Premises Liability Attorneys in Dothan
When a company is open for business in Alabama, it is legally giving you the right to visit. For this reason, its employees must take all reasonable precautions to ensure your safety. This can include such things as installing adequate lighting, making sure no tripping hazards exist, and putting up signs urging you to exercise caution after an employee has mopped the floor. You have the right to the same expectation when you visit someone at a private residence or communal property.
People can and do become seriously injured due to the negligence of business and property owners. The other party may owe you financial compensation under Alabama’s premises liability laws.
Understanding Your Status as a Visitor
State law looks at the status of the injured visitor when determining if premises liability laws apply to a specific situation. For example, your legal status is business invitee if you go to a business during regular hours intending to obtain information or complete a transaction. Premises liability law include several categories of businesses in this classification, including the following:
- Amusement parks
- Insurance offices
- Medical offices
- Retail stores
- Spas and salons
One exception to this rule is when someone visits the home of another person to carry out their official duties. If he or she sustains serious injuries while visiting the home, it may be possible to file a personal injury claim as a business invitee.
It’s essential that business owners as well as those who conduct business out of their own home go out of their way to ensure visitor safety. Alabama law requires them to exercise due care and diligence to make sure the property is safe to visit. They must also warn visitors of any known potential dangers.
For example, the owner of a grocery store must place a sign warning of a slippery floor immediately after an employee finishes mopping it. A homeowner with a dog that has the potential to bite should post a sign to beware of the dog. People conducting business at home or at a location away from home may be liable whether they knew about the potential danger or not. A jury may still determine negligence if a reasonably prudent person would have known about the potential danger and taken steps to alleviate it.
Personal Visits to a Home or Business
Licensee is the next legal category of visitor. This means someone has invited another person to their home or business as a personal guest. Going to visit a friend who works at an auto dealership or playing cards at the home of a friend are two typical examples. No official business reason exists for the visit.
The act of extending an invitation to someone else means that the property owner must legally repair any known safety hazards or warn the visitor about them. The property owner would also be liable under premises liability if he or she caused deliberate injury to a visitor.
The classification as licensee gives people less protection than that of business invitee. In the first classification, the business owner or person conducting business in his or her home can be liable for injuries he or she should have known about and fixed but did not. This is not true of the licensee classification since those extending the invitation only need to repair issues known to them.
Trespassers and Uninvited Guests
This classification means that someone sustained an injury on the property of another property or business without having received an invitation to be there. Although this can describe a potential thief, it’s broad enough to include someone walking across another person’s lawn and sustaining injury after tripping on a sprinkler.
It’s important to understand that Alabama premises liability law treats child and adult trespassers quite differently. The property owner can’t intentionally try to cause harm to an uninvited guest regardless of that person’s age. Shooting a gun near someone to scare him or her is an example of this. If the person who owns the land is aware that people routinely walk across it to get elsewhere, he or she must still warn them of potential hazards.
The attractive nuisance portion of this law is a notable exception. If homeowners have something that would traditionally seem fun or inviting to children, such as a swimming pool, it’s up to them to safeguard the pool with a fence and lock to keep naturally curious children away from it.
It’s always worth talking to a personal injury attorney if your injuries happened on someone else’s property, even if you feel that the law would classify you as an uninvited guest. You could still have a legal defense and the right to claim compensation for your injuries.
Special Protection for Property Owners Who Make Land Available for Recreational Use
Under the recreational use portion of premises liability law, the owner of private land who allows others to use it for activities such as hiking, and camping could receive immunity from legal obligation for injuries. We encourage you to speak to an attorney at Smith & McGhee, Attorneys as Law, if you’re ever unsure of your legal status or the responsibility of another party for injuries.
What You Can Expect When You Pursue a Premises Liability Case
As the plaintiff in this type of case, you must provide indisputable proof that the negligent actions of the defendant are the only reason for your injuries and that it wasn’t due to anything you did yourself. It requires strong legal representation to prove your version of events and that you’re entitled to financial compensation for medical expenses, time missed from work, property damage, and other expense categories.
Smith & McGhee, Attorneys at Law, offer free legal consultations to all new clients in Dothan, Alabama and the communities surrounding it. Please come to the meeting prepared to discuss as much detail about what caused your injuries as you can remember. We look forward to helping you put this challenging chapter of your life behind you soon. Contact us at 334-708-3158 today.