If a property owner failed to provide a “standard level of care” and you or someone you love was injured as a result, you may be entitled to compensation in a premises liability case.
How Premises Liability Works in Indiana
As a general rule, property owners should know of any dangerous parts of their property. If at all possible, they should address the hazard as soon as they are able. Property owners are not always able to take care of potentially dangerous areas of the property, such as in the case of a major renovation; however, it is their responsibility to place warning signs and block off the hazard for the safety of any visitors.
There are some cases in which a property owner could not have reasonably known about the hazard (such as a stray dog loose on the property) in time to warn visitors. Additionally, injured guests may not fault the owner if they ignored warning signs or roped-off areas.
That being said, if the property owner should have known about the hazard and didn’t post warnings or take any other precautionary action, then those who are injured may sue the property owner for negligence. Falls, dog bites, stray objects/materials, faulty equipment, and unsecured swimming pools are among the most common types of injuries that qualify for a personal injury claim.
Injuries to Invited Guests
Guests invited onto the property, such as customers or visitors at social events, must be kept safe from property hazards. If a portion of a building or property is under construction/repair, property owners are advised to keep those areas locked or blocked off from visitors who might unintentionally stray into the wrong part of the property.
Regular maintenance during inclement weather, such as removing ice or placing warning signs for slippery floors, is a reasonable level of care that, if neglected, could result in someone being injured.
Injuries to Trespassers
Trespassers are not allowed to file a personal injury claim if they are injured after venturing onto a property without being invited. If the property owner posted “no trespassing” signs or did not invite guests on the premises, those visitors are not held under the same responsibilities as if they had been invited guests.
However, a property owner may not seek to harm a trespasser. This includes firing weapons or placing dangerous “booby traps” around the border of the property to maim a trespasser out of spite. If an uninvited guest wanders onto the property, the owner may inform the individual that they are trespassing or contact the authorities.
Attractive Nuisance Law in Indiana
There are unfortunate cases where young children enter another person’s property and curiously engage an unprotected hazard on the property. These children are often injured or die as a result of an “attractive nuisance.” An “attractive nuisance” is something on your property that draws children in and threatens them with harm. The law places a special responsibility on you to take steps to protect children who may come onto your property. This duty is generally called the “attractive nuisance doctrine.” Typically, the attractive nuisance doctrine has three components.
- The law doesn’t expect children to fully comprehend the dangers they may face.
- If you think children might come onto your property, the law places a special responsibility on you to prevent harm.
- If you fail to meet this responsibility, you may be held liable for the child’s injuries.
Property owners must take care of making these hazards inaccessible to children or even young, curious teens who do not know better. However, if the child was old enough to understand the risks, and the property owner took careful steps to secure dangerous areas and/or equipment, then the property owner would not be found at fault in an attractive nuisance case.
For more information about how an Indiana personal injury attorney can help you with your case, contact Stewart & Stewart at 800-333-3529 or visit our website.