Premises liability is an area of tort law. In North Carolina, property owners have a duty and obligation to keep their premises in a reasonably safe condition. Property owners must inspect their property to ensure it is in a reasonably safe condition.
If property owners find any defects or dangerous conditions, they must warn visitors of the unsafe conditions. When property owners breach their duties, they may be liable for injuries that occur on their premises.
If you suffered injuries on an unsafe, property, please call Wilson Law, P.A. today at 919-890-0180 for a free review of your claim. Our attorneys serve clients hailing from Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, and throughout North Carolina.
Building Your Premises Liability Case
Premises liability claims can be difficult to win in North Carolina because North Carolina utilizes contributory negligence. Contributory negligence is a legal principle which states that if a plaintiff is partially to blame for the injury or accident, any damages the plaintiff recovers will be reduced accordingly. Consequently, if you have been injured in a business establishment or on someone else’s property, it is extremely important that you contact the experienced attorneys at Wilson Law, P.A.
In North Carolina, the statute of limitations for premises liability claims is three years. The statute of limitations begins on the date the injury or accident occurs. Thus, if a premises liability claim is not filed within three years, it is barred forever.
A broad array of damages may be recovered under premises liability. Generally, plaintiffs can recover damages for:
- Bodily injury
- Lost wages
- Medical expenses
- Emotional distress
- Interference with your social and familial relationships
- Change in your ability to earn money in the future
- Property damage
Slip and Fall
Slip and fall accidents are the classic example of premises liability. Most slip and fall cases arise from a third party spilling or dropping something. This untidiness creates an unsafe condition which causes an individual to slip and fall. In order to recover, the plaintiff must show that the property owner had actual or constructive knowledge of the unsafe condition.
Generally, whether a property owner can be held liable for a slip and fall depends on how long the unsafe condition existed. For example, it would be extremely difficult to hold a property owner liable for an unsafe condition that only existed for a few minutes before an individual slipped and fell.
However, the length of time an unsafe condition existed does not matter if the property owner actually knew about the condition. For example, assume a grocery store employee sees a customer spill something but does not do anything to clean it up or warn others of the unsafe condition and another customer falls three minutes later. In such a case, a plaintiff could most likely prove liability because the unsafe condition was actually known – it does not matter that the slip and fall happened only three minutes after the spill.
Common examples of slip and fall scenarios are:
- Spilled food or liquid
- Failure to post warning signs during or after cleaning/mopping
- Bulging or torn carpet
- Merchandise strewn about the floor
- Excessive application of wax or polish
Accidents resulting from dangerous sidewalks, while rarer, can be extremely hazardous. Among other things, falling on concrete can result in more serious abrasions. A sidewalk must be maintained in a reasonably safe condition. Premises liability may apply if a sidewalk is maintained in a dangerous condition. It does not matter whether the sidewalk is maintained by a city, state, business, or private individual.
Common defects in sidewalks which cause injury include:
- Uneven surfaces
- Snow and ice
- Heaving concrete slabs
- Depressions and irregularities in the concrete
- Drastic change in elevation
Dangerous Parking Lots
Property owners have a duty to ensure that their parking lots are safe. Inadequate lighting is a common defect in parking lots. Automobile theft and vandalism can occur if there is insufficient lighting in a parking lot. Even worse, inadequate lighting can lead to parking lots being a prime spot for physical assaults and robberies. Inadequate lighting can also lead to slip and falls because people cannot see where they are walking. If you were injured in a parking lot, call Wilson Law, P.A. today to learn your rights.
Injuries at Business Establishments
Property owners are also liable for fires, explosions, and other catastrophic events at businesses. Not only can injuries result from the actual fire or explosion, but patrons could be injured during the evacuation. Fires or explosions at business can cause bodily injury, property damage, and severe emotional distress.
If you are injured at a business establishment, no matter the source, you have rights.
Tragically, sexual assaults can occur at business establishments or other public places. The types of sexual assault that could occur at a business establishment or public place range from invasion of privacy to physical assault.
Under the old rule, property owners were not liable for sexual assaults committed by a third party because intentional acts by another limit the property owner’s liability. However, courts have modified this rule because they found it too restrictive and unfair.
Under modern rules, a sexual assault could be held foreseeable in some circumstances. These circumstances include the history of crime in the area and the type of business being conducted. For example, it may be foreseeable that an invasion of privacy (i.e., voyeurism) could occur at the dressing rooms of a department store or at a tanning salon. In cases of sexual assault, the business and property owner could be liable.
Please contact Wilson Law, P.A. using the form or call 919-890-0180 today to schedule your free premises liability consultation. We serve clients in Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, and all areas of North Carolina.