Defective Property Conditions
The Maine premises liability attorneys at Briggs and Wholey recognize the difficulties victims of premises liability accidents face. The insurance company may doubt the cause or location of the accident, question the injuries, or accuse the victim of negligently causing his or her own injuries. For nearly 30 years of combined experience representing personal injury clients. If you were injured as a result of defective conditions on someone else’s property, let us investigate and present your claim to the insurance company so that you can focus on recovering from your injuries.Accidents on Property Can Have Many Causes
Although slip and falls arising from snow and ice or other temporary conditions account for a large number of premises liability claims, there are many more lasting property defects that can lead to catastrophic injuries. Deck collapses, for example, have been increasing in recent years. The North American Deck and Railing Association reports that there were at least 30 deaths resulting from deck collapses between 2000 and 2008. They also estimate that approximately 75% of the people on a deck at the time of a collapse are killed. Decks may collapse as the result of improper construction or failure to inspect or maintain an aging structure.
Defects are also common on stairs. Stairs may be constructed at an improper height or width, or lack necessary handrails. They may also rot or crumble with age.
Other common property defects involve pools, playground equipment, elevators, and lead paint. Fires may also result in premises liability claims, based on the property owner or occupier either negligently causing the fire or providing inadequate exits and/or safety equipment.Premises Liability in Maine
Premises liability claims are based on the legal theory of negligence, meaning that the injured person must prove that the defendant owed him or her a duty of care, that the duty was breached, that the breach was the proximate cause of the injury, and that breach resulted in damages to the injured person. In Maine, the party who owns or has control or possession of the property at issue has a duty to exercise reasonable care to provide safe premises to those who are lawfully on the land. This duty arises where the owner or possessor of the property knows or should know of the risk.
While not necessary to prevail in a negligence claim, proof of violation of an applicable building code can support a plaintiff’s claim that a particular condition was unsafe and thus constituted a breach of the duty of care. Maine has adopted the Maine Uniform Building and Energy Code, which requires enforcement by any city larger than 4,000 people. Pursuant to this statute, Maine has adopted the International Building Code, the International Residential Code, the International Existing Building Code, and other widely recognized standards. These codes provide specific requirements for construction, and a violation can be strong support for a negligence claim.Multiple Potential Defendants
Sometimes the property owner is not in possession and control of the premises, but instead leases the property to a business or individual. In such cases, many of the duties of maintaining the property pass to the lessee under Maine law, but some duties may be retained by the landlord/property owner. Landlords, for example, maintain liability for common areas.
Additionally, Maine law provides that a party who does not own or occupy the property can be liable for foreseeable injuries arising from a dangerous condition if that party negligently caused the condition. Parties who may be liable under this rule include contractors, utility companies, or manufacturers.Recovery for the Loss
Recoverable damages in Maine include lost wages, medical expenses, pain and suffering. In a wrongful death action, the personal representative of the deceased may seek compensation for monetary loss, medical and funeral expenses, conscious suffering of the deceased, and the loss of comfort, society, and companionship.Representing Injury Victims
Premises liability claims arising from defective property conditions require prompt and thorough investigation to identify all potential defendants. Through our nearly 30 years of combined experience, the Maine slip and fall lawyers at Briggs and Wholey have developed the skills to evaluate and aggressively pursue your case. Call us at (888) 596-1099 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation.