe or warn you of the situation and the risk involved, and you don’t know or have reason to know of the problem and its risks
This status often involves injuries occurring at a private home. A licensee can visit a friend’s house or attend a party.
An invitee is owed the highest duty of anyone entering on property. An invitee can be a public invitee or a business visitor
- A property owner/possessor invites:
- A public invitee to enter or stay on the land for a purpose for which the public is invited (shop at a store)
- A business visitor to enter or remain on the property for a reason connected with business dealings with the land’s possessor (a contractor repairing a business’ equipment)
The property owner can be liable when:
- They know of an unsafe condition or, by using reasonable care, would find it and should realize it involves an unreasonable risk of harm to you
- Should expect that you won’t discover or understand the danger or you will fail to protect yourself against it
- Fails to use reasonable care to protect you against the danger
These cases often involve customers injured at a business. The property owner must address known dangers and take reasonable steps to find them before they hurt you.
Who Decides These Issues?
A jury should decide disputed facts. In the past, Kentucky law made it difficult for injured people to recover compensation if the unsafe condition was “open and obvious.” In many cases, judges dismissed premises liability cases before they reached a jury.
More recently, courts are leaving the issue of what’s open and obvious to the jury to decide. This would give you a fair chance to recover for your injuries suffered on another’s property.
What Kinds of Claims Involve Premises Liability?
The following are common situations where people are injured on another’s property and have a right to receive compensation for their injuries:
- Electrical fires/failures
- Slip-and-fall incidences in a retail store due to slippery surfaces or dangerous obstructions
- Obstructed pathways or exits
- Poorly built or maintained stairs
- Dog bites in a public place or at a private home
- Defective or improperly maintained/supervised amusement park ride
- Unsupervised or defective swimming pools
- Toxic chemicals
- Lack of or insufficient security
If you’re injured away from home and think you may have a legal claim, call our office so we can discuss what happened and how Kentucky law may apply.
What Should I Do If I’m Injured on Another Party’s Property?
There are many premises liability claims. How and why you’re injured affects what you should do. Generally, if you’re able, you should:
- Take photos or videos of what caused the injury. The property owner may dispute what happened, so showing the cause can be critical to your case
- Take pictures or videos of your injuries
- Contact the property or business owner, tell them what happened, and document that you talked to them. If you don’t do this, they may deny your accident ever happened
- Get medical attention as quickly as possible. The longer the delay, the greater the chances the property owner will claim something else caused your injuries
- Don’t minimize your injuries, accept blame or blame others. Our investigation should find what and who caused your accident
- Other than your lawyer and healthcare professionals, don’t discuss the accident or your injuries with others or make it the subject of social media posts
What you say and do after your injury can significantly help or harm your chances of success.
Attorneys Experienced In Premises Liability Law
At Satterley & Kelley PLLC in Louisville, our lawyers have the experience to take on insurance companies and win when accidents leave innocent people injured.
Satterley & Kelley PLLC is known throughout Louisville and Kentucky for recovering millions of dollars for victims and their families in personal injury verdicts and settlements. Our lawyers will fight for you to obtain the compensation you deserve due to a property owner’s negligence.
If you want to schedule a free initial consultation at our Louisville office, call 502-589-5600 (toll-free at 855-385-9532) or complete our contact form.