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November 15, 2023
Clarke Speaks

What Are the Most Common Types of Premises Liability Cases in Charlotte, North Carolina?

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Charlotte, North Carolina is not just a hub of economic growth and cultural vibrancy; it's a place many are proud to call home. With bustling streets, active businesses, and countless events, the city pulsates with life. But as with many urban areas, Charlotte also witnesses its share of premises liability accidents.

Premises liability accidents refer to injuries occurring on someone else's property. These accidents can happen in various locations: from busy shopping centers, local grocery stores, to even tranquil private residences. The aftermath of such incidents can be more than just physical pain; the emotional toll and disruptions to daily life can be overwhelming. 

We recognize the profound impact these accidents can have on individuals and their families. To help you navigate the complexities surrounding such incidents, this blog will delve into premises liability law, discuss common types of premises liability cases, shed light on how North Carolina’s negligence laws can influence compensation, and offer tips on how to avoid becoming a victim.

If you or a loved one is navigating the repercussions of such an accident, know that help is available. With years of dedicated experience in the field, Speaks Law Firm is here to guide you. For a comprehensive review of your case at no cost to you, contact us at (980) 237-6948. In these challenging times, let us be the voice that speaks for you.

Key Takeaways

  • Premises liability is a legal concept that outlines a property owner’s obligation to provide safe conditions for visitors.
  • Common types of premises liability cases involve slip and fall, trip and fall, warehouse, parking lot, and negligent security incidents.
  • Victims may be able to pursue compensation through an experienced Charlotte premises liability lawyer with evidence of negligence needed by the plaintiff in order to do so.

What Is Premises Liability?

Premises liability is a legal concept that holds property owners and occupiers responsible for injuries that occur on their property. This includes injuries to visitors, customers, and employees.

Premises liability cases are based on the principle that property owners have a duty to keep their premises safe for visitors. This duty includes identifying and repairing or warning visitors about hazardous conditions. If a property owner breaches this duty and a visitor is injured as a result, the property owner may be held liable for the visitor's injuries.

If you’re injured on someone else's property, contact a Charlotte premises liability attorney to discuss your case. An attorney can help you determine whether you have a premises liability case and can assist you with the process of filing a claim.

Common Types of Premises Liability

There are many different types of premises liability cases. Some of the most common include:

  • Slip and fall accidents
  • Trip and fall accidents
  • Warehouse accidents
  • Parking lot accidents
  • Negligent security incidents
  • Hazardous conditions
  • Dog bites

Each of these cases may result in significant injuries for individuals on the premises. We’ll examine each of these types of premises liability cases in more detail below.

Slip and Fall Accidents

Slip and Fall Accidents
Slip and fall accidents are one of the most common types of premises liability cases. A slip and fall accident occurs when someone slips and falls on someone else's property, resulting in injury.

Slip and fall accidents can happen anywhere, but they are especially common in places like grocery stores, restaurants, hotels, and office buildings. Common causes of slip and fall accidents include:

  • Wet or slippery floors
  • Uneven surfaces
  • Poor lighting
  • Obstacles in walkways
  • Broken or missing railings
  • Loose cords or wires
  • Changes in elevation

Trip and Fall Accidents

Trip and Fall Accidents
Trips and falls are similar to slip and falls in that they can happen anywhere and can result in serious injuries. However, trips and falls are caused by tripping over an object, such as a cord, curb, or hole in the ground, rather than slipping on a wet or slippery surface.

Common causes of trips and falls include:

  • Cords or wires across walkways
  • Uneven surfaces
  • Broken or missing sidewalks or steps
  • Holes in the ground
  • Obstacles in walkways
  • Poor lighting
  • Clutter

Warehouse Accidents

Charlotte premises liability lawyer
Warehouse accidents can also be premises liability cases. Property owners, including warehouse owners, have a duty to keep their premises safe for visitors and workers. This duty includes identifying and repairing or warning visitors and workers about hazardous conditions. 

If a property owner breaches this duty and a visitor or worker is injured as a result, the property owner may be held liable for the visitor or worker's injuries.

