Property owners take on a whole new responsibility once they purchase a tract of land or lease a set retail space. As a property owner, you have a specific duty of care to protect all guests on your property, including those of various invitations. If you have been injured on the premises of another person, you may be entitled to receive compensation for your injuries. Contact our Omaha premises liability lawyer today.
Why Choose Our Omaha Premises Liability Attorneys?
- We have years of experience in this practice area and know how to help.
- We have obtained multimillion-dollar settlements and verdicts for past clients.
- We provide in-depth and tailored legal services, treating each client like our only client.
- We can take any defendant to court in pursuit of top results, including property owners.
- We accept premises liability claims in Omaha, Nebraska on a contingency fee basis.
How Can an Omaha Premises Liability Lawyer Help You?
Although the law does not require you to have a premises liability lawyer representing you, hiring one can make a substantial difference to your legal experience. A lawyer can make legal processes faster, easier and more efficient for you and your family. A lawyer can also improve the outcome of your premises liability case by negotiating with an insurance company on your behalf. A lawyer can take care of many different tasks while you focus on healing, including:
- Listening carefully to your story and answering your legal questions.
- Returning to the site of your accident and investigating the cause.
- Preserving and gathering evidence of fault.
- Hiring experts to testify during your lawsuit.
- Using aggressive tactics to negotiate with an insurance claims adjuster.
- Representing you at trial in Omaha, if necessary.
A lawyer can also help you with emotional recovery and moving forward as much as possible after a traumatic accident. For example, your lawyer can connect you to top physicians in Omaha for your medical care, as well as address all of your family’s needs during this difficult time. Our law firm does not charge for its services unless we succeed in recovering financial compensation for your premises liability lawsuit. This means you can benefit from our high-quality legal representation at no financial risk.
Premises liability refers to the duty of a property owner to provide a safe environment for any guests on their property. The duties of a property owner require that the property be kept free from any hazards or other dangers that could harm a guest on the property. If a hazard does exist, the property owner has a duty to warn any guests.
Premises liability lists out different tiers of guests, including an invitee, licensee, and trespasser. An invitee (or customer) is afforded the greatest protection under premises liability law. The property owner has a duty to prevent an invitee from injuring themselves on the property as well as warning against any impending injuries. This may include items such as a spill on the floor, an unsteady step, or trip hazards.
A licensee, or social guest, represents someone who is not an invitee, but still holds more rights than a trespasser. A social guest may be prohibited from certain sections of the property and will be treated as a trespasser if they overstep any boundaries.
A trespasser is afforded the least protection under standard premises liability laws, although a property owner still cannot create a hazard that will harm a trespasser. For example, if a property owner is aware that a trespasser crosses their property every day, they will be held liable for any injuries which occur if they dig a hole directly on the trespasser’s path and cover it with leaves to hide the hole.
Common Premises-Related Accidents in Omaha
At the Knowles Law Firm, we have represented clients after many different premises-related accidents throughout Nebraska. We know precisely what to do to support victims through these difficult situations. Our Omaha personal injury lawyers can point you in the direction of excellent primary care physicians in Omaha, help you file an injury claim before the state’s deadline and take any other steps needed so you can focus on your future. Our injury law firm handles all types of premises liability claims.
- Slip and fall accidents
- Accidents at work
- Swimming pool accidents
- Dog bites
- Amusement park injuries
- Elevator and escalator accidents
- Negligent security
- Landlord negligence (inadequate maintenance)
- Flooding or water leaks
- Fires and explosions
- Exposure to toxic substances
- Spinal cord injuries
- Brain injuries
No matter what scenario your premises liability accident entails, we can help. We understand the duties of care property owners owe their visitors, and how to hold them accountable when they breach these standards. Our attorneys will ask the right questions to get to the bottom of who or what caused your injuries.
Many of these injuries may result in ongoing medical care, as well as the diminished ability to work in the future. If you have been the victim of a premises liability accident, you may be entitled to recover the following in your personal injury claim:
- Medical expenses
- Rehabilitation expenses
- Lost wages
- Future earnings
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of companionship
An experienced personal injury attorney will be able to fully put together your claim and calculate the amount in damages your injury may be worth, both in the present and considering future circumstances.
What to Do After a Premises Liability Accident in Omaha
If you get injured in any of the accidents listed above or under any other circumstances while on someone else’s property in Omaha, you must take certain steps to protect yourself on a legal level. Although you may feel overwhelmed after an accident, do your best to remain calm and take actions that will help you build a lawsuit later. These include:
- Check yourself for injuries. Remain still and check for any signs of pain, swelling or bleeding. Call an ambulance, if necessary.
- Report the accident. Tell the property owner, a floor supervisor, manager or someone else about the accident right away.
- Gather information. Record the time, date and location, as well as the name of the person whom you reported to. Get the names and contact information of any eyewitnesses.
- Collect evidence. Ask if there is any surveillance footage that might have caught the accident on tape. Request a copy of the accident report, as well.
- Take pictures. Before you leave, take photographs of the scene, focusing on the hazard or defect that caused your accident.
- Go to a hospital in Omaha. Do not delay in seeking medical care for your injury, as this could hurt your chances of receiving an insurance settlement.
- File an insurance claim. Contact the insurance provider of the owner of the property where your accident took place to file an initial claim.
- Keep your clothing. Keep all of the clothes you were wearing on the date of your accident, including your shoes. They may contain evidence, such as a spilled liquid that made you slip and fall.
Before you accept a settlement from an insurance company, consult with a premises liability attorney for advice. A free consultation with a lawyer about your case can help you protect your rights, such as by understanding the true value of your claim before you accept an unreasonably low offer.
Do You Have a Premises Liability Claim?
If you suffered a recent injury or illness in one of the incidents listed above, you most likely have grounds for a premises liability claim in Nebraska. For your case to succeed, however, your lawyer will need to prove certain elements. The first is that you were lawfully on the property when the injury happened. The property owner must have invited you – expressly or implicitly – onto the property. If you were trespassing, the owner may not have owed you any duties of care, unless you were a minor under the age of 18.
The second is that an obvious or foreseeable property defect caused your injury or illness. This could be a wet floor, a dangerous dog, an open swimming pool, a lack of security guards or any other condition that a reasonable and prudent property owner would have remedied. The third is that the defendant was in control of the property at the time of the accident. The defendant may be the property owner or the landlord. The fourth is that you suffered specific damages because of the defendant’s negligence, such as personal injuries or property damages.
To determine whether you have grounds for premises liability claim in Nebraska, ask yourself certain questions: Were you invited onto the property or were you trespassing at the time of your accident? Was the dangerous condition that caused your accident open and obvious or was it hard to see? Was the defect or condition recent or existing on the property for a long time? Does the defendant own the property or is he/she only a renter? Did the defendant know of the condition? The answers to these questions will help determine if you have a case.
Responsibilities of a Landlord in Nebraska
A landlord may be liable for injuries sustained during the routine use of the property or after repeated requests to fix a defect. Landlords are the person responsible for protecting your safety and the safety of your family while on their premises and have a duty to keep their property free from hazards. Any breach of this duty could lead to liability on the part of the landlord.
Common negligent items which, left unintended, could lead to severe injuries include:
- Broken stairs or staircase
- Rickety balcony or railing
- Loose wires
- Unsupervised pool
- Down trees
- Broken locks or windows
Both large and small rental properties contain similar issues on an ongoing basis. Homes need to be continuously inspected for signs of “wear and tear” that have the potential to lead to serious injuries. Additionally, a landlord must post warning signs in front of any known hazard, including items that may be an “attractive nuisance” to children, such as unsupervised pools. The failure of a landlord to warn that no lifeguard is on duty could result in drowning injuries or even tragic deaths of young children.
A landlord is responsible for securing the property and this often means more than warning of any hidden dangers. This may often mean protecting their tenants from theft and assault, such as by ensuring all locks and window locks are working properly. The failure to secure their property against theft could result in liability against the landlord after a violent theft or assault occurs, on both a criminal and civil scale.
Defenses to a Premises Claim
As the plaintiff in a premises liability claim, you must prepare for possible defenses. These are arguments the defendant may use to get out of paying for your losses. One common defense is comparative negligence. This defense alleges that you caused or contributed to your own injuries, such as by not paying attention to where you were walking or ignoring warning signs posted on the property.
Under Nebraska Revised Statute 25-21,185.09, you could be partially at fault for a personal injury and still receive compensation. The courts will simply diminish your recovery award by an amount proportionate to your degree of fault. The only time the courts may bar you from recovery for comparative negligence is if you were more than 50% responsible for the injury. A lawyer may be able to help you prove the defendant’s majority of fault to protect your right to damages.
Another common defense is the assumption of risk. This defense may arise if you were engaged in activities with obvious and known risks at the time of your injuries, such as cliff diving or parasailing. In these situations, the property owner may argue that you were aware of the risk of injuries and thus assumed liability for any you suffered. A lawyer could help you combat this defense by demonstrating that you were in fact not aware of the specific risk that caused your injuries.
Nebraska Premises Liability Laws
In Nebraska, all property owners have a legal duty to maintain safe premises for their tenants. While this does not mean they have to prevent every accident, it does mean they must prevent those that are reasonably foreseeable. If, for example, a leaky pipe in a shared laundry facility caused a slip and fall accident, the landlord might be liable if another landlord in the same position would have known about the leaky pipe and fixed it before the accident. The landlord would not be liable, however, if no reasonable or prudent landlord could have known about the leak before the fall.
Proving a negligence claim against a landlord often takes evidence such as photographs of the property defect, interviews with other tenants, statements from accident eyewitnesses, accident or police reports, maintenance records, expert testimony, and medical records. The burden of proof, which rests with the victim, is to establish that the landlord owed the victim a duty of care, failed to fulfill this duty and caused the damages in question. Meeting this burden of proof may take help from an attorney.
An attorney can help you understand and navigate Nebraska’s premises liability and landlord responsibility laws, including the state’s statute of limitations. This is a strict deadline for filing your claim, which if you miss could lead to the loss of any right to claim compensation. In Nebraska, you have four years from the date of your injury to bring a claim, with some exceptions. Hiring a lawyer from The Knowles Law Firm to take care of your landlord’s negligence claim could make the entire process easier for you and your family.
Premises Liability Claim FAQs
It is normal to have many questions after suffering an injury in a premises liability accident in Omaha. At the Knowles Law Firm, we hope that these FAQs can shed some light on this complicated practice area for you and your loved ones.
- Q: Is premises liability the same as negligence?
A: Yes and no. Premises liability claims are founded on the basis of negligence, but they differ from standard claims in that they focus on an unsafe condition on a person’s property rather than that person’s negligent behavior directly. However, as a plaintiff, you or your lawyer must still prove that the property owner was negligent in the use or maintenance of the property.
- Q: Who should I make a premises liability lawsuit against?
A: This answer will depend on the case. For the most part, the person who is listed as the owner of the property is financially responsible for any damages arising out of an accident on that property. However, if someone else was occupying the property, such as a renter, the occupier may be liable instead.
- Q: Do I still have a premises liability case if I was trespassing?
A: In general, you will not have grounds to file a premises liability lawsuit in Nebraska if you were trespassing at the time of your injury. This is because property owners do not owe trespassers any duties of care. However, if the victim was under the age of 18, the rules are different. You may also have a claim if the property owner intentionally injured you.
- Q: How long do I have to file a lawsuit?
A: This answer changes from state to state depending on the statute of limitations. You must act within four years of the date of your accident to have a valid claim in Nebraska. If you do not discover your injury until later, however, you will have four years from the date of discovery. The best way to make sure you file on time is by contacting a lawyer as soon as possible.
- Q: When should I hire a premises liability attorney?
A: You could benefit from hiring a premises liability lawyer in most circumstances. However, it is even more important to hire a lawyer if your case has complications, such as catastrophic physical injuries, the wrongful death of a loved one, multiple defendants, or a liability dispute or another defense.
If you have further questions or wish to receive tailored legal advice from an attorney about your particular case, contact us now to request a free consultation with our Omaha premises liability lawyers. We are always honest and upfront with our clients.
The Knowles Law Firm | Omaha, Nebraska
If you or a loved one have been injured on the property of another, do not hesitate to contact the attorneys of the Knowles Law Firm. Our attorneys have years of experience in assisting our clients with claims stemming from injuries sustained on a piece of property. As a guest on someone’s property, you should be kept safe from harm – any deviation from this should result in liability against the property owner. Contact our Omaha, Nebraska office today for your initial free consultation.