NEW MEXICO PREMISES LIABILITY LAWYERS
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Landowners have a duty to maintain their property. When a landowner is negligent in the care and maintenance of his or her property, and someone else is injured as a consequence of that negligence, the injured party may have grounds to file a premises liability claim. This article will provide some helpful information about premises liability claims, including what premises liability is, how to file a premises liability claim, and what forms of compensation may be available to an injured person.
If you have been injured on someone else’s property and would like to file a claim, or to learn more about premises liability claims, call Zinda Law Group at (800) 863-5312 to receive a free case evaluation with one of our experienced New Mexico personal injury attorneys.
WHAT IS PREMISES LIABILITY
Premises liability is an area of personal injury law. Under a theory of premises liability, property owners can be held responsible for any injuries to others that occurred on the owner’s property.
PROPERTY OWNER RESPONSIBILITIES
The law imposes a duty of care on landowners. This duty applies to anyone who owns property, both commercial and residential. Under the theory of premises liability, a landowner’s acts, or failure to act, may entitle a person who has been injured while on the property to pursue compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
The precise duty of care owed by a landowner to another person depends primarily on the type of relationship between the landowner and the person. Individuals who come onto a landowner’s property can be separated into three broad categories: trespassers, licensees, and invitees.
A trespasser is a person who enters a landowner’s property without the landowner’s permission. The law imposes minimal duties on a landowner to trespassers, trespassers who are on the property without the landowner’s knowledge. In other words, a landowner typically does not have a duty to keep his land in a reasonably safe condition for the trespasser, nor is the landowner expected to inspect the land for potential hazards.
A licensee is a person to whom permission is granted by the landowner. In general, a licensee is on the property for his or her own amusement. This person is licensed to remain on the property only with the landowner’s consent. Typical examples of licensees include relatives, friends, and party guests. For licensees, a landowner has a duty to warn of or make safe dangerous conditions of which the licensee is unaware and which the licensee is unlikely to discover.
An invitee is an individual who has been offered an express or implicit invitation onto the property, either for a mutual benefit or for something that is being conducted on the property. A typical example of an invitee is a store customer. Invitees are owed the highest duty of care by a landowner. This means that in addition to warning an invitee of non-obvious dangerous conditions, a landowner must also take the extra step of inspecting the premises and making sure the property is safe.
COMMON PREMISES LIABILITY CASES
Premises liability cases normally involve situations in which a negligent or careless property owner neglects to repair a hazard which subsequently causes injury to another. For instance, grounds for a premises liability claim may exist when a customer slips and falls on a wet floor at a grocery store. Other common examples of premises liability include:
- Dog bite cases
- Swimming pool accidents
- Elevator/Escalator accidents
- Daycare accidents
- Parking lot accidents
- Staircase accidents
HOW TO FILE A PREMISES LIABILITY CLAIM
1. Seek Medical Attention
The most important step to take after being injured on someone else’s property is to seek proper medical treatment. You should seek medical attention even in cases where the injury seems minor. In many cases, the victim may feel fine immediately following an accident, but may experience pain or discomfort hours or days after the accident. Thus, it is often a wise decision to get medical attention as soon as possible after any type of injury.
2. File a Report
When feasible, an injury victim should file an incident report. For instance, if a slip and fall injury occurred at a store or location with on-site managers, you should file a report with a manager or supervisor. Filing a report will create an official record of the incident which may strengthen the viability of a claim. When filling out the report, be sure to disclose as many details as possible, including where the accident occurred, how it occurred, and what injuries resulted.
3. Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer
The next step in the claim process is to contact a New Mexico premises liability lawyer. A lawyer may schedule an initial consultation where the victim can provide the lawyer with his or her side of the story. After discussing the facts of the case, the lawyer may be able to provide legal advice regarding rights and options moving forward.
Learn More: Why Hiring a Lawyer Will Help Your Case
The investigation phase of a premises liability claim generally involves the lawyer gathering facts and evidence to show that the property owner should be held legally accountable for the injuries sustained on the premises. For instance, the lawyer may:
- Interview witnesses
- Review surveillance footage
- Analyze medical records
- Discuss the case with experts
The investigation process may also involve accounting for the damages sustained as a result of the accident.
5. Settlement and Lawsuit
Prior to litigation, an injury victim may have the option of accepting a settlement from the landowner or the landowner’s insurance company. In such cases, a premises liability lawyer may negotiate the terms of the settlement on your behalf. If it is not in your best interests to accept a settlement offer, your case may proceed to trial. At trial, the lawyer may advocate on your behalf to establish fault on the part of the landowner.
Damages may be awarded in a premises liability case if it can be established that the landowner breached his duty of care in maintaining the property. Damages that may be available in a New Mexico premises liability claim include economic damages and non-economic damages.
Economic damages are damages that can be quantified or calculated. The primary forms of economic damages involved in a premises liability case may include:
- Medical bills
- Pharmacy bills
- Rehabilitation costs
- Lost income (present and future)
- Loss of earning capacity
Non-economic damages refer to intangible losses that cannot be calculated on paper. Rather, non-economic damages are subjectively evaluated by the jury in a lawsuit. Types of non-economic damages in a premises liability case may include:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Loss of consortium
Discussing your case with a personal injury attorney may help you better understand damages and the types of compensation that may be available to you following an injury.
LEGAL TIME LIMITS
New Mexico has a three-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims. This means that an injury victim has three years from the date of the accident to bring a premises liability claim. For instance, if you were injured in a slip and fall accident at a grocery store on March 1, 2020, you would have until March 1, 2023 to file your claim. Certain events may also pause, or “toll,” the statute of limitations.
Because the statute of limitations is a critical factor in personal injury cases, you should consider discussing the facts of your case with an experienced personal injury attorney, especially if you think the statute of limitations is nearing. An attorney may provide you with legal advice regarding the status and viability of your claim.
GET HELP FROM A ZINDA LAW GROUP LAWYER
Zinda Law Group’s New Mexico premises liability lawyers may fight on your behalf. With a Zinda attorney in your corner, you may receive:
Premises liability laws aren’t always straightforward. There are many factors to take into consideration such as contributory negligence and statutes of limitations. A Zinda personal injury lawyer may help you navigate a premises liability claim from start to finish.
At Zinda Law Group, our attorneys take pride in providing high-quality service to all of our clients. Throughout the entire representation, from the initial consultation up to the disposition of the case, our attorneys may guide you through the claim filing process.
The outcome of a personal injury case may depend on the resources used to build the claim. Fortunately, at Zinda Law Group, we have access to numerous resources that may be used to strengthen a claim. Our offices have handled large and complex cases, conducted thorough interviews with the necessary parties, hired expert witnesses, and utilized state of the art technology.
Negotiation and Trial Advocacy
Our team may fiercely negotiate with insurance companies and opposing counsel. If the case is litigated in court, an attorney may advocate for you, always keeping your situation and best interests in mind.
No Win, No Fee Guarantee
Our firm also believes that a client should not have to worry about being able to afford legal representation. That is why we offer 100% free consultations, and why you pay nothing unless we win your case. That's our No Win, No Fee Guarantee.
Meetings with attorneys are by appointment only.