September 13, 2017
“How far can someone flee from a menace before the liability runs out for the business where the trouble started?”
This was the question posed after a teenager was brutally beaten right outside of Six Flags in Atlanta. The teenager was waiting for a bus with some friends after the park closed when a group of men attacked him, leaving him in a coma that later left him with brain damage.
The defendant’s lawyer argued that premises liability ends “just a few steps beyond the property,” saying that Six Flags couldn’t be held responsible for the boy’s injuries because he wasn’t technically in the park.
But the plaintiff’s lawyer argued that the premises of Six Flags extended all the way down the street to the bus stop. Six Flags knew their visitors came and went via the bus stop, so they should be responsible for maintaining a safe condition for visitors to approach the park.
Also, the lawyer argued that the trouble started on the Six Flags property. The perpetrators targeted the victim while still in the park. “They looked at him. They glared at him. They followed him,” the lawyer said.
The jury agreed and awarded the teenager and his family a $35 million verdict, in which they apportioned 2 percent of the fault to each of the men who attacked him. Six Flags was found 92 percent at fault with additional interest.
What Do Indiana’s Laws Say?
Each state has its own unique criteria to follow in cases of premises liability. Whether you are new to Indiana or are a lifetime resident, there are a few important factors to know about what Hoosier law saws about premises liability.
Time: In Indiana, your statute of limitations for a personal injury case is typically two years. That means you need to have resolved your claim or filed a lawsuit within two years of the date of the accident or, in some cases, the date the injury was discovered.
Owner’s Duty: The owner of a location has a duty to maintain the premises in a reasonably safe condition. Their duty to maintain a safe environment does not exempt them from damages caused by natural accumulations such as snow or ice. However, there is no liability in the cases where the owners attempted to remove the hazards.
Diseases: Under the Occupational Diseases Act, companies much provide exclusive remedy for an employee facing disablement or death from an occupational disease accumulated on the property.
Degree of Liability: A defendant will be liable for the injury only to the degree in which he is responsible for the injury. So if the victim is actually more at fault for the accident, she will be held responsible for that percentage of it. However, if the victim’s fault is greater than 50 percent, he is unlikely to be able to recover anything from the defendant.
Minors: If a child is under the age of seven, he is incapable of being accused of any form of contributory negligence. Most children between the ages of seven and fourteen are typically immune to this as well.
Joint Liability: In Indiana, there is no joint liability in negligence actions. Instead, each defendant is responsible for his share of liability and that share only.
Workers’ Comp: The Workers’ Compensation Act provides employees with exclusive rights and remedy for accidental deaths or personal injuries that are considered “employment related.”
Comparative Fault: The Comparative Fault Act says that if a plaintiff’s conduct satisfies statutory description of “fault,” his own proportion of the fault may reduce his damages.
Damages to Recover: In a premises liability case, a plaintiff can recover both economic and noneconomic damages. In Indiana, however, damages are capped in medical malpractice cases only.
If you’ve been injured on someone else’s property, work with professionals who know and understand Indiana Law. Call Hensley Legal Group today for a free consultation or contact us online.