Indiana law requires shopping malls and stores to provide a safe environment for visitors, but accidents still happen and sometimes the property owner is to blame.
When the owner is found negligent in a way that results in injury, victims can file a premises liability lawsuit to recover lost income, medical expenses and pain and suffering. In the event of a death, the victim’s family can file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Don’t Settle, You May Have a Premises Liability Case
When injured, head straight to the office of a personal injury attorney who can help you decide whether to sue and how much your case might be worth. Resist the temptation to settle out of court. Keep in mind that the premise owner’s insurance company is going to try to get you to settle for as little as possible and you’ll never know how much your case is worth until you’ve spoken to an experienced lawyer.
In a huge premises liability settlement against Lowe’s, a woman was awarded $13 million after slipping and falling on a slick floor. Not all cases are worth such a large sum, but sometimes several million dollars are at stake, as in the case of this Tallahassee woman who was awarded $2 million after a slip-and-fall. Of course, large settlements mean serious injury and hopefully any injuries are minor. But if you are hurt, a good personal injury lawyer can help to identify if the property owner was at fault due to negligence.
Negligence and Duty of Care
Just because you slip and fall inside of a retail store does not automatically mean that you are entitled to money. However, Indiana law states that premises owners have a duty of care, which requires them to take care to reasonably ensure the safety of patrons. Whether there has been a violation of duty of care depends on if the defendant was supposed to be in control of the premises and if actions could have been taken to protect against injury at the time the accident occurred.
These are preventable accidents when, for example, objects are left on the floor and tripped over or items slipped from an upper shelf and hit the shopper in the head. Slippery surfaces, inadequate maintenance, and lack of security in dark parking lots can violate standard of care.
Once potential negligence has been identified and you decide to proceed with a personal injury case, the Indiana statute of limitations requires your lawyer to file within two years of the accident. Just remember, the longer you wait, the more likely it is that the defendant’s lawyers will say that your injuries were sustained or got worse after you left the premises.
The state of Indiana has a comparative negligence modification which is also called the 51% fault system. This system actually assigns fault on a percentage basis for each involved party. To be eligible to pursue a claim, the victim needs to be proven less than 51 percent at fault. This makes personal injury claims against big box retailers very complex indeed.
Let Your Lawyer Battle the Insurance Company
Premises liability cases are extremely tough to prove, so find an Indianapolis personal injury attorney with experience. Most stores, especially large corporations, have insurance adjusters that may seem friendly, but definitely work against you. Some victims settle out of court too quickly on the advice of an adjuster or corporate lawyer with questionable motives. If you’ve been injured while shopping, getting your own expert legal analysis is the only way to be on fair footing with the big insurance companies.
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