Whenever someone invites other people onto their property, they assume an implicit legal responsibility to care for the safety of those lawful visitors. If an unreasonably dangerous condition on that property then causes a visitor to get hurt, the property owner or occupier may bear civil liability for every form of harm the visitor sustains as a result.
However, successfully pursuing compensation following this kind of accident can be tricky to manage without help from a determined personal injury attorney. An Altus premises liability lawyer could provide irreplaceable guidance about your legal options, work with you to build a compelling case, and tirelessly seek the financial recovery you deserve for the losses you suffered.
Duties of Care for Different Visitors
Depending on the reason a visitor enters someone else's property, the owner, manager, or lawful occupier of that land takes on a different degree of responsibility towards them. Property owners owe the highest degree of care to “invitees” who are visiting for the express benefit of the owner, such as customers in a retail store.
For the sake of protecting these visitors from foreseeable harm, property owners must regularly inspect their property for hazards, fix those that they can within a reasonable amount of time, and warn invitees of known hazards that still exist on the property. Beyond this, property owners still have to inform “licensees” who visit land for their own purposes—like guests at a house party—of known hazards that may not be obvious.
Finally, as per Oklahoma Statutes Title 76 § 80, property owners generally owe no duty of care whatsoever to trespassers. However, there are some exceptions for owners who intentionally try to harm trespassers with traps or other forms of wanton conduct, as well as for injuries sustained by trespassing children who are drawn onto private property by an unprotected “attractive nuisance.” An unfenced swimming pool is an example of an attractive nuisance to a child. An Altus dangerous property lawyer could offer further clarification about what circumstances may or may not justify litigation.
Determining Liability in Altus
Even if you were in an accident on another person's property and can prove the landowner violated a duty of care, you might still have trouble recovering for the full value of your damages if you bear some fault for the accident. Under OK Stat. Tit. 23 § 13, those who are found to be more than 50 percent to blame for the accident are ineligible to seek civil compensation for any harm that followed.
According to OK Stat. Tit. 23 § 14, an injured person who is found to be between 0 and 50 percent responsible for their accident can still recover compensation, but only after a proportional deduction from their final award equivalent to their percentage of fault. Representation from a Southwest Oklahoma premises liability attorney could be crucial to reducing or eliminating the amount of blame that is placed on you.
Get in Touch with an Altus Premises Liability Attorney
Even if your case against a property owner has a great deal of strong supporting evidence, it will still be difficult to achieve a positive case resolution without an attorney. State law regarding accidents on someone else's property can be confusing and difficult to argue in your favor. Given how dangerous these kinds of accidents can be, it is important to be compensated for all of the costs you incurred and the emotional harm you have endured.
The best way to give yourself a higher chance of success is by hiring an Altus premises liability lawyer. Call today for a free consultation to discuss your legal options.