Here are some examples of warehouse hazards:

  • Slippery floors
  • Uneven surfaces
  • Poor lighting
  • Exposed wiring
  • Holes in the ground
  • Dangerous chemicals
  • Falling objects
  • Forklift accidents
  • Conveyor belt accidents
  • Pallet tipovers
  • Loading dock accidents

Parking Lot Accidents

Charlotte premises liability lawyer
Parking lots are also considered premises, and property owners have a duty to maintain them in a safe condition for visitors. This duty includes identifying and repairing or warning visitors about hazardous conditions. If a property owner breaches this duty and a visitor is injured as a result, the property owner may be held liable for the visitor's injuries.

Here are some examples of parking lot hazards:

  • Potholes
  • Speed bumps
  • Cracks in the pavement
  • Uneven surfaces
  • Poor lighting
  • Lack of signage
  • Dangerous debris

Negligent Security

Negligent Security
Negligent security is a type of premises liability case that occurs when a property owner fails to provide adequate security measures to protect visitors from foreseeable criminal activity. This can include failing to install security lights, security cameras, or security guards, or failing to maintain these security measures in good working order.

Property owners have a duty to keep their premises safe for visitors, and this duty includes taking reasonable steps to prevent crime. If a property owner breaches this duty and a visitor is injured as a result, the property owner may be held liable for the visitor's injuries.

Here are some examples of negligent security:

  • A store owner fails to install security cameras in the parking lot, and a customer is robbed as they are walking to their car
  • A bar owner fails to hire security guards, and a patron is assaulted inside the bar
  • An apartment complex owner fails to maintain the security fence around the property, and a tenant is burglarized in their apartment

Hazardous Conditions

Hazardous Conditions
Hazardous conditions are a type of premises liability case that occurs when a property owner fails to maintain their property in a safe condition and a visitor is injured as a result.

Property owners have a duty to maintain their premises in a safe condition for visitors. This duty includes identifying and repairing or warning visitors about hazardous conditions. If a property owner breaches this duty and a visitor is injured as a result, the property owner may be held liable for the visitor's injuries.

Here are some examples of hazardous conditions:

  • Slippery floors
  • Uneven sidewalks or steps
  • Broken railings
  • Poor lighting
  • Exposed wiring
  • Holes in the ground
  • Dangerous chemicals
  • Falling objects
  • Wild animals

Dog Bites

Dog Bites
A dog bite can be a premises liability case if it happens on someone else's property and the property owner is negligent in some way. For example, if a property owner knows that their dog is aggressive but does not take steps to prevent it from biting people, they may be held liable for any injuries caused by the dog.

Here are some examples of how a dog bite could be a premises liability case:

  • A dog bites a guest at a private home because the homeowner did not warn the guest about the dog's aggressive behavior.
  • A dog bites a delivery driver on a customer's property because the customer did not close the gate to their yard.
  • A dog bites a child playing in a public park because the park owner did not have adequate security measures in place to prevent dogs from entering the park.

Steps to Take If You've Been Injured in a Premises Accident

Steps to Take If You've Been Injured in a Premises Accident
Experiencing an injury on someone else's property can be disconcerting and painful. Knowing the right steps to take post-incident can be crucial not only for your health but also if you decide to pursue a legal claim. Here's a step-by-step guide on what to do if you've been injured on another's premises:

