The Basics of Premises Liability Injury in Indiana

In its simplest definition, an Indiana premises liability case comes about when a person gets injured on another party’s property. However, there is only a case when the Indiana property owner, manager, renter, or someone else responsible for safety was negligent or malicious in their behavior. Plus, that negligent behavior must be the cause of the injury.

There are many instances that could lead to a premises liability lawsuit. A shopper could slip on ice in a store’s parking lot. A partygoer may fall on a wet pool deck. A hiker could be injured by a tripwire on someone’s property. Regardless, in all cases, the injured person is either an Invitee, Licensee, or Trespassing.

An invitee is someone who has been specifically invited onto the premises by the property owner.

  • For Indiana residential injury cases, this would be someone attending a party, fixing plumbing or wiring, or otherwise coming at the property owner’s request for a party or playdate.
  • For Indiana commercial property injury cases, this would include customers and patrons of a business.

A licensee is an individual who steps foot on the property for their own convenience. They weren’t usually directly invited by the owner but are permitted to step foot on the premises. This permission can be written, spoken, or implied.

  • For Indiana premises liability residential properties this might be someone who has been given permission to camp on someone’s land or use their pool.
  • For Indiana premises liability commercial purposes, this would be someone passing through a public parking lot of a strip mall without looking to enter the businesses.

A trespasser is assigned to anyone who enters someone’s property without permission or implied consent. Whether or not someone intended to do harm or commit a crime while trespassing, this label still applies if the property owner does not know or implicitly allow the presence of another person. For instance, walking or hiking through someone’s private Indiana property (like a yard) without their permission or knowledge is trespassing, even if you are just passing through.

Indiana Property Owner Negligence – Slip & Falls

Slip and fall accidents can happen to nearly anyone, anywhere. According to statistics published by the National Floor Safety Institute, falls are the number one cause of emergency room visits, with slip and falls making up around 8 million ER trips. The same statistics found that the most common slip and fall injury is a bone fracture.

These accidents can occur in countless ways, both on private and public property. There may be uneven paving and sidewalks, an object left out, a hole, or walkways slick from rain or snow. Snow and ice removal is an essential duty of Indiana property owners. Even floor mats and other trip hazards can be a contribution. Regardless of how the fall occurred, there are two important laws in Indiana personal injury to keep in mind: the statute of limitations and “shared fault.”

Indiana Slip & Fall Statute of Limitations

A statute of limitations law defines how long after an incident occurred may an individual file a claim. According to Indiana Code, an injured person must file a premises liability claim within two years of an injury.

Shared Fault in Indiana

Sometimes a slip and fall is entirely the fault of a negligent property owner. Other times, it’s a combination of unsafe conditions and lack of attention on both sides. Though it’s complex, the concept of shared fault in an Indiana personal injury case means that as long as an injured person is 50% or less responsible for the accident, they can make a case. This is exactly why finding the right Indianapolis premises liability lawyer is so vital, because they can ensure your case is handled correctly.

Poor Maintenance of Indianapolis Premises

When someone owns or oversees a property, they need to ensure that the grounds are safe and properly maintained. If not, and someone is injured on their dangerous property, there’s a chance the careless property owner may be responsible and liable for damages.

Though these injuries can be caused by a wide array of issues, here are some common injuries seen due to poor upkeep of a property:

  • Slip and falls due to icy conditions, wet floors, slippery surfaces, faulty steps or handrails, or unsafe grounds.
  • Electrocution due to poorly maintained wiring
  • Burns due to exposed wires or water pipes
  • Injury due to falling objects like limbs or roofing materials
  • Exposure to hazardous materials or sewage leading to illness
  • Cuts on sharp metal edges like siding, gutters, and railings

Although these are a few examples of premises liability, there are many more and there are nuances to each injury accident. To move forward with a personal injury case, you’ll need documentation and evidence. This could come in several forms, all of which a personal injury lawyer can help you assemble for the legal process.

If you or someone you love has been injured due to unsafe conditions on a property, documenting your injuries and contacting a personal injury attorney is your best option.

Negligent Security

In places where the public gathers, there may be a need for security officers. Bars are required to provide security at a reasonable level. If the bar is full of non-threatening people, this may be no security at all. In busy environments where a large group of unknown people is coming together, security is usually expected. The same applies to places where violence occurs more commonly. And security doesn’t just involve having a bouncer. Serving drinks in plastic cups instead of bottles and having tables and chairs secured to the floor might be necessary security in a certain kind of environment. There are many incidents where a negligent security lawyer may need to get involved.

Swimming Pool Accidents

Whether it’s an outdoor pool during the summer or an indoor pool at a hotel or waterpark, injuries at pools are a risk. The owners and operators of these pools need to follow state laws to keep guests safe. There are several Indiana pool safety laws that are in place to ensure swimmers are not at risk of personal injury or wrongful death. That’s why our Indianapolis swimming pool lawyers are here to help if the need arises to file a lawsuit. Some of those necessities are:

Lifeguards on Duty

Any semi-public pools over 2000 square feet at hotels, apartment complexes, and gyms must hire lifeguards as well. In order for a lifeguard to be considered “qualified” in the State of Indiana, they must have received certification in general lifeguard training; know CPR for adults, children, and infants; and be certified in First Aid.

