Who Is At Fault? Understanding Your Rights In Premises Liability

Nobody likes to trip and fall in a public place such as a restaurant or in the grocery store. It can be frightening and embarrassing to trip on stairs or a slippery floor. But the truth is these falls do happen and they can be serious with enduring physical consequences, including broken bones, spinal injuries and serious brain injuries.

What Is Premises Liability?

Premises liability means the owner of the property has a duty to make sure the property is safe. This can mean that it is well lit, dry and maintained with durable handrails and level steps. Here in Wisconsin, we have a specific law – The Safe Place Statute – that requires most public buildings to be reasonably safe and free from hazards. If you have been seriously injured on someone else's property, it may be in your best interest to speak with a premises liability attorney about what happened.

What Is Your Case Really Worth?

In Wisconsin, premise liability is about whether or not the property was reasonably safe. What caused the injury and was the property owner negligent? Just because you were injured in an accident while on someone's property does not automatically entitle you to recover damages. The law requires negligence.

What Is Negligence?

A person is negligent when they failed to exercise ordinary care. Ordinary care is the care which a reasonable person would use in similar circumstances. So, for potential premises liability situations, negligence means the owner knew or should have known of a hazard and took no reasonable steps to prevent an injury. For example, if on a Madison restaurant patio a large sign says "step up" and those two steps are also under a bright light and are painted yellow, the owner has acted reasonably and will likely be found not to have been negligent if someone trips.

If, however, there are steps to a patio that the owner knows are likely to cause a slip and fall and yet does nothing to protect patrons, someone injured on those steps may have a case. This is especially true if the steps are in need of repair. Be advised that whenever you are seriously injured on premises it is always wise to consult a legal professional. An experienced premises liability attorney can assess the merits of your case and advise you on the best way to proceed.

All three of the attorneys at Atterbury, Kammer & Haag, S.C., have attained the very highest rating that you can achieve as trial lawyers in this country and have distinguished case histories. In fact, we take the complex and challenging cases other firms decline.

Steps To Take After An Injury On A Premises

  1. Get medical attention right away.
  2. Notify the owner that you were injured.
  3. Document evidence of the scene immediately, including taking photos or video. If you can, document the scene before anyone is allowed to make repairs, dry up a floor or replace burned out lighting.
  4. Document witness contact information.
  5. Do not speak with the property owner or his or her insurer about the accident and your injury or treatment unless you have legal representation.

Not sure if you have a case? Call Atterbury, Kammer & Haag, S.C., in Middleton. We have helped hundreds of injured people recover damages for the injuries they suffered. All three of our attorneys have attained the highest 10.0 rating by Avvo for personal injury. Call us toll-free at 800-817-3729 or 608-821-4600. You can also fill out our online contact form to tell us a little about your case and an attorney will get back to you.