  • Seek Medical Attention Immediately: Your health is paramount. Even if the injury seems minor initially, it's essential to consult a medical professional. Some injuries might not manifest symptoms immediately and could worsen if untreated.
  • Document the Scene: Use your smartphone or camera to take pictures of the exact location where you were injured. Capture any potential hazards like wet floors, broken stairs, or inadequate lighting. This visual evidence can be invaluable later on.
  • Report the Incident: Inform the property owner, manager, or supervisor about the accident. Ensure they make a formal record of the incident, and ask for a copy of this report for your records.
  • Gather Witnesses: If there were any witnesses present during your accident, obtain their names and contact details. Their testimonies can be beneficial in validating your account of events.
  • Preserve Evidence: Along with photographs, preserve any physical evidence related to your accident. For example, if you slipped because of a worn-out carpet, a piece of that carpet or your damaged clothing might be relevant.
  • Avoid Providing Detailed Statements: While it's essential to report the incident, refrain from giving detailed statements or signing documents without consulting an attorney, especially if they might infer you're at fault.
  • Keep a Journal: Document any pain, suffering, medical treatments, or disruptions to your daily life resulting from the accident. This record can help outline the impact of the injury on your life.
  • Consult a Personal Injury Attorney: If you believe the property owner's negligence led to your injury, consult a personal injury lawyer familiar with premises liability cases. Talk to your lawyer before signing anything. They can guide you on the next steps and evaluate the viability of your claim.
  • Avoid Social Media: Refrain from discussing your accident or injuries on social media platforms. Any public statements can potentially be used against you during a legal proceeding.
  • Follow Medical Advice: Adhere to the treatments and medications prescribed by healthcare professionals. Not following medical advice can be construed as negligence on your part, affecting your claim.

Experiencing an injury can be traumatic, but by following these steps, you can ensure that your rights are protected and that you're in a favorable position should you decide to pursue legal action.

Proving Negligence in a Premises Liability Case

Proving Negligence in a Premises Liability Case
To prove a premises liability case, the injured person must show the following:

  • Duty of Care: Property owners (or occupiers) generally have a duty to ensure that their premises are reasonably safe for lawful visitors. This duty includes both addressing known hazards and those they should reasonably be aware of.
  • Breach of Duty: If a property owner fails to address a hazard they know or should reasonably know about, they may be seen as breaching their duty of care.
  • Causation: If that breach directly results in an injury, then causation may be established. It's essential to prove that the injury wouldn't have occurred but for the property owner's negligence.
  • Damages: Finally, there must be actual harm or damages, such as physical injury, emotional distress, or financial loss, which directly resulted from the breach.

To demonstrate negligence in a premises liability case, your attorney will need evidence of the hazard, injury, and the property owner’s awareness of the hazardous condition. This may include photographs, witness statements, and other evidence that demonstrate the hazardous condition of the property.

Additionally, medical records and witness statements can be used to illustrate the severity of the injury. Records of prior complaints, inspection reports, and other relevant evidence indicating the property owner was aware of the hazardous condition are also crucial. In such cases, the property owner’s insurance company may be involved in the claim process.

Doctrine of Pure Contributory Negligence

North Carolina is one of four states that follows the doctrine of pure contributory negligence in premises liability cases. This means that if the injured person is found to be even 1% responsible for their own injuries, they will be barred from recovering any compensation from the property owner.

Often the responsible property owner/occupant will argue that you should have seen and avoided whatever caused you to slip or trip and fall.  We often overcome this by showing that you were distracted by advertisements or lights put there by the owner to attract your attention from staring at the floor.  Try to recall and photograph what those distractions were.

The doctrine of pure contributory negligence is a complex area of law, and it is critical to consult with an experienced premises liability attorney if you have been injured in a premises liability accident. An attorney can help you determine whether the defendant's negligence was gross or willful and wanton, and can assist you with the process of filing a claim.

Attractive Nuisance Doctrine

At its core, the Attractive Nuisance Doctrine acknowledges that children are naturally curious. Sometimes, their sense of adventure can lead them to dangers they might not fully understand. Certain features on a property, even if unintended, can act as magnets for children, drawing them towards potential harm.

For example, an abandoned swimming pool, old machinery, or faulty playground equipment can be seen as alluring playgrounds to a child's eye, even though they pose significant risks.

The doctrine posits that property owners have a duty to recognize and mitigate such potential hazards, especially if they are likely to attract children. This responsibility stands even if the children are technically trespassing.

It's not enough for an owner to argue that the child shouldn't have been on the property in the first place. If a feature of the property is likely to attract a child and poses a risk, the property owner might be held liable for any injuries sustained.

