CALL (800) 863-5312 TO SPEAK WITH AN ALBUQUERQUE PREMISES LIABILITY LAWYER
Sometimes even everyday tasks such as going to the grocery store or visiting our favorite restaurant can result in injury. When an accident can be avoided, however, it should be. Fortunately, the law recognizes this concept. Business owners and even sometimes homeowners have a legal responsibility to do what they can to make sure you have a safe experience when you are on their property.
If you believe you have a premises liability claim, you should not have to fight for your recovery alone. Having an experienced attorney can ease the process of filing a claim and may help you seek the compensation you may be entitled to.
WHO IS LIABLE IF YOU FALL AT A BUSINESS?
If you slip and fall at a business, you may be able to seek compensation for your injuries. Whether or not you are successful in seeking compensation depends on the circumstances of the accident, such as where you were, how the accident happened, and what role you played.
If you are at a business such as a store, you are known as an invitee. This simply means that you have technically been “invited” onto this type of property and have permission to be there. Although a storeowner hasn’t sent you an official invitation to come shop in their store or dine in their restaurant, you have an implied invitation to be there. This is because both you and the store are enjoying a mutual benefit from you choosing to shop there. You get to buy the groceries you need or the electronics you want, and they get paid.
In an invitee relationship, the store employees and owner have a duty to check their store for any hazards. If they find anything that could be hazardous, they have a legal obligation to make it safe or to make sure you know about it. This could be as simple as putting out a wet floor sign. If an employee of a store becomes aware of a particular hazard that could cause customers harm, and they choose to do nothing about it, they have breached their legal obligation to keep their premises safe. This breach puts them in a position to possibly be liable to you for your injuries.
Read More: Wet and Slippery Floor Injuries
For a free legal consultation with a premises liability lawyer serving Albuquerque, call 800-863-5312
WHEN IS THE BUSINESS NOT LIABLE?
Premises Liability in Albuquerque lawyers near me 800-863-5312
Owner Did Not Know of Hazard
There are a few reasons why a store or other business would not be liable for your injuries if you slip and fall while on their property. The most obvious reason is if they didn’t know about the hazard that caused you to slip. Although it may seem unlikely, store employees may be diligent about checking for hazards and still ultimately end up not knowing about them. If they didn’t know of a hazard and took the proper steps to inspect their property for hazards, you likely won’t be able to prove they were negligent. However, it is their burden to ultimately prove that they took the necessary steps to keep their property safe, yet still didn’t know a hazard existed.
Owner Gave a Warning About the Hazard
The second way a business may be able to escape liability is by showing that even though they knew of a hazard, they warned their customers about it. For example, if you are hastily moving through a grocery store aisle with a wet floor sign and slip, it may be determined that the store took appropriate precautions to warn you. However, ultimately what level of warning is warranted depends on the hazard itself.
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The Victim Caused the Injury
If your injury was caused by your own actions, such as failing to observe a store’s wet floor warning, this may affect your ability to recover. Each state handles this a little differently, but New Mexico’s comparative fault system reduces your amount of recoverable damages by the percentage in which you were responsible for your accident. If your slip and fall is determined to be completely your fault, then you may be barred from recovery altogether and the business might escape liability.
Ultimately, to establish a store’s liability in your slip and fall case, you need to be able to show that the store was negligent. Each store has a legal obligation to warn their customers of known dangers and to take reasonable steps to check for dangerous conditions that may be initially unknown to them. If they fail to meet that obligation, a court will likely determine the store was negligent.
The following is a checklist you can use to help determine if a store was liable for your slip and fall injury or not:
- Did the store staff know about the hazard that injured you?
- Was the hazard there long enough that an employee of the store could have either cleaned up or repaired the hazard or taken steps to warn you of it?
- Did the store have a policy to require its employees to routinely check for hazards in the store?
- Were there any warnings of potential hazards in the store?
- Were you being careful as you were shopping in the store?
- Were you keeping an eye out for any potential warnings of danger?
HOW TO FILE A CLAIM
If you have been injured by slipping and falling on a business’s property, here are the steps you can take to file a slip and fall claim:
Seek Medical Treatment
Always seek medical treatment after suffering any type of injury, no matter how minor. Receiving medical treatment not only ensures you are taking care of yourself, it can also serve as important documentation of your injuries to help support your claim.
Speak with an Attorney
Contact an Albuquerque premises liability attorney with experience in slip and fall cases as soon as possible. Our attorneys at Zinda Law Group may be able to help. Call us today to receive a 100% free case evaluation.
Learn More: Why Hiring a Lawyer Will Help Your Case
Open an Insurance Claim
Contact your insurance provider and the insurance representing the store to let them know you plan to file a claim. Your attorney can usually take care of this.
It is common for the store or responsible party to reach out to you to extend a settlement offer. Settlement offers are an attempt for all parties to resolve the issue without having to go to trial. If the amount of money in the settlement offer doesn’t feel appropriate to you, you can choose to decline it or negotiate it further. Your attorney will be able to advise you on your options.
Learn More: How to Negotiate with an Insurance Company
When you have a personal injury claim such as a slip and fall, there is the potential to recover two different types of damages. You may seek economic damages and non-economic damages for your injury. Economic damages cover bills that are easily quantified with a set amount of money. This includes costs such as medical bills, lost wages, and other incidentals, like gas money for driving to and from doctor’s appointments. Non-economic damages are based on your pain and suffering and the impact the injury is going to have on your life going forward, and are therefore less concrete. These types of damages generally cover things such as pain and suffering or loss of enjoyment of life.
Learn More: How to Calculate the Value of Case
STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS
Every state has a statute of limitations, which places a time limit by which you are permitted to file a lawsuit for a certain type of claim. If you choose to wait until after the permitted deadline, you may be barred from recovery. New Mexico law will extend to victims a three-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims. This means you need to bring your premises liability claim within three years of the date of the accident to have a chance of recovering any compensation you may be entitled to.
Slip and fall cases involving children are a little different. While this could differ depending on your state, the clock usually doesn’t start running on a child’s slip and fall case until they turn 18.
The statute of limitations may also be affected if the slip and fall accident resulted in a death. The statute of limitations begins in a wrongful death case once the party bringing the suit has discovered, or should have discovered with reasonable diligence, the cause of death of the victim.
TRUST THE ALBUQUERQUE SLIP AND FALL ATTORNEYS AT ZINDA LAW GROUP
If you or a loved one have been injured in a slip and fall or trip and fall, do not hesitate to reach out to the Albuquerque lawyers at Zinda Law Group for help. We don’t believe that accident victims should need to worry about being able to afford representation, which is why we use a no-win, no-fee policy—you don’t pay us anything unless we win your case.
Meetings with attorneys by appointment only.