Evansville is the third largest city in Indiana, a vibrant community of 118,000 people. Whether they are running errands or enjoying local attractions like the Mesker Park Zoo and Botanic Gardens or the Angel Mounds State Historic Site, Evansville residents lead active lives that often take them away from the comforts of home. Going to an unfamiliar place can be stimulating, but it can also be risky, especially when there are dangerous defects present.
If you have been hurt on someone else’s property in the Evansville area, you may be eligible to recover compensation through a premises liability claim, though a successful outcome may require the assistance of accomplished legal professionals, like the Evansville premises liability attorneys at Hensley Legal Group.
Since 1998, we have fought to ensure that nothing gets between the everyday people of Indiana and justice. For a free case review with one of our Evansville premises liability lawyers, call (317) 472-3333, chat with us online, or complete our contact form.
Do You Have a Premises Liability Case?
Any valid personal injury case in Indiana needs to include both negligence and damages.
Negligence occurs when parties fail to meet their duty to exercise reasonable care to avoid causing harm, also known as damages. When an individual sustains damages as a result of someone’s negligence, the negligent party could be held financially liable.
In a premises liability case, the plaintiff is alleging that he or she sustained damages because of negligent conditions on a defendant’s property, whether it is a private residence, a business, or a public facility. To be eligible for compensation, the plaintiff must prove all three of the following elements:
- A duty of care existed – The property owner owed a duty of care to the plaintiff and therefore needed to exercise reasonable care to maintain safe conditions on the premises.
- The duty was breached – The property owner neglected or “breached” this duty by not exercising care to keep the property reasonably safe.
- The breach caused injury – The property owner’s breach directly caused the plaintiff’s injury.
Establishing these elements can be more challenging in a premises liability case than in matters such as car accidents where the link between a defendant’s actions and a plaintiff’s damages is more obvious. Typically, a plaintiff must show that a property owner failed to prevent an accident by neglecting to:
- Inspect the premises regularly to identify hazards;
- Remedy or repair known hazards; or
- Warn of the presence of hazards.
Our Evansville premises liability attorneys have extensive experience establishing negligence on the part of property owners.
Are You Owed a Duty of Care?
Premises liability cases need to prove that the liable party inflicted damages by negligently breaching the duty of care owed to the injured party. But to whom does a property owner owe a duty of care? And what does this duty entail?
The answer depends on a visitor’s status. Under Indiana law, visitors to a property are either invitees, licensees, or trespassers, all of whom are owed a different duty of care.
- Invitees – These are visitors who are invited to enter premises for the benefit of the owner, usually financial. Invitees may include patrons at a store, restaurant, hotel, or other commercial establishment.
Indiana property owners owe the highest duty of care to invitees and must actively try to make premises safe for them. Meeting this duty may require the owner to regularly inspect the premises and either repair or warn of any hazards that are uncovered. Ignorance of a hazard may not be an adequate defense if enough time has passed that a property owner should have been expected to find it.
- Licensees – These are visitors who have permission to enter a property, typically for their own benefit. Licensees may include friends or family members stopping by an owner’s home on their own initiative.
Indiana property owners owe a lesser duty of care to licensees. They have an obligation to warn licensees of any known dangers on the property and refrain from willfully injuring or increasing the possibility of harm to them, but they are not required to inspect the property to identify hidden dangers.
- Trespassers – These are visitors who are on premises without permission. Trespassers may include people cutting through a property, uninvited squatters, or individuals with criminal intent.
Indiana property owners owe the lowest duty of care to trespassers, but that does not mean they owe no duty. They still must refrain from maliciously harming, wantonly or willfully injuring trespassers after discovering their presence, but they do not need to warn of concealed hazards or take active steps to fix them.
One exception to the minimal care owed to trespassers may apply to minors. Child trespassers are not expected to fully comprehend the dangers on a property, particularly so-called “attractive nuisances” that are especially tempting to them, such as unfenced pools. Under Indiana law, a property owner “may be subject to liability for physical injury or death to a child trespasser” if he or she knows about the presence of an attractive nuisance, expects that children are likely to trespass and sustain injury because of it, and does nothing to remedy or warn about it.
As you can see, your reasons for being on someone else’s property may impact the viability of your case. Hensley’s premises liability lawyers can evaluate the facts leading up to your accident and advise you of your legal options.
What Causes Premises Liability Accidents?
A number of factors can form the basis for a premises liability case, including:
- Slip-and-fall hazards – Falls are the leading cause of preventable injuries and the third-leading cause of unintentional injury-related deaths in the United States. If a condition on a property makes a visitor lose traction and fall, the owner might be financially liable. Slip-and-fall hazards may include slippery surfaces, loose or damaged floorboards, uneven or crumbling stairs, insufficient lighting, and poorly maintained roads, sidewalks, and parking lots.
- Inadequate security – Property owners who do not provide adequate security or protection could expose lawful visitors to harm.
- Dangerous dogs – Nearly half of Indiana households have at least one dog. While most dogs are loving companions, vicious dogs can inflict serious injuries. Victims could file suit against property owners who do not control their dogs or warn about their presence.
Our Evansville premises liability attorneys are always available to discuss whether you have grounds to pursue a claim.
What a Premises Liability Lawyer Can Do for You
An accident on someone else’s property can turn a casual shopping trip, a friendly visit, or a leisurely stroll into a catastrophic event.
When the worst happens, you need attorneys with the compassion to support you through a difficult period and the skill to get you the compensation you deserve. In short, you need the Evansville premises liability attorneys at Hensley Legal Group, who have been defending honest Hoosiers injured through no fault of their own for more than twenty-five years.
If you decide to hire our firm, we will work tirelessly to identify the causes of your accident and everyone who may be at fault within the time permitted by law. This is no easy task because premises liability cases present some of the greatest challenges in personal injury litigation. They require comprehensive knowledge of state and local laws and building code regulations to prove that a property owner breached the duty of care. Our Evansville premise liability lawyers will take prompt action to secure the evidence needed and ensure that defective conditions are not remedied before they can be documented.
Once we have constructed a rock-solid case against the liable parties, we will attempt to a negotiate a settlement that takes into account the entirety of your losses, including:
- Medical expenses
- Lost income
- Pain and suffering
- Psychological and emotional trauma
- Punitive damages
If we do not receive an offer that reflects the full value of your case, we are more than willing to go to trial to obtain a verdict that does.
If you are concerned about additional expenditures, you should know that it will cost you nothing up front to hire our firm because we work on a contingency basis. You will never have to pay us unless our Evansville premises liability attorneys win your case.
One step can be all it takes to put your family on the edge of ruin. Hensley will do whatever is necessary to get you back on solid ground.
Speak with an Evansville Premises Liability Lawyer Now
Hensley Legal Group has been standing up for the hardworking men and women of Indiana for more than a quarter century. If you have been injured on someone else’s property, speak with an Evansville premises liability lawyer now to learn whether you have a case.
Please call (317) 472-3333, chat with us online, or complete our contact form to schedule a free consultation with one of our premises liability attorneys.