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If you fall while at a college football game, slip in a grocery store, or are hurt by an intruder at a hotel, you may be entitled to damages through a premises liability lawsuit.  Alabama premises liability laws require a property owner or occupier to uphold a “duty of care,” meaning it is their responsibility to keep the property safe and well maintained.  The law can hold owners and occupiers liable for damages if they fail in this duty and a visitor is injured or killed.

Generally, duty means that a property owner, lessee, or occupier is required to:

  • Keep their property and/or building in a safe condition,
  • Demonstrate reasonable care to discover any dangerous conditions, and
  • Remove, replace, repair, cordon off, or post warnings about any dangerous conditions that could cause injury.

Premises liability law in Alabama states that property owners and occupiers are liable for injuries that occur to a visitor or customer who is legally on their property and gets hurt due to unsafe conditions.  To prove negligence, a plaintiff must show that the property owner had knowledge of the unsafe conditions and failed to remedy the hazardous conditions, post warnings, or block off the area with cones or tape.

Property owners and occupiers are required by law to repair potentially harmful equipment and environments on their property that they know about or could be reasonably expected to know about.  Whether a sports stadium, store, amusement park, concert venue or hotel, several hazardous conditions can exist, including:

  • Cluttered aisles
  • Malfunctioning equipment
  • Dogs and other animals that bite
  • Slippery or wet floors
  • Frayed/loose carpeting
  • Poor lighting
  • Broken security alarms and cameras, or lack of security altogether
  • Snow, ice, or flooding in parking lots
  • Escalators/elevators in disrepair
  • Unsecured hazardous chemicals
  • Electrical outlets that are frayed or dangerous
  • Missing door locks
  • Crumbling stairs or no handrails
  • Lack of crowd control measures.

These are just a few of many conditions that are dangerous and could give rise to a premises liability claim.  If you have been injured or a loved one has been hurt or killed while on a property that was unsafe, you should call our Alabama personal injury attorneys.

How to Choose the Best Premises Liability Law Firm

The Mobile, AL, premises liability lawyers at Caldwell Wenzel & Asthana are aggressive negotiators and litigators, but we’re also compassionate.  We take every case personally and are invested in its outcome.  We have proven case results that show we know how to win meaningful settlements and jury awards.  You can read our attorney bios and find out more about our team of bright and experienced lawyers.  We come highly recommended, and our client testimonials provide strong word-of-mouth referrals.  Our attorneys live and work in this Alabama community, and we care about what happens here.

Negligent Security at Hotels

Premises liability attorneys explain how hotels can be liable for your harm or injury.


It’s important to understand the term “negligent security,” which can fall into the category of premises liability.  Negligent security is a type of premises liability dealing with civil actions for violent crimes.  If you’ve been injured by a third party – such as a robber, rapist, or other violent actor – you can sue the owner of the property where the criminal injury was inflicted.  For example, if you were a guest at a hotel and a criminal committed violence against you in your hotel room after gaining entry due to a faulty door lock, you may have a negligent security/premises liability claim against the hotel owner/operator.  The hotel owner has a duty of care to make sure door locks are functioning properly to ensure guest safety.  Given Alabama’s robust tourism industry, negligent security at hotels is something to watch out for.

Types of Accidents Resulting in Premises Liability Claims

There are several ways that harm can befall a person on a property.  Some of these include:

Injury by Mechanical and Electrical Equipment

Whether getting injured on a malfunctioning escalator or electrocuted by frayed wiring, these accidents can lead to premises liability lawsuits.  A guest or shopper can get hurt on a defective treadmill at a gym, burned by a coffeemaker at a hotel, hit by a falling display at a department store or injured by a defective styling tool at a salon.

Slip, Trip & Fall

Slip, trip and fall accidents are particularly common on wet swimming pool decks, uneven pavement/flooring, dangerous stairways, or cluttered floors.  If you lose your balance and fall because of hazardous conditions at a property, you may be entitled to damages.

Physical Violence or Harm

A violent intruder can cause harm to a guest at a property by robbing, attacking, restraining, or otherwise injuring them.  If the harm was due to inadequate security, poor lighting, or broken locks, the injured party may successfully sue the property owner under premises liability. 

Common Injuries Resulting from Premises Liability Accidents


Potential Locations for Premises Liability

Many different property types can give rise to a premises liability claim.  Whether public or privately owned, these properties and their owners must show a duty of care to visitors and guests and ensure everyone’s safety.  Locations include:

  • Sports Arenas
  • Gyms
  • Stores
  • Museums
  • Resorts & Hotels
  • Bars & Restaurants
  • Concert Venues
  • Shopping Malls
  • Racetracks
  • Salons
  • Swimming Pools

In a premises liability case, to be successful a plaintiff must show the following:

  • The individual who caused the injury owned, occupied, or leased the property,
  • This individual was negligent in the operation/use/oversight of the property,
  • The plaintiff was injured, and
  • The defendant’s negligence, recklessness or indifference caused or contributed to the plaintiff’s harm.

