Thomas E. Scifres PC - Attorney At Law.
Thomas E. Scifres PC - Attorney At Law.
  • 43 Public Square,
    Suite 103,
    Salem, IN 47167
  • Schedule Your Free Personal Injury Consultation.

    (812) 359-8007

    Call For An Appointment To Discuss Your Needs.

Understanding Indiana Premises Liability Claims

In this article, you can learn about:

  • Why premises liability cases can be so difficult to prove.
  • What action you can take if you are injured in extenuating circumstances (i.e. on government-owned property or at a friend’s house.)
  • How the Comparative Fault Act impacts Indiana premises liability claims.

What Is The Most Common Type Of Premises Liability Claim?

Most commonly, premises liability claims arise when unsafe conditions cause people to fall. These falls generally are due to things like unexpected slippery conditions or artificially uneven surfaces.

Slippery conditions often come from spills or rainwater that is tracked in by other customers. When water or other liquids accumulate on hard tile or wood surfaces, it leads to dangerously slippery conditions.

Artificially uneven surfaces are usually caused by one of two things: (1) Defects in paving, pavers, or cracked and settled concrete, or (2) Bent thresholds in doorways.

What Type Of Injuries Often Occur As A Result Of A Trip And Fall Or Slip And Fall Accident?

Fall accidents are a danger to anyone. But unfortunately, the majority of the injuries in fall cases are sustained by elder clients.

In any case, these falls often result in injuries that require medical attention. When falling forward or backward unexpectedly, you may sustain:

  • Facial Fractures
  • Dental Damage
  • Broken Limbs
  • Spinal Injuries
  • Wrist Injuries
  • Head Trauma
  • Soft Tissue Damage
  • And more…

Whatever injuries you have suffered, it’s essential to get medical treatment as soon as possible. After you have received care, contact a premises liability attorney for a free case consultation and find out what the next steps may be available to you.

How Do You Prove Premises Liability? Is It Hard To Prove Negligence?

Premises liability cases are some of the hardest legal matters to obtain a successful result in. For that reason, many attorneys rarely take them on, and some attorneys won’t consider them at all. Why? Because, no matter how serious the injury, there are liability components to these claims that aren’t included in other injury claims.

The most serious issue for most attorneys handling these cases is comparative fault.

Everyone has a duty to watch out for their own safety. And because fall cases almost always involve people walking on the ground or a floor, there is a common belief among the general public that people who fall probably weren’t paying sufficient attention to their own safety. Therefore, without compelling evidence and argument, some portion of the fault is likely to be placed on the injured party.

(Under Indiana law, if the injured party is deemed to be more than 50% at fault, the law prohibits any recovery at all.)

Another complicating factor to premises liability cases is the relative complexity of the laws that govern them.

In all injury cases, there are two main issues that have to be determined: (1) Liability, or “Who is at fault?” and (2) Damages, or “What are the injuries worth?”

In a premises liability case, the “negligence inquiry” involves an initial analysis of the injured party’s status. The person injured on someone else’s property must first be classified as either a trespasser, a licensee, or an invitee.

How the person is classified determines what test is used to see if the property owner should be deemed negligent. The complexity of this classification and the duties owed under each are too involved to explore here. But potential clients should be aware that trespassers are owed the lowest duty of care, while invitees are owed the highest duty of care.

Once the injured party has been classified as a trespasser, licensee, or invitee, the facts are applied to the appropriate legal standard to determine whether a breach of duty occurred.

I Sustained Injuries On Public Property. Who Might Be Liable?

Injuries that occur on publicly-owned property are the most challenging to recover compensation for. (By “publicly-owned”, we mean owned by Federal, State, or Local government.)

Why are these claims so difficult to find a successful outcome for?

First, there is the Tort Claims Act.

Second, the Comparative Fault Act excludes all governmental entities, so any comparative fault (even 1%) means you are ineligible for any form of recovery at all.

Third, the existence of liability insurance is not admissible at trial in claims regarding publicly-owned property. What’s more, there is a general understanding that any payment made by the government for an injury claim is simply taxpayer money coming out of their collective pockets.

I Slipped And Fell And Was Injured On A Friend Or Family Members’ Property. I Really Don’t Want To Sue, But I Can’t Afford My Medical Bills. What Should I Do?

People rarely want to pursue a claim against their friends and family members. However, when an injury occurs, making a claim against their insurance is the sometimes only way you can afford medical care. What’s more – that’s exactly what an insurance policy is there for.

Practically all policies of insurance have coverage for medical payments. “Med pay” as it is called, pays for the reasonable and necessary medical expenses incurred by someone injured while on the property. It differs from liability coverage because it pays out – no matter who was at fault. The primary downside is that it usually has fairly low limits. As a result, not all medical treatments may be covered.

(Also, it’s important to keep in mind: You don’t have to sue to make a claim for personal injuries. You only have to file a lawsuit if you are unable to settle and within the Statute of Limitations.)

For more information on Premises Liability Injury Claims In Indiana, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (812) 359-8007 today.

Thomas E. Scifres

Schedule Your Free Personal Injury Consultation.
(812) 359-8007
Call For An Appointment To Discuss Your Needs.

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