Charlotte Premises Liability Lawyers
Representing the injured throughout North Carolina since 1992
If you injured yourself while visiting someone else’s property, you may have grounds to file a premises liability lawsuit against the property owner.
At Warren & Kallianos, PLLC, we are here to help clients who have sustained injury when they were a guest on someone else’s property. We hold negligent property owners responsible for your injuries and losses. You are welcome to receive a free consultation to discuss your case. You don’t have to worry about paying upfront for our services because you do not pay any attorney fees until we recover compensation for you.
What Is Premises Liability?
Premises liability deals with claims involving personal injury while on another person’s property. Common premises liability claims include slip and fall injuries, dog bites, criminal assaults, and unsafe buildings.
Premises liability is a legal principle which holds “landowners” liable to maintain their property in a safe condition for anyone who enters the property. The North Carolina Supreme Court decided a case called, Nelson v. Freeland, in 1998 which established the new standard for deciding premises liability cases. This ruling created two categories of visitors: lawful and unlawful. Landowners (property owner, manager, home owner) owe the same duty of reasonable care to all lawful visitors to their premises to act as any “reasonably prudent person” would act in maintaining the safety of their premises and to warn lawful visitors about hidden dangers.
For unlawful visitors, such as trespassers, or those entering the property to commit a crime, the landowners’ only duty is to not willfully cause harm to the trespasser.
A woman stops at a convenience store after working late one night and she is assaulted in the parking lot. She calls the police and reports the assault and tries to get on with her life as she recovers from her injuries. What this woman doesn’t realize is that she may have a premises liability case against the convenience store owner.
Statute of Limitations for Premises Liability Cases in North Carolina
In North Carolina, the statute of limitations for premises liability cases is 3 years from the date of the injury. It is important in any premises liability case to immediately investigate the facts and circumstances surrounding the incident, whether it be obtaining photographs or videotape of the premises or accident scene, locating and interviewing witnesses, or obtaining statistical crime data. The law firm of Warren & Kallianos can immediately assist you in the handling of your premises liability claim.
The “Attractive Nuisance” Doctrine in Premises Liability
Premises liability law includes the “attractive nuisance,” which includes hazards that might be attractive to children that landowners must take steps to abate. An outdoor swimming pool is an example of an attractive nuisance from the perspective of a landowner who wants to protect neighborhood children from accidentally drowning in the pool. The property owner builds fences and locks the gates leading to the pool area to make sure that children cannot enter without permission or when no one is around to supervise them.
Landowners in North Carolina can also be held liable for injuries to children if they should gain access to an area with hazards such as piles of construction debris, abandoned cars, or broken-down playground equipment that could attract children and cause injury if they should gain access to it.
Although the types of claims can differ, the theory of liability is usually based on the failure of the property owner or property manager to provide a safe and secure place for guests on the property. As a result, it is important to show that the property owner or property manager was negligent by failing to provide premises free of hazards or to provide adequate security to protect persons from any foreseeable criminal activity.
Have You Been Hurt Because of a Property Owner’s Neglect or Lack of Security?
The Charlotte premises liability attorneys at Warren & Kallianos have handled many premises liability claims involving significant injury to their clients including, among others:
- The shooting of a client in the parking lot of a bank resulting in paraplegia.
- Wrongful death of a client who was stabbed while on the premises of a local cab company.
- The shooting of a client who resided in a trailer park where the landowner failed to evict a tenant who had previously threatened neighbors in the area.
- Rape and physical assault of a client who was a patron of a motel.
- Rape and physical assault of a client who was a tenant in an apartment building.
- Rape and physical assault of a client in a warehouse.
- Physical beating of client who was a guest of a motel.
Filing an injury claim for negligent security presupposes that the landowner was negligent because they did not reasonably foresee the potential for danger and take steps to protect patrons, customers, and visitors from it.
Premises Liability for Inadequate Maintenance
Landowners are legally obligated to maintain their property in a safe condition, and to protect lawful visitors from preventable hazards. Here are some of the dangerous conditions that can cause injury because of inadequate maintenance:
- Improperly maintained trees and falling limbs
- Poorly maintained parking lots, including lack of adequate light
- Black ice on pathways, in parking lots, and in exposed parking garages
- Inadequate maintenance of floor surfaces
- Cracked or broken sidewalks, pathways, stairs
- Broken handrails
- Items falling off shelves
North Carolina, like most states, does not follow the law of strict liability in premises liability cases. In other words, according to NC premises liability law, the fact that you may have been injured on someone else’s property does not automatically allow you to receive compensation for your injuries.
Rather, you need to establish that the property owner or property manager was aware of a hazardous condition, failed to take reasonable steps to remedy the hazardous condition, and the failure to do so resulted in your personal injury.
Premises Liability and Contributory Negligence in North Carolina
Only four states and the District of Columbia use the contributory negligence rule which says that the injured party cannot recover damages if they are partially at fault for the accident or their injuries. Smith v. Fiber Controls Corp., 268 S.E.2d 504 (N.C. 1980); N.C.G.S. § 99B-4(3). If it can be proven that you contributed to causing the injuries you sustained, you will be barred from recovering damages. If you should sustain an injury on someone else’s property because of the landowner’s negligence, you should immediately contact a Charlotte premises liability attorney. Be sure to have your attorney present during any communications with the landowner or the insurance company. You could inadvertently say something that could jeopardize your case. An experienced premises liability lawyer will protect your rights and build a compelling case on your behalf.
Proving Premises Liability Claims
If every time someone tripped and fell and were able to just file a lawsuit, our courts would be even more overloaded than they already are. If you sustained a serious injury while on someone else’s property, and you want to take legal action, you as the plaintiff would have to prove that the property owner knew about or had been notified about the dangerous condition that led to your injury, but still failed to act to correct the condition or warn prospective visitors about the hazard.
A premises liability plaintiff must prove that the property owner:
- Owed a duty of care to the plaintiff as a lawful visitor
- Breached his or her duty of care by failing to maintain the property in safe condition, or warn visitors about the hazard
Then the plaintiff must prove causation–that the landowner’s negligence caused the condition that facilitated the injury and resulting damages.
Schedule You Free Consultation with an Experienced Premises Liability Lawyer Today
At Warren & Kallianos, we hold those who are responsible for causing your injuries accountable for your damages. If someone’s negligence allowed you to be injured, you are welcome to call 704-275-5593 or contact our experienced Charlotte premises liability lawyers to schedule a free consultation.