Have You Been Injured? Can You Sue for Premises Liability?
Have you suffered an injury on another party’s private property in or near the nation’s capital? Was that injury a result of the property owner’s negligence? If so, or if that happens in the future, promptly schedule a case evaluation with a District of Columbia premises liability attorney.
Slip-and-fall injuries are the most common injuries that happen on private properties. You could slip or trip on an escalator or staircase, a slippery or damp floor, in a parking lot, or on a sidewalk. Shoppers can also be injured by falling merchandise or runaway shopping carts.
Slipping or tripping and falling may lead to traumatic brain and head injuries, neck and back injuries, multiple broken bones, contusions, damage to the spinal cord, and a variety of other serious injuries that could require expensive, long-term medical care and treatment.
Do You Have a Right to Compensation?
After you have sustained an injury on someone else’s private property, can you recover compensation? Maybe, but for your claim to prevail, you and your Washington, D.C. premises liability lawyer may have to prove that the owner’s negligence directly caused your injury.
The District of Columbia and all fifty states require property owners to maintain properties that are reasonably free of potential hazards to tenants, employees, customers, and others. The law aims to balance the duties of property owners with the duty of visitors to be aware of their surroundings. If you are injured at work, you may apply for workers’ compensation benefits.
But if your injury happens on private property and isn’t job-related, you may file a claim and recover your medical expenses, your lost earnings, and additional damages – if you were injured because the property owner was negligent, and if your premises liability lawyer can prove it.
How Do Property Owners Fight Premises Liability Claims?
Property owners usually offer one of two main defenses against property liability claims:
- A property owner may claim the hazard that caused the injury was “open and obvious” and that the injured party could and should have seen and avoided the hazard.
- A property owner may claim that the injured party was injured while trespassing or was injured in a restricted or off-limits area.
District of Columbia courts adhere to the contributory negligence doctrine in slip-and-fall cases. If a property owner can prove that an injury victim was even partially at-fault for his or her own injury, the victim cannot recover compensation under the contributory negligence doctrine.
When Will You Need a Premises Liability Lawyer?
After any injury, you should be examined and treated as soon as possible by a medical provider. An immediate medical exam should find any latent or difficult-to-detect injuries and provide you with the medical records that you’ll need if you file a premises liability claim.
If you do not seek an immediate medical examination, or if you fail to keep follow-up appointments with your doctor, an insurance company or a jury may decide that you were not very seriously injured after all.
A slip-and-fall injury victim and his or her District of Columbia premises liability attorney must take action at once. Evidence can quickly deteriorate, get lost, or be destroyed. Surveillance videos can be erased or simply disappear. Over time, the memories of witnesses begin to fade.
If you have been injured in a slip-and-fall incident on private property, as soon as a medical professional has examined and treated you, contact the offices of a Washington, D.C. premises liability lawyer.
Should You Speak to a Property Owner’s Insurance Company?
After a slip-and-fall injury on private property, the owner’s property insurance company may call or visit you. Refer the company to your lawyer. Do not make any statement to that company, don’t sign any insurance document, and do not accept the company’s first settlement offer.
Instead, focus on recovering your health. Let your premises liability attorney do the negotiating and talking for you. Attorneys typically negotiate private settlements of these cases, and most premises liability attorneys know the insurance companies and their negotiating tactics.
When Do Slip-and-Fall Claims Go to Trial?
Most premises liability claims in Maryland and the District of Columbia are resolved out-of-court, but if the liability for your injury is disputed, or if no reasonable settlement offer is forthcoming in the private negotiations, your premises liability lawyer will take your claim to the courts.
At a premises liability trial, your lawyer will tell the jury how (and how extensively) you were injured. The property owner will offer his or her defense, and the jurors will then decide whether the owner was negligent by failing to deal with or repair the hazard that caused your injury.
Can You Afford to Seek Justice?
If you’ve been seriously injured in a slip-and-fall incident, you may be unable to work. You and your family may be accumulating costly medical debts at the same time that you are unable to earn an income, but you do not have to let financial pressures prevent you from seeking justice.
Premises liability lawyers represent their injured clients on a contingent fee basis, so you pay no lawyer’s fee until and unless your compensation is acquired with a courtroom verdict or an out-of-court settlement. If you’re not compensated at the end of the process, you pay no lawyer’s fee.
The statute of limitations for most premises liability claims in the nation’s capital is three years from the date of the injury, but you must not wait three years – and you should not even wait three weeks – to make an appointment to discuss your rights with a premises liability attorney.
Let Goldberg Finnegan Fight on Your Behalf
The award-winning accident and injury attorneys at Goldberg Finnegan have recovered millions of dollars for their injured clients in Maryland and the District of Columbia. We have built a reputation for superlative client service and legal excellence.
Our attorneys know how to fight aggressively and effectively for the compensation – and for the justice – that slip-and-fall injury victims need. Our attorneys are always available when our clients need us, and we promptly return all of our clients’ phone calls and emails.
If you’re injured on another party’s property now or in the future, and if the injury is not your fault, contact Goldberg Finnegan promptly at 301-820-7815 for a free, no-obligation, in-depth case evaluation. Our law offices are located in Washington, D.C. and in Silver Spring, Maryland.