Anytime you are at the store or on someone else’s property there is the chance that you may slip and fall or be injured. If you are injured on someone else’s property you might need money to pay for your medical bills. Fortunately, Arkansas Law has developed premises liability laws that are designed to help a person who has been injured on another’s property. However, before you file a lawsuit you should be aware that the law has distinguished different categories of people. Depending on the category of people you fall into when you are on someone’s property will determine if you will be able to recover any damages. If you have been injured due to a dangerous condition on the property of another person, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, lost wages and other damages. Ken Kieklak of the Kielak Law Firm possesses more than 20 years of experience standing up for injured Arkansans in Fayetteville.
Premises Liability Overview
A premises liability lawsuit holds a property owner responsible for any damages arising out of an injury on that person or entity’s property. In Arkansas, owners that occupy a property must make a reasonable effort to maintain a safe environment for all visitors who come to the property. If the owner fails to keep the property safe for visitors if a person is injured on the property this results in “premises liability.” Some of the most common situations that may give rise to premises liability lawsuits are:
- Slip and Fall Accidents
- Inadequate Maintenance
- Animal and Dog Bites
- Negligent or Inadequate Security
- Swimming Pool Injuries
- Children on Property
- Retail Store Liability
- Restaurant Liability
What are the different Types of Occupants
As mentioned above, there are different categories of people on the property. A property owner owes a different duty to trespassers, licensees, and invitees. Below, each of these three categories is explained.
- A trespasser is a person who enters upon the premises of another without the consent of the owner and without an invitation, either express or implied. The owner of the property has no duty to trespassers on his land as long as he is unaware of their presence.
- A licensee enters the property with the consent of the owner, but for his own benefit, pleasure, or convenience. The consent of the owner may be express or implied from the circumstances. A social guest is a typical licensee. As in the case of the trespasser, the owner is under no duty to inspect the property to determine whether it is safe.
- An invitee enters the property with the permission of the owner, for a purpose connected with an activity of the owner, and for the mutual benefit of both parties. A customer on business premises the classic invitee, but workers and prospective employees also fall into this category. The owner of a property that has invitees has a higher duty of care. He must take care to keep the premises in a reasonable safe condition.
Governmental Immunity in Premises Liability Cases
If you are on a public sidewalk or on the road you may wonder if you can recover for your medical expenses if you are injured. You may think that the government is responsible for maintaining the roads and sidewalks. However, the government is generally protected from personal injury suits under the doctrine of sovereign immunity. This doctrine provides that the government is completely immune from suit. While State and Federal governments have reduced this broad doctrine and has allowed certain lawsuits to proceed against the government, not every personal injury suit is permitted in Arkansas.
Comparative Fault / Contributory Negligence
Under Arkansas statute, damages are awarded in proportion to the plaintiff’s contributions to his or her own injuries. But if the plaintiff is at least as responsible for the injuries as the defendant, he or she may not recover any damages. This is typically referred to as “contributory” negligence. Arkansas is a modified comparative fault state. Under Arkansas law, a plaintiff may not recover any amount of damages if the plaintiff’s own negligence is determined to be fifty percent (50%) or greater. A plaintiff whose negligence is less than 50% can recover from a defendant whose negligence is less than plaintiff’s where defendants’ combined negligence or fault exceeds plaintiff’s. Plaintiff’s recovery is diminished in proportion to Plaintiff’s assessed percentage of fault. Determining the exact percentages of fault is a complex and difficult task and is left to the jury. A change in your percentage of negligence by even 1% can change the entire outcome of your case, that is why hiring an experienced premises liability attorney in Fayetteville is important. To schedule a free personal injury consultation for your injury that occurred in Fayetteville, Arkansas call (479) 316-0438 today or contact us online.
When Can I Bring a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Arkansas?
The first requirement for bringing a personal injury lawsuit in Arkansas is that you have suffered an injury and the injury was the fault of at least one person or entity. However, those who have suffered an injury should be prepared to take swift action because the statute of limitations can bar your lawsuit if you wait too long to file. Victims of a catastrophic injury are more likely to find a favorable resolution if they move quickly – but not rashly — to handle their matter. Statutes of limitation are in effect for most causes of action – things you can sue another party for – in Arkansas. The intent of a statute of limitation is to encourage parties to address and settle claims while they are still relatively contemporaneous. Over time, our memories fade and evidence can be lost or destroyed. The statute of limitations works to increase the likelihood that decisions are made based on complete and sound evidence. Furthermore, the statute of limitations allows parties to move on from past events as liability is extinguished after a certain period of time. In Arkansas, the statute of limitations is typically 3 years. In very limited circumstances there may be an expectation to the three-year limit on your time to bring suit. This exception is known as the discovery rule. The discovery rule operates to remove some of the unfairness that would be present if an injury victim did not discover the injury or the source of the injury until the three years had already elapsed. Normally, he or she would be unable to recover due to being time-barred, however for injuries that were concealed – like a sponge left inside the body during surgery – the discovery rule would still allow a suit to be brought. Once again, it is essential to note that this is an exception to the general rules on time limits to file and one should never rely on narrowly crafted exceptions.
Rely on a Fayetteville Premises Liability Attorney
For more than 20 years, Ken Kieklak has fought for people seriously injured due to another person’s negligent or intentional actions. Ken fights aggressively and strategically for his clients. To schedule a free and confidential consultation, call us at (479) 316-0438 today or contact us online.