When a property owner does not maintain their place of business or home in a reasonably careful manner, customers or guests may be hurt. Inadequate maintenance may result in slip and falls and other accidents that cause serious injuries and even death. If you have experienced a slip and fall on someone else’s property and would like to talk to a lawyer about your right to pursue compensation, the Raleigh premises liability lawyers at Maurer Law can help you understand the steps that you must take when seeking to hold a careless business or landowner liable for your injuries.Bringing a Claim Based on Inadequate Maintenance
To hold a defendant liable in a personal injury case based on inadequate maintenance of property, the plaintiff must first establish that the defendant owed a legal duty to them. Traditionally, people on property were identified as invitees (usually customers or patrons of a business), licensees (social guests), or trespassers (people with no legal right to be on the property where the accident occurred). More recently, however, North Carolina law has been less concerned with this set of classifications and more focused on whether a plaintiff was a lawful entrant or a mere trespasser. This is important because only a minimal duty of care is owed to a trespasser.
If the plaintiff establishes that they were lawfully present on the defendant’s property and were thus owed a duty of reasonable care in the maintenance of the premises, the next step in a North Carolina premises liability case based on inadequate maintenance is showing that the defendant breached their duty. Typically a factual issue, proving a breach of duty is often the most critical step in a negligence case. To prevail, there must be a thorough, preferably prompt investigation into the accident. Eyewitness statements, surveillance footage, and incident reports may all be part of the plaintiff’s evidence at trial.
If the duty and breach of duty elements are met, the remaining steps in a negligence claim are proving that there was harm to the plaintiff and that this was a proximate result of the defendant’s breach of duty. If the plaintiff can prove all four elements of a negligence claim, they may be awarded damages to compensate them for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering, among other items. However, it should be noted that North Carolina is a pure contributory negligence state. This means that, if the defendant can prove that the plaintiff’s own negligence was part of the reason for the accident, the plaintiff will not recover any compensation. A knowledgeable slip and fall attorney will know how to help a victim deflect any accusations of contributory negligence.Contact a Premises Liability Lawyer in Raleigh to Discuss Your Claim
As a former insurance company lawyer, Michael Maurer knows how hard businesses and insurance companies generally fight to avoid a finding of liability in slip and fall and other accident cases. He also understands how financially devastating a slip and fall accident may be for a family. To talk to our Raleigh premises liability attorneys about how to get started on your inadequate maintenance case, call Maurer Law at (919) 229-8359 or contact us online to set up a free consultation. We represent victims who need an injury attorney in Raleigh, Durham, Fayetteville, Hickory, Chapel Hill, and other areas of Cumberland, Durham, Mecklenburg, Edgecombe, Guilford, New Hanover, Orange, Randolph, and Wake Counties.