If you have been injured while on someone else’s property, speak to a Mobile, AL, premises liability law firm to see if you may be entitled to financial compensation.

Definition of Terms in Premises Liability

A Mobile, AL, premises liability attorney will tell you that the level of a property owner’s or operator’s standard of care can depend on the status of the individual entering the property/land. There are three types: invitees, licensees, and trespassers.

  • Invitees. An invitee is someone who enters a property for the financial benefit of the property owner (for example, a shopper at a store).  An invitee is owed the highest duty of care by a property owner/operator.  An owner is responsible for maintaining safety and security throughout the property, and he or she must provide adequate warning of potentially hazardous conditions.
  • Licensees. A licensee is any person who has the property owner’s/operator’s express or implied permission to enter the property, and they are there for their own purposes.  For example, a licensee could be a photographer, social guest or hiker.  A property owner typically has a lower level of duty to a licensee and is required only to warn a licensee of any dangerous conditions that the owner knows about.
  • Trespassers. A trespasser is a person who is not legally authorized to be on a property belonging to someone else. The property owner has little duty of care to trespassers except to refrain from willfully harming them or recklessly increasing the likelihood that they will be injured.  If trespassers are children, then an owner should post warning signs and try to prevent children from being hurt.

Statute of Limitations for Premises Liability Claims in Alabama

There is a two-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims in Alabama, including premises liability cases.  The statute of limitations is codified at Code of Alabama section 6-2-38.  The two-year clock starts on the date of the initial injury accident.  If the injured party is a minor, the time limit does not start running until the person turns 19.  If you miss this two-year window to file a lawsuit, then your claim will almost certainly be time-barred, and you will have no recourse.  Alabama follows the “contributory negligence” rule, which means that a court can find that both parties shared some blame for causing an accident or injury.  This can affect the amount of your payout.

How to Prove Negligence in Premises Liability Cases

Premises liability attorneys in Mobile, AL, explain the four key elements of negligence.


Laws are very specific about how to prove negligence in an injury case.  To prove negligence, you must prove four elements:

  1. Duty
  2. Breach
  3. Causation
  4. Damages.

A plaintiff will need to prove these in order to have a successful claim.  In a personal injury case, “negligence” refers to one party’s careless or reckless behavior that resulted in harm to another party.  That means the careless person is legally liable for the injuries suffered by the other person.  Most legal disputes use this method in personal injury cases for assessing and determining fault.

Duty

The defendant owes the plaintiff a legal “duty of care” in the specific circumstances of the case.  For example, in a slip-and-fall case, a store owner owes a legal duty to clean up spills promptly and keep aisles clear of debris.  Otherwise, customers could fall and get injured.  Similarly, a driver of a motor vehicle has a duty to be sober and not drink alcohol excessively before getting behind the wheel, because not to do so would put other motorists at extreme risk of an accident and injury.  Duty is a legal obligation.

Breach

A plaintiff must show that the defendant breached this duty by doing, or failing to do, something that a reasonably prudent person would most certainly have done in a similar situation.  The reasonable person standard is central to negligence cases and other legal claims and is designed to determine whether a defendant used reasonable care in the degree of caution and concern he or she exhibited regarding the safety of others.

Causation

In these cases, it’s not enough for a defendant to be acting negligently, but you must show that their negligence caused the accident or mishap that resulted in your injury.  Texting while driving and failing to use a leash when walking a dog that is prone to biting are examples of irresponsible behavior; but if the defendant did these things but caused no injury to you, then you likely don’t have a negligence claim.  Also, the defendant must have been able to reasonably foresee that their behavior could cause you injury.  For example, if you visit a neighbor’s house and encounter their cats, which causes you to go into anaphylactic shock because you’re allergic to felines, this not necessarily an injury that your neighbor could have foreseen.  Causation is an essential element of a negligence claim.

Damages

Damages means that there’s a monetary way of compensating a plaintiff for their injuries.  For example, damages could be awarded to cover the cost of medical bills, lost wages, property damage, pain and suffering, or burial costs in wrongful death claims.  In some cases, a court can also award punitive damages, which are designed to punish a company or individual for behavior that was grossly negligent or harmful.  These damages are designed to send a warning and have a chilling effect on any other company or person who may be tempted to exhibit similar behavior.

The issue of fault hinges on the legal concept of “negligence,” and proving negligence requires that a plaintiff conclusively address the above four elements.

Contact Our Mobile, AL, Premises Liability Lawyers Today

If you’ve been injured in a premises liability accident and are facing mounting medical bills, lost wages, months of rehabilitation, disability or worse, then you may have a legal remedy.  It’s not fair that you should bear all these burdens alone, especially if your injury was due to someone else’s negligence.  Let the skilled and experienced Mobile, AL, premises liability attorneys at Caldwell Wenzel & Asthana take on the insurance companies and fight for the compensation you deserve.  We have a record of success in these types of claims, and we know how to build a strong case.  With one free phone call, we can assess your claim, answer your questions, and explain your legal options.  Call us today at (251) 444-7000.

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