Premises Liability Attorneys
The Maine slip and fall attorneys at Briggs and Wholey understand that premises liability accidents can cause life-long injuries. We also know that it can be difficult to move forward with a claim when the responsible party is a friend, relative, or business associate. If you have been injured on someone else’s property due to their negligence, contact us immediately so we can begin helping you seek compensation for your injuries.
Falls Are the Leading Cause of Non-Fatal Injuries
Although premises liability claims can include many types of accidents, falls are one of the most common. Spills, snow and ice, broken stairs, holes in the ground, poor lighting and cluttered walkways can all cause falls. According to the Centers for Disease Control, falls are the leading cause for non-fatal injuries resulting in an emergency department visit. In 2011, falls resulted in more than 9 million emergency department visits for non-fatal injuries.
Maine Premises Liability Law
In Maine, a property owner, lessee, or other with possession and control of the property owes a duty of reasonable care to everyone who is lawfully upon the land. They have a duty to exercise reasonable care to provide safe premises if they know or should know of a particular risk. Premises liability claims are based on negligence, and to bring a successful claim, a plaintiff must prove that: 1) the defendant had a duty to the plaintiff; 2) the defendant breached that duty; 3) the breach was the proximate cause of the accident; and 4) the plaintiff was injured as a result.
When the injury results from a slip and fall on a foreign substance on the floor, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant either caused the substance to be on the floor, had actual knowledge of its existence, or that the substance was on the floor for a long enough period of time that the defendant should have known about it.
Holding the Responsible Party Liable
A person who is injured by the negligence of a property owner or possessor may be entitled to recover medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. If a person is killed in such an accident, his or her personal representative may be able to file a wrongful death action to recover compensation for the pecuniary injuries, medical and funeral expenses, and the loss of comfort, society and companionship of the deceased, along with the “conscious suffering” of the deceased.
Limitations on Recovery
Comparative negligence is commonly an issue in premises liability cases. Defendants may argue that the injured person failed to look where he or she was going or chose to take an obviously dangerous action. An injured person whose fault is equal to or greater than the other party’s is barred from recovering for his or her injuries. If the injured person shares less than equal fault, the recovery is reduced by the amount the jury finds to be equitable and just.
Defendants can also challenge any element of a plaintiff’s negligence claim. First, they can challenge the duty element by challenging the injured person’s legal status on the property. Although owners have a duty to everyone who is legally on the property, they do not have the same duty to trespassers. Additionally, if a person was invited onto the property for a specific purpose and then wanders into an area of the property to which his or her invitation did not extend, that person may become a trespasser who does not benefit from the duty of reasonable care.
Defendants may also argue that their actions met the standard of reasonable care. Alternatively, they may argue that the alleged negligence was not the proximate cause of the accident. Additionally, they may argue that there was not an injury or that the claimed injury did not result from the accident.
Furthermore, Maine law limits the duty of care owed to those entering or using the property for recreational or harvesting purposes. “Recreational activity” specifically includes fishing, hunting, boating, skiing, and a number of other outdoor activities.
Helping Accident Victims
The property owner or possessor is in control of the accident scene and much of the evidence, making it important to begin the investigation promptly. Additionally, the insurance company may request a statement from the accident victim, seeking information that may hurt the victim’s case. The Maine personal injury lawyers at Briggs and Wholey have nearly 30 years of combined experience handling personal injury claims in Maine. We have the knowledge and skills to investigate your case and protect you from the insurance company. Contact us online or call us at (888) 596-1099 to schedule your free consultation.