April 28, 2020
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, many states have issued stay-at-home orders and are advising the public not to leave their homes unless it is absolutely necessary. Depending where you were at the time, you might be quarantining in someone else’s home instead of your own.
While you’re there, you should be aware of your legal rights if you happen to be injured while on someone else’s property.
Premises Liability in Indiana
All properties have their own quicks, like squeaky stairs or a loose floorboard. But if there is a something in the house you are quarantined in that may cause injury, then the homeowners must make you aware of the danger, or repair the danger.
Indiana law states that the owner of a property is obligated to keep their property in a safe condition for visitors (this same protection doesn’t extend to trespassers). If the property owner was aware that a dangerous hazard existed on their property but simply hadn’t gotten around to fixing it, they would be liable for any injury caused by the hazard. This is called premises liability.
For example, walkways can become particularly slippery under wintery conditions. If your landlord fails to put salt down during the winter and you were to slip, fall, and break a bone, your landlord could be held liable for your injury.
However, if the property owner made every attempt to remove or fix the hazard, the injured party will have a significantly harder time proving the homeowner’s negligence. This is why public places should put wet floor signs up after a they have been mopping. Failure to post proper signage indicating a wet surface could leave them vulnerable to a lawsuit if someone were to slip, fall, and become injured.
As an invitee to someone’s property under quarantine, you are owed a warning of potential hazards in the home. This includes things they may have gotten used to living with, like a loose step or an uncovered hole in the yard, or even an aggressive pet. If there isn’t a tarp or signs marking the hole in their yard and you fall in and break your ankle, their negligence would make them liable for your injury.
Just because they are used to a dangerous thing doesn’t make it any less unsafe. Even under extraordinary circumstances such as quarantine, it is a homeowner’s responsibility to make their property safe for known visitors.
How to Recover Damages After Your Injury
To recover damages you must prove that the homeowner was negligent, or that they knew about the danger and did nothing to prevent it.
Their insurance company may try to pin the blame for your injury on you. If you are found to share fault for your injury, then you can only recover partial damages. An experienced Indiana personal injury attorney can walk you through Indiana law regarding comparative fault and how it may affect your claim.
The simplest types of damages are known as compensatory damages, because they attempt to compensate the injured victim for the ways in which the injury affected their life. This includes economic damages like medical bills and noneconomic damages like pain and suffering.
For example, if you have mounting medical bills or are unable to work as a direct result of the injury, monetary compensation can go towards the money you missed out on as you recover, particularly if your injury prevents you from working for a considerable amount of time.
An Indiana personal injury attorney can help you understand what you may be entitled to in your own premises liability case, as each case is different.
In the state of Indiana, you have two years from the date of the accident to resolve the claim or file a lawsuit. After that, the statute of limitations expires and you will not be eligible to recover any damages, leaving you to pay for everything out of your own pocket.
Help from an Indiana Premises Liability Attorney
If you have recently been injured on someone else’s property and are unsure of what your next steps should be, a local premises liability attorney can help you through the process of filing a claim.
Our attorneys at Hensley Legal Group are here to help. Call or chat with us online for a free consultation about your claim.