What is a Premises Liability Case?
Premises liability is a common lawsuit in the country. That’s because when you go onto someone else’s property, you should expect that you won’t be seriously harmed. If you are injured due to the property owner’s careless behavior or negligence, you may be able to sue that person or company under Mississippi’s premises liability law.
What is Premises Liability Case?
A premises liability lawsuit is a type of personal injury case that refers to a property owner’s or operator’s legal responsibility to provide safe conditions on their property. A premises liability case can take form in just about any type of open space or structure and can include accidents involving slip and falls, animal attacks, construction sites, casinos, swimming pools, fires, falling equipment, and inadequate security.
Many people file premises liability lawsuits because they need compensation for damages resulting from a severe injury on someone else’s property. These losses may include medical expenses, lost wages, permanent impairment, and pain and suffering. To win one of these cases, or even reach a fair settlement, you will need to be able to prove your case.
The Factors Necessary to Prove a Premises Liability Case
The elements of a premises liability case vary by state, and Mississippi requires that property owners keep visitors reasonably safe from harm. If they fail in their duty, they could be held liable for damages when an injury occurs. In general, the injured party (plaintiff) will have to prove:
- the person who caused the injury (the defendant) owned, leased, or occupied the property;
- the defendant negligently used the property;
- the plaintiff was injured; and,
- the negligence of the defendant was a substantial factor in causing the defendant’s harm.
In most premises liability cases, negligence refers to the failure of the property owner to maintain a safe environment. In other words, if there is a hazard present on the property, the owner must either fix it or warn visitors of its existence.
Liability or the duty of care owed to visitors on the property also depends on that visitor’s status. There are three basic statuses of a visitor: invitees, licensees, and trespassers. The highest duty of care is owed to invitees and licenses, who are people that are considered invited guests onto a property for either social or business purposes. There is a much lower duty owed to a trespasser, except for children, since these are unwanted and uninvited guests.
How Comparative Negligence Works in a Mississippi Premises Liability Case
One law in the state of Mississippi that could impact your premises liability case is the state’s “comparative negligence” rule. According to this rule, the amount of damages that you can collect in a lawsuit may be diminished if you hold any responsibility for the accident.
Even when a property owner has failed to keep their premises safe or neglected to warn you of a dangerous hazard, resulting in severe injury and financial losses, you may be dismayed to hear that you are partially to blame for the accident. According to Mississippi Code section 11-7-15, your recovery for damages could be reduced by the proportion of the amount of your negligence in the accident.
Assume you were injured in a slip and fall accident, broke several bones, and lost time from work because the property owner didn’t mark a wet floor. The owner may claim that the hazard was obvious or that you were staring at your phone while walking, so were partially at fault. If you have $25,000 in damages and are found to be 20% at fault ($5,000), you would only be able to collect $20,000 in your premises liability case. Because a property owner can make these sorts of claims, it’s essential that you speak with a qualified premises liability attorney who will safeguard your interests.
Speak with an Experienced Mississippi Premises Liability Attorney
If you or someone you love has suffered harm on someone else’s property and believe that the property owner should be held responsible for your damages, you may have a strong premises liability case. The aggressive Mississippi personal injury attorneys at Gardner Law Firm have more than 35 years of experience working on behalf of accident victims and their families to secure the compensation they deserve. Contact our Gulf Coast offices now at (228) 436-6555 or reach us online to schedule a free consultation.