Every person that owns, manages, or lives on a piece of property in Tulsa has a responsibility to keep you or others safe. When that doesn’t happen, you can get hurt–sometimes badly. This, in turn, leads to financial problems, problems at home, and problems at work. In short, it can turn your life upside down.
At Ylla Gosney, our Tulsa personal injury lawyers are well aware of how accidents and injuries can impact your life in a negative way. When someone neglects their duty to keep you safe, we can help you hold them accountable with a premises liability claim. Contact us today for a free consultation to learn more.
What is a Premises Liability Claim?
Premises liability is a legal principle holding Tulsa property owners accountable for:
- Injuries resulting from unsafe conditions or accidents on their property due to their negligence.
In simple terms, both public and private property owners have a strong duty to make sure their property is safe for everyone. If they don’t, whether it’s on purpose or by accident, they are responsible for any injuries or accidents that happen. In legal terms, this is called “negligence.”
When you or someone you care about gets hurt on someone else’s property because the owner didn’t take care of it properly, that owner can be made to cover the costs linked to the injuries. Premises liability, then can involve a wide variety of situations, such as:
- Slipping and falling
- Being injured by an animal
- Accidents in swimming pools
- Stairs breaking or collapsing
- Things falling on people
- Injuries from fires or flames
- Electrical accidents
- Lack of proper security
There are lots of things to consider in a premises liability case. Property owners often defend themselves by saying they couldn’t predict every possible danger that could cause an accident. While this is technically true, the legal standard says that owners must use a “reasonable” level of care to keep their property safe for visitors.
This might seem straightforward, but there’s a lot of room for interpretation when it comes to a “reasonable” level of care. Generally, this will involve you trying to show the following:
- Duty of care – First, establish that the property owner or occupier owed you a duty of care. This duty typically varies depending on the reason for your presence on the property. When you go to a business or other proprietary, you are usually categorized as invitees or licensees, and different levels of care are expected for each group. In Oklahoma, property owners are not liable for any injury or damage to a person that is trespassing.
- Knowledge of hazards – Show that the property owner or occupier knew or should have known about the hazardous condition that caused your injury. This knowledge can be actual (they were aware of the danger) or constructive (they should have known through reasonable inspection and maintenance).
- Failure to address hazards – Show that the property owner or occupier did not take appropriate measures to address or rectify the known or foreseeable hazards. This could include failing to repair, warn, or secure the area, depending on the specific circumstances.
- Causation – Show a direct link between the property owner’s negligence and your injury. In other words, prove that the unsafe conditions directly caused your harm. This can be done through evidence, witness testimonies, and expert opinions if necessary.
- Comparative negligence – Be prepared for the defense to potentially argue that you were partly responsible for the accident. To counter this, you’ll need to show that your actions did not significantly contribute to the incident, and that the property owner’s negligence was the primary cause.
Obviously, establishing negligence and the legal responsibility for your injuries during an accident can get quite complicated. However, with our team’s experienced premises liability lawyers, we can help you not only figure out liability, but help you pursue legal action against the business or person responsible.
Legal Process in a Tulsa Premises Liability Case
In terms of the legal process relating to a premises liability case in Tulsa, the circumstances are very important. But as long as you were legally allowed to be on the property, you have the right to file an injury claim, since you were owed a duty of care by the owner.
Generally speaking, filing a claim against the person or business responsible can be done via:
- An insurance claim
- A personal injury lawsuit
Every case is different, but the claims process usually follows a basic outline once you decide to move forward with the process. Here’s what you can expect in terms of procedure:
- Free consultation – The process usually begins with a free consultation with our team. During this initial meeting, we will discuss the details of your case, including how the accident occurred, your injuries, and any evidence you have. From there, we will assess the merits of your case and explain your legal rights and options.
- Filing the claim – When you decide you want to move forward, we’ll help you initiate the process by filing an insurance claim against the responsible party, then helping you navigate it. If you want to take a settlement offer, that will conclude the claim. However, if the settlement offer won’t cover what you need it to, we can file a Complaint in civil court to start the official legal process.
- Discovery phase – During this phase, both sides gather evidence to build their case. This may involve requesting documents, depositions (sworn statements from parties and witnesses), and interrogatories (written questions to be answered under oath). Our team will work to obtain evidence that supports your claim and challenge the evidence presented by the defendant.
- Negotiation – Many premises liability cases are settled before reaching trial through negotiation. Our team will engage in negotiations with the defendant’s legal team or insurance company to reach a fair settlement. If an agreement is reached, your case may be resolved without going to trial.
- Mediation or arbitration – If a settlement cannot be reached through negotiation, the parties may opt for alternative dispute resolution methods like mediation or arbitration. These processes involve a neutral third party helping to facilitate a resolution without going to court.
- Trial – If all else fails, your case will proceed to trial. During the trial, we’ll present your arguments and evidence before a judge and/or jury. The judge or jury will then make a decision regarding liability and the amount of damages you are entitled to if the owner or entity responsible (known as the defendant) is found liable.
- Verdict – If the court rules in your favor, a judgment will be issued, specifying the compensation you are entitled to. The defendant has the option to appeal the judgment if they disagree with the decision. This can extend the legal process.
Having the right to file an injury claim and actually pursuing it are two different things. That said, fully exploring the legal process is very necessary to your overall recovery from the incident and the injury. That’s where our team can help your cause. With our experience and dedication, we’ll help you navigate the legal process and get the treatment and care you deserve.
Damages Available in a Tulsa Premises Liability Case
No matter what your injuries are, when you’re hurt in a premises liability case, you’re going to have damages to take care of. This is the main goal of the legal process–getting you financial support for your injuries and other harm suffered. What’s important to remember here is that the damages that are available to you depend on:
- The circumstances of the accident
- The extent of your injuries
- The mental and emotional impact the accident had on you
- Who or what entity is responsible
- Your level of fault in the incident
Even with these hurdles, a premises liability claim in Tulsa is going to make the following things potentially recoverable:
- Costs for medical treatment and continued care
- Income that you couldn’t earn because of the injury
- Suffering from physical pain and emotional distress
- Missing out on life’s enjoyment or the company of loved ones
- Sometimes, extra damages are awarded in cases where a store or other parties were extremely careless. These are known as punitive damages.
Keep in mind that the result of each case depends on the unique details of the incident and how your claim progresses through the legal system. Being patient is essential because the claims process can be time-consuming and intricate. With our team on your side, though, you can rest assured that we’ll handle your case with care and make sure to keep you informed throughout the entire process.
Experienced Tulsa Premises Liability Lawyers
Our experienced legal team at Ylla Gosney has extensive experience with premises liability cases throughout Tulsa and the surrounding area. If you or a loved one got hurt on someone else’s property, we’re here to help.
With our knowledge and dedication to dealing with property owners, insurance companies, and medical professionals, we aim to make sure you receive fair compensation for injuries caused by unsafe property conditions. Don’t hesitate to contact us today to set up your free consultation.