Under premises liability law in Arkansas, owners and property managers of public spaces – such as malls, restaurants, and grocery stores – must keep their property free of hazards. In Arkansas, private property owners are also responsible for the safety and wellbeing of people visiting their property.
Common examples of accidents include tripping on an uneven sidewalk, slipping on a wet floor, or falling down crumbling steps. When you sustain an injury due to another persons’ negligent property management, you have a right to seek compensation for your injuries.
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.
Types of Entrants
Not every person who goes onto another’s property is treated the same under Arkansas law. Each of the different categories of entrants is owed a different level of duty by the landowner. This can range from — no duty to protect a person of dangerous conditions on the land, to a duty to inspect their land or business and fix or warn people of dangerous conditions. A common example of this is when you see a yellow sign warning you of liquid on the floor in a shopping center. The Arkansas Supreme Court has generally recognized three basic categories of persons present on another’s property who may allege injury against the landowner: trespasser, licensee, and invitee. Arkansas courts adhere to common law distinctions between the duties owed to these categories of persons. When determining whether a visitor qualifies as either an invitee or licensee, it is important to look to the purpose of the visit and the property owner’s invitation.
- Trespasser – A trespasser is a person who is on the property of another without any right, or lawful authority to be there. They have not been given either an express or implied invitation from the landowner or business to be on the property. Rather, the person is on the property for his or her own purpose, pleasure, of convenience. Generally, a landowner does not have any duty to a trespasser except not to purposefully injure them.
- Licensee – A licensee is one who goes on the premises of another with the consent of the owner for one’s own purposes and not for the mutual benefit of oneself and the owner. The Arkansas Supreme Court has generally held that a primarily social guest is considered a licensee. A landowner owes a licensee the duty to refrain from injuring him through willful or wanton conduct, except that where the landowner discovers that a licensee is in peril, he has a duty of ordinary care to avoid injury to the licensee. That duty takes the form of warning a licensee of hidden dangers if the licensee does not know or have reason to know of the conditions or risks involved. To constitute willful or wanton conduct, there must be deliberate intention to harm or an utter indifference to, or conscious disregard of, the safety of others. The duty to warn, however, does not extend to obvious dangers or risks that the licensee should have been expected to recognize. If, however, the landowner knows or has reason to know of a condition on the premises that is not open and obvious and which creates an unreasonable risk of harm to licensees, then it is under a duty to use ordinary care to make the conditions safe or to warn those licensees who do not know or have reason to know of the danger.
- Invitee – An invitee is one induced to come onto a property for the business benefit of the possessor. Arkansas Law recognizes that there are two types of invitees: public and business. A public invitee is invited to enter or remain on the property is held open to the public. A business invitee is invited to enter or remain on the property for a purpose directly or indirectly connected with the business dealings of the possessor of the property. Arkansas law provides that a property owner has a general duty to exercise ordinary care to maintain a reasonably safe condition for the benefit of his invitees. To recover for the failure of a possessor of property to use ordinary care, the business invitee has to show:
- That the premises were defective;
- That the possessor created the defect, or that the defect was apparent or by the exercise of ordinary care should have been apparent, so that a reasonably prudent possessor would correct the defect or warn the invitee of it; and
- That the defect caused the injury.
The owner is not an insurer of the safety of invitees on his premises, but his liability to an invitee must be based upon negligence. It is important to carefully determine what type of entrant you may be considered because this can drastically affect your ability to recover for any injuries you may have received while on the premises.
What Damages Can You Recover
Some premises liability accidents may cause relatively minor injuries such as bruises, scrapes, and broken bones. However, some injuries can be severe and cause long-term damage. When a property owner fails to exercise reasonable care to prevent an accident from occurring on their property or business, they may be required to pay damages to anyone who is injured. Victims injured while on another’s property may be eligible to collect premises liability damages, including medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering, and punitive damages.
- Medical Costs
- Lost Income and other expenses
- Pain and suffering
- Punitive damages.
Depending on the severity of your injury and what type of care you will need, you may be entitled to one or all of the above types of damages. Additionally, you may be able to recover for rehabilitative care, transportation to and from medical appointments, ambulance costs, prescription costs, and for medical supplies.
Put a Rogers Premises Liability Attorney to Work for You
Proving a premises liability case requires a clear and focused approach. Ken Kieklak can work to hold the negligent party accountable for your injuries. For your free and confidential initial consultation, contact our offices by calling (479) 316-0438 or contact us online.