State legislation determines the number of lifeguards that must be on duty per the number of swimmers at the pool:

  • 0–75: 1 Lifeguard
  • 76–150: 2 Lifeguards
  • 151–225: 3 Lifeguards
  • 226–300: 4 Lifeguards
  • 301–375: 5 Lifeguards

Display Proper Signage

All public and semi-public pools must have the following signage in these various spots around the premises:

  • DANGER – HAZARDOUS CHEMICALS: Must be posted on or near the entrances to the room where chemicals are stored or used
  • Warning – No Lifeguard on Duty: These signs apply to semi-public pools
  • No Swimming Alone. Children Under 14 Years of Age and Non-swimmers Shall Not Use the Pool Unless Accompanied by a Responsible Adult: This is a common sign for any state, and as such will need to be posted around Indiana pools.
  • POOL CLOSED: These signs only need to hang after hours or during unexpected closings.
  • No Diving: A very important sign, these should be displayed in all spots that water is 5 feet deep or less, or anywhere else diving is not allowed

Monitor Entrances & Exits

Pool owners and operators need to have a way to monitor and control those who enter and use the grounds. All pools, both public and semi-public, are required to be wholly enclosed by a barrier that is no less than six feet high, uses lockable gates that are equipped with both self-closing and self-latching mechanisms and do not have any openings greater than four inches in diameter.

Maintain Proper Chemical & Chlorine Levels

A study by the Center for Disease Control found 80% of public pools had at least one health or safety violation. 58% of samples collected from filters at public pools tested positive for E. coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Both bacteria can cause significant illness. For that reason, Indiana pools must be set at very precise levels to reduce the chance of a waterborne illness.

Liable Parties in Premises Liability Claims

The Indiana law is unambiguous but also complex in terms of determining negligence in premises liability accidents. Indiana code stipulates that for a premises liability claim to be successful, the plaintiff must demonstrate that the property owner, or another party responsible for the property’s upkeep, failed in their duty to ensure the safety of the premises, directly leading to the injury. This legal framework helps us identify who can be held responsible in your case, including:

Property Owners

The most straightforward liable party in a premises liability case is often the property owner. Whether it’s a slippery floor in a shopping mall or a poorly maintained sidewalk leading to a private residence, owners have a legal obligation to ensure their property is safe for those who enter it.

Property Managers and Renters

Not all premises are directly managed by their owners. Property managers, leasing agencies, or renters who have control over the property’s condition and the authority to make or request repairs can also be held liable if their negligence contributes to an unsafe environment.

Businesses and Commercial Entities

In commercial premises liability cases, the business operating on the property may be held liable. This includes situations where the business’s operations contribute to hazardous conditions, such as inadequate cleanup procedures that lead to slip and fall accidents.

Maintenance and Security Companies

Third-party companies hired to perform maintenance or provide security can also be liable. If a security company fails to address known safety risks or a maintenance company neglects its duties, leading to an injury, it can be held accountable under premises liability law.

What’s the Difference Between Personal Liability and Premises Liability?

In the legal context of injury cases, it’s vital to distinguish between personal liability and premises liability to ascertain accountability and possible resolutions. It allows for a more precise identification of faults and responsibilities, leading to fairer outcomes that take into account the specific circumstances surrounding the incident.

Personal Liability

Personal Liability refers to the responsibility an individual has for causing harm to another person, typically through direct actions or negligence. This can include a wide range of scenarios, from a car accident caused by reckless driving to an injury resulting from a personal altercation. Personal liability is tied to the actions of individuals, regardless of where those actions take place.

Premises Liability

Premises Liability, on the other hand, is specifically concerned with injuries that occur due to unsafe conditions on a property. This form of liability doesn’t necessarily stem from the direct actions of the property owner or manager but from their failure to maintain a safe environment. Premises liability covers situations where the condition of the property itself—be it a commercial building, a private residence, or public land—contributes to the injury.

The distinction between these two forms of liability is fundamental in personal injury law, guiding the legal strategies employed to pursue justice and compensation for victims. Our attorneys will guide you through pertinent laws and regulations to secure the most favorable result for your case. During an initial consultation at no cost, we’ll take the time to understand your situation, assess available evidence, and guide you toward the most promising path.

Recoverable Damages in Indiana Premise Liability Claims

Injured plaintiffs in Indiana premises liability cases may be eligible to recover compensation for a wide range of economic and non-economic damages, including:

  • Medical expenses
  • Lost wages and other income
  • Permanent scarring and disfigurement
  • Physical and emotional pain and suffering
  • Wrongful death (if a property-related hazard caused the death of a loved one)

Contact Our Experienced Indianapolis Premises Liability Lawyer

If we can prove that the owner’s negligence was a factor in the accident that caused your injury where the accident occurred, then you have the right to fair compensation. The law is on your side in Indiana, you just need to discuss your case with us so that we can help you. Christie Farrell Lee & Bell has over 40 years of experience with injury law in Indianapolis, and surrounding cities, and has won numerous awards for our litigation work. Please call us today so we can help get you justice.

If you have suffered an injury on public or private property in Indiana and believe the negligence of a property owner played a role in your injury, our Indianapolis premises liability lawyer wants to hear your story. Contact us today.

Indianapolis Office

951 N Delaware St Indianapolis, IN 46202
Phone: 317-593-9202

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