Premises liability cases are all about responsibility. Let’s say you enter a store that’s open for business. You’re greeted by a manager, who’s aware of a water leak but does nothing to alert you to the puddle accumulating on the floor. If you slip and fall in the wet spot, you can sue the store for your injuries. Sounds simple, right?
It’s usually not. From a plaintiff’s perspective, premises liability cases are difficult to prove. Even where your injuries are undisputed, liability is going to be a hotly-contested issue.
A negligence claim has four elements that must be proven:
- duty (the obligation that the defendant owes to the plaintiff);
- breach (violation of the obligation);
- causation (the defendant’s violation resulted in harm to the plaintiff); and
- damages (demonstrable injury)
How do you prove the store manager’s negligence? How can you show that he actually knew about the leak? Or if he didn’t actually know, how can you show that he should’ve known? How can you prove that the harm to you was foreseeable?
You can’t recover money damages for bad luck, so you need some way of drawing a line from the defendant to your injury. You need a methodical way to demonstrate that the store manager is responsible for what happened to you.
Most of the time, establishing liability is tricky business—it requires the collection and review of documents, the interviewing of witnesses, and no small amount of legal strategizing. It involves a potentially lengthy investigation and the application of law to particular facts. There are very few open-and-shut cases when it comes to premises liability.
On top of that, Indiana recently changed the way it analyzes the foreseeability question, and courts and attorneys are currently in the process of trying to work out the regular parameters and application of this new rule.
Duty is the foundation of a negligence claim. If a plaintiff’s harm was not foreseeable, the defendant did not have a duty to prevent it. Without duty, you don’t have a case.
If you or a loved one has been hurt due to someone else’s wrongdoing or negligence, you need to contact an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss complicated matters like duty and foreseeability.
The attorneys at the Marc Lopez Law Firm have years of trial-tested experience and are ready to fight for you. Call 317-632-3642 today for a free consultation.