Compensation for Injuries in Premises Liability Cases

Compensation for Injuries in Premises Liability Cases
If you’re injured in a premises liability accident, you may be able to recover compensation for your injuries. The type and amount of compensation you may be eligible for will depend on the specific facts of your case, including the severity of your injuries and the extent of your losses.

Some common types of compensation that may be available in premises liability cases include:

  • Medical expenses: This includes the cost of all medical treatment related to your injury, such as hospitalization, surgery, doctor's visits, physical therapy, and prescription medications.
  • Lost wages: If your injuries prevent you from working, you may be able to recover compensation for your lost wages. This includes both past and future lost wages.
  • Pain and suffering: This type of compensation is designed to compensate you for the physical and emotional pain and suffering you have experienced as a result of your injury.
  • Property damage: If your property was damaged in the accident, you may be able to recover compensation for the cost of repairs or replacement.
  • Funeral expenses: If your loved one was killed in a premises liability accident, you may be able to recover compensation for their funeral expenses.

In some cases, you may also be able to recover punitive damages. Punitive damages are designed to punish the property owner for their reckless or negligent behavior. However, punitive damages are only awarded in rare cases.

Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations for premises liability cases in North Carolina is three years from the date of the injury. Failure to file a lawsuit within the statute of limitations may result in being barred from recovery. 

Tips to Avoid Being a Premises Liability Victim

Tips to Avoid Being a Premises Liability Victim
While some accidents may be unavoidable, you can take several precautions to minimize your risk of becoming a victim. Here are some tips to enhance your personal safety when visiting another's property:

  • Stay Alert: Always be aware of your surroundings. Whether it's a wet floor sign, uneven pavement, or an obstructed path, paying attention can prevent unwanted accidents.
  • Wear Appropriate Footwear: Based on where you're going, ensure your shoes are fit for the environment. Sturdy shoes with good traction can prevent slips, trips, and falls.
  • Use Handrails: When navigating stairs or elevated areas, always use handrails. They're designed to provide stability and support.
  • Avoid Distracted Walking: Texting, using a phone, or being overly engaged in conversation can divert your attention from potential hazards. It's vital to remain focused, especially in unfamiliar environments.
  • Report Hazards: If you spot a potential danger like a broken step, unsecured carpet, or faulty lighting, report it to the property owner or manager. This not only ensures your safety but also helps others.
  • Seek Well-Lit Areas: Especially during nighttime, stick to areas with adequate lighting. Dimly lit places can conceal hazards.
  • Be Cautious in Inclement Weather: Rain, snow, and ice can make surfaces slippery. Be extra cautious during these conditions, watching for puddles, ice patches, or other hazards.
  • Follow Posted Signs: Always adhere to signs or warnings placed by property owners. They're typically there to indicate known dangers or restricted areas.

By taking these proactive measures, you can significantly reduce your chances of becoming a premises liability victim. However, remember that property owners still bear the responsibility to ensure their premises are safe. If you believe an owner's negligence caused an injury, it's essential to seek legal counsel.

Championing Your Rights in Premises Liability Cases: Trust Speaks Law Firm

Championing Your Rights in Premises Liability Cases Trust Speaks Law Firm
Experiencing an injury on someone else's property can leave you feeling vulnerable and uncertain about the next steps. When premises negligence plays a role, the path to justice demands not just legal knowledge but also unwavering dedication and compassion.

At Speaks Law Firm, we understand the complexities involved in premises liability cases in Charlotte. We are experienced with the unique challenges that come with seeking justice in these situations. Our team of Charlotte personal injury lawyers is dedicated to guiding you every step of the way, ensuring you're not just heard but also defended and represented with utmost precision.

If you or a loved one has suffered due to unsafe conditions on another's property, don't navigate this journey alone. Reach out to Speaks Law Firm at (980) 237-6948 or fill out our online form for a free consultation. 

Let us champion your rights, advocate for your recovery, and help you regain your footing with the confidence that someone is looking out for your best interests. Your recovery starts with the right voice on your side.

Copyright © 2024. Speaks Law Firm. All Rights Reserved.
The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting based on any information included in or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country, or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.
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