Once called the “Star City of the West,” Lafayette offers numerous glittering attractions for locals and visitors alike. Whether dining in the city’s historic downtown district, cheering on the Aviators at Loeb Stadium, or enjoying the scenic beauty of the Wabash Heritage Trail, there is always something to do in the Lafayette area. But discovering a new destination can have its downside when a hidden danger causes a serious accident.
If you have suffered an injury on somebody else’s property, compensation may be recoverable through a premises liability claim. A favorable outcome is never a sure thing, however, which is why many have turned to the Lafayette premises liability attorneys at Hensley Legal Group, who have been defending the rights of the average Hoosier for more than a quarter century.
Call (317) 472-3333, chat with us online, or complete our contact form to schedule a free consultation with a knowledgeable Lafayette premises liability lawyer.
Do You Have a Premises Liability Case?
As in any other personal injury claim, a premises liability case must show both negligence and damages.
Negligence occurs when a party fails to meet a duty to exercise reasonable care to avoid causing harm, known as damages, to another party. A plaintiff who suffers damages because of a defendant’s negligence may be able to pursue a claim against the defendant.
Because a premises liability case specifically alleges that damages were sustained as a result of a hazard on a defendant’s property, a plaintiff needs to prove three elements:
- The defendant owed the plaintiff a duty to exercise care to maintain reasonably safe conditions on a property.
- The defendant breached this duty of care by not keeping the property safe.
- By breaching the duty of care, the defendant caused injury to the plaintiff.
A case will likely be doomed unless all three elements are established, which can be more difficult to do with a property-based injury than an incident where the connection between a defendant’s actions and a plaintiff’s damages is more apparent, like a car crash.
Premises liability claims are typically successful when a plaintiff can demonstrate that the property owner allowed an accident to occur by failing to:
- Inspect the premises for unsafe conditions;
- Repair known unsafe conditions; or
- Alert the plaintiff about known unsafe conditions.
The Lafayette premises liability attorneys at our firm are adept at uncovering breaches of duty by property owners that could support a case.
Were You Owed a Duty of Care?
In Indiana, you must show that a property owner breached a duty of care in order to be remunerated for your injuries on his or her premises. However, were you actually owed a duty of care? And what did that duty require of the property owner?
That will largely depend on why you were on the premises. Under state law, all visitors to a property are designated as invitees, licensees, or trespassers, each of whom deserve different duties of care.
- Invitees – A visitor who is invited to a property for the monetary benefit of the owner is classified as an invitee. For example, shoppers at a supermarket would be considered invitees.
Indiana property owners owe the highest duty of care to invitees. This duty requires an owner to take active steps to keep a property safe, which may entail regular inspection of the premises to identify hazards and either repair them or warn invitees about them.
- Licensees – A visitor with permission to enter a property primarily for his or her own benefit is a licensee, such as a family member dropping by an owner’s home for a visit.
Licensees are owed a lesser duty of care by Indiana property owners, who must make them aware of known hazards and avoid willfully injuring or exposing licensees to harm. Nevertheless, a property owner has no obligation to inspect premises solely to locate dangers for the sake of licensees.
- Trespassers – Anyone who enters a property without permission is a trespasser. A wide range of individuals could be considered trespassers, from a neighbor taking a shortcut through someone’s yard to a burglar looking to steal someone’s possessions.
Indiana property owners owe the least duty of care to trespassers, though they may still have some limited obligations. An owner who has discovered trespassers on the premises must not intentionally harm them, but he or she does not need to repair defects for their benefit or actively alert trespassers about them.
An exception to this minimal duty of care may exist in the case of child trespassers, who are not expected to fully understand the risks of being on another’s property. This is especially true when the premises contain “attractive nuisances,” which are defects that may have unique appeal to young children, such as unfenced pools. Under Indiana Code Title 34, Section 31, Chapter 11, property owners who do nothing about attractive nuisances even though they are aware of them and expect children to trespass and suffer injury because of them “may be subject to liability for physical injury or death to a child trespasser.”
Ultimately, a property owner may not have breached a duty to you if you were not owed a duty in the first place. Our Lafayette premises liability lawyers can assess the level of care you deserved and whether a property owner negligently disregarded it.
Leading Causes of Property-Related Injuries
There are a variety of property defects that could justify an Indiana premises liability case, including:
- Slip-and-fall hazards – Falls are the leading cause of preventable injuries, particularly among seniors, who account for 71.8 percent of fall hospitalizations and 82.1 percent of fall deaths in Indiana. Property owners may be liable for conditions that cause a loss of footing, such as slippery surfaces, damaged or uneven stairs, loose floorboards, poor lighting, or crumbling walkways.
- Inadequate security – Certain spaces have a higher risk of criminal activity, such as parking lots, where nearly 1,400 violent crimes are committed each day in the United States. Failing to implement appropriate security measures on premises could expose owners to civil liability in the event of an assault.
- Dangerous dogs – Property owners have an obligation to control or warn about the presence of dogs with known aggressive tendencies, especially in Indiana, which has the ninth highest rate of dog bite claims.
Regardless of the circumstances of your personal injury, Hensley’s premises liability attorneys are available to discuss your potential remedies.
How Our Premises Liability Attorneys Can Make a Difference
An unexpected injury can turn a pleasant visit to a private residence, a commercial establishment, or a public facility into a nightmare.
When the worst happens, you need attorneys who can support you through your struggles and help you overcome them. You need the Lafayette premises liability attorneys at Hensley Legal Group, who have been making a difference in the lives of the everyday people of Indiana since 1998.
If you decide to hire us, we will launch a comprehensive investigation into the causes of your accident and everyone responsible for it within the time allotted by law. We will also act swiftly to secure any evidence of negligence, prohibiting defendants from repairing defects before they can be documented. If proof of an Indiana property owner’s wrongdoing exists, our laser-focused premises liability lawyers will find it.
After putting together the strongest case possible against every defendant, we will attempt to negotiate a settlement that reflects the entirety of your losses, including:
- Medical expenses
- Lost income
- Pain and suffering
- Psychological and emotional trauma
- Diminished quality of life
- Punitive and wrongful death damages (if applicable)
And unlike some of our competitors, who rarely, if ever, see the inside of a courtroom, we are more than willing to go to trial if we do not receive an offer that is worthy of your claim.
Every premises liability case is different, but we will strive to maximize the value of yours.
You Won’t Pay Until We Win
You may be concerned about additional expenditures at this moment, so you should know that our firm works on a contingency basis. That means that you won’t have to pay us anything until our Lafayette premises liability attorneys win your case.
Hensley Legal Group is willing to take on the burdens necessary to get justice for you and your family.
Speak with a Lafayette Premises Liability Lawyer
Hensley Legal Group has been standing up for the innocent victims of negligence for over 25 years. If you have been wrongfully injured on somebody else’s property, speak with a Lafayette premises liability lawyer now to explore your legal options.
Call (317) 472-3333, chat with us online, or complete our contact form for a no-cost case review with one of our premises liability attorneys.
Free Case Review
You won’t pay any fees until we win your case.
It’s easy - you can: