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Premises Liability Questions and Answers

Premises Liability FAQs

I slipped on a broken jar in the grocery store and fell, breaking my wrist. The store says their clean-up crew had no chance to wipe up the glass before I slipped, so they are not responsible. Is this true?

The attorney for the store may try to use this argument, but it is unlikely to be successful in court. In general, businesses are responsible for the negligence of their cleaning crew. You should contact a premises liability attorney, who can advise you of your legal rights and appropriate next steps toward legal action. The law firm of Salvi, Schostock, and Pritchard, P.C., serves all of Illinois, from Chicago to Waukegan, Rockford, and Peoria. Contact us free today to see if you have a case.

I was attacked in a shopping mall parking lot. Can I sue the owners for my bills?

Generally, the owners of a business are responsible for reasonable security on their property. Reasonable security would include adequate lighting and security staff, among other measures. Also, if other crimes were committed, this would demonstrate a pattern of criminal activity that the owner would have been aware of – and should have provided additional security to counteract. You should gather any documentation, including police reports, details of medical care resulting from your attack and any other expenses, and contact a premises liability attorney who can advise you whether your situation merits legal action.

I recently talked with a friend about my premises liability case, who said I will need an expert witness. Do I really need an expert witness to prove my case?

There are certain situations in which an expert witness can be a strong advantage in a premises liability case, particularly if it goes before a jury. Medical experts, contractors, economists, and others may have special knowledge that a jury needs to understand in order to assign damages properly. An experienced premises liability attorney will be familiar with the types of cases that require an expert witness, and he or she should know the appropriate experts to consult for your specific situation.

A friend slipped in my living room, suffering a serious injury. I do have premises liability insurance, but I don’t believe his accident was my fault – what should I do?

Most homeowner’s insurance policies provide coverage for medical bills regardless of fault, so there is no need to debate who is to blame. However, these claims typically must be made in a short time span, so check your policy for this provision and act quickly.

I recently suffered from a slip and fall accident, and I don’t know if I really have a case. What should I do before I see an attorney?

Document all events related to your accident, including doctor’s visits, and contact by anyone regarding the accident. Photograph your injuries immediately. Do not speak to anyone from an insurance company until you contact an attorney. You can always elect not to go forward with legal action later – but some careful documentation now will be essential, and an attorney can help safeguard your rights.

I was injured when a faulty light fixture fell on me at a restaurant and have been contacted by their insurance company – what should I do?

Avoid providing any information to the insurance company without speaking first to an attorney – insurance companies will often try to make you sign papers that prevent you from suing anyone connected to the accident. They will also evaluate your situation based on how little damages they feel they can offer you – not how much your situation merits. You should always contact an experienced premises liability attorney first, who can review the circumstances of your accident and provide advice on the appropriate legal action.

I was injured at an outdoor event – and the property owner has already offered to pay for my injuries. Why do I need an attorney?

An experienced premised liability attorney can investigate the circumstances in which you were injured, identify all negligent parties, interview any witnesses, and provide professional advice about your legal options. While the intention of the property owner may be perfectly honorable, a lawyer can act as a more objective advocate on your behalf to ensure that your rights and needs are met.

How long do I have to file a claim?

The statute of limitations varies by state and the type of injury may also play a role. If legal action is not initiated within the specified time period, you lose the right to make any claims. Your best bet is to consult with an experienced premises liability attorney to determine the time period applicable for your situation.

How much money can I expect to receive if I file a claim?

The amount of damages varies according to a number of factors – federal and state laws often have caps on the amount of damages. Also, whether or not the property owner acted maliciously could affect whether punitive damages are applied. There is no “set” amount that a premises liability case typically receives, so you should consult an experienced attorney who can advise you on the type and amount of damages that might be expected in your particular case.

Are governmental agencies exempt from premises liability lawsuits?

In general, statutes of limitations and liability laws are often different for governmental agencies and institutions. If you have suffered an injury from an accident within a federal, state or local agency, you should contact an experienced premises liability attorney. He or she can evaluate the circumstances surrounding your specific situation to determine if legal action is an option.