First, the victim’s legal status must be determined. The victim may have been an invitee, such as a customer in a store; a licensee, such as a guest; a social guest; or a trespasser. Only trespassers cannot file a claim. However, under the attractive nuisance doctrine, owners may be held liable in cases where trespassing children are injured by items, such as swimming pools, that owners knew would attract them to the property.
Those who file a claim should be able to show that the owner reasonably knew about the dangerous condition that led to their injury and that the owner had a reasonable amount of time to address it. Victims must also show that they themselves acted in a safe manner on the property.
In some cases, both owners and the victims may be at fault. That’s where comparative negligence law comes in. On the other hand, there are rules that protect landlords, with some exceptions, from being held liable for injuries on properties they have leased out.
Those who intend to file a claim may want to hire a lawyer who deals in premises liability. The lawyer may bring in investigators to gather evidence of the property owner’s negligence, which could include the incident report and any surveillance camera footage or eyewitness testimony. The lawyer may determine how much victims are eligible for and negotiate for a settlement. If successful, victims may be reimbursed for their medical expenses, lost wages and other losses.