The first winter snow looks beautiful, but New England home and business owners might associate it with shoveling and mopping. After all, snow can cause a slip-and-fall accident, even indoors, where ice can leave puddles as it melts.
In New Hampshire, owning land comes with obligations. Property owners must be serious about eliminating the risk of slip-and-fall accidents. Clearing away snow and placing non-slip mats in walkways are some ways of maintaining a safe property.
New Hampshire law holds owners liable for preventable injuries and accidents due to unsafe property conditions. If you were injured, you could seek significant compensation from the at-fault party for your economic and non-economic losses. Would you like to know more about getting compensated for your medical bills, lost wages, and other accident-related damages?
Pursuing compensation is not always simple, but personal injury attorneys can help. Our premises liability law team is sharing the following information so you understand how to get the compensation you deserve.
Duties a Property Owner Must Fulfill
The “premises” in question may be a piece of land, building, home, or structure. The concept behind premises liability laws is safety. New Hampshire premises liability law requires owners to take reasonable care to keep workplaces, businesses, and other places free from hazards to promote safety.
Premises liability laws vary by type of establishment. For instance, a construction site might have some inherent, unavoidable dangers. It wouldn’t be fair to expect it to be as safe as a private home. Yet, that does not mean a construction site manager is exempt from responsibility. He or she would still need to take steps to ensure the safety of both workers and guests.
To that end, a construction supervisor should provide employee training on:
- Operating machinery safely
- Maintaining and repairing equipment
- Dealing with emergencies
- Meeting safety standards set by OSHA and other regulatory organizations
Educating employees and visitors is only one way to minimize the risk of injury. Landlords and business owners might also take these steps to keep their premises safe:
- Placing warning signs in areas with potential dangers (such as high voltage, restricted area, wet floor, acetylene, etc.)
- Keeping entryways and exits clear to ensure traffic can flow in case of an evacuation
- Establishing safety protocols and requiring employees to follow them
- Providing personal protective equipment (PPE) like gloves, safety glasses, steel-toe shoes, earplugs, and hard hats when necessary; training employees and visitors how to put them on properly
- Performing regular inspections, noting issues, and fixing problems as soon as possible
Outdoor recreational activities can be fun, but some hazards might inherently be present.
For example, the Sports Foundation lists different potential hiking injuries – including bone fractures, anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears, and concussions – on its website. If the owner of a private property had to worry about every hiker’s injuries, he or she might never allow this type of recreation on their land.
To encourage landowners to allow the public use of their land for recreation, the State of New Hampshire has established laws on landowner liability. You might have heard that you cannot sue if you were injured while doing outdoor recreational activities on private land.
While it is true that the Landowner Liability Law and the duty of care rule protect landowners, there are exceptions:
- If the landowners charge a fee to enter or recreate on their property
- If they fail to warn others about a danger out of malice
- If they intentionally harm someone visiting the premises
Property owners who neglect their duties or break the law could be subject to a premises liability lawsuit. The injured party can hold them accountable for their damages. What if you have been hurt on private land? A New Hampshire premises liability lawyer can help you gather evidence, which is an essential step in establishing a liability claim.
Proving Your Premises Liability Claim
Where were you when you were injured? When you are hurt due to dangerous conditions on another party’s property, you can recover compensatory damages in a premises liability lawsuit. Yet, you must demonstrate how the defendant failed to exercise reasonable care to keep you safe on their property.
In 2021, over 52.5 million people suffered injuries caused by preventable factors. Where? In homes and community venues, according to the National Safety Council (NSC).
A New Hampshire premises liability attorney must investigate what contributed to an accident in order to determine who should be held liable.
Your attorney might look for factors that lead to a dangerous condition, such as:
- Cluttered walkways
- Broken equipment (e.g., machinery, guardrails, ladders)
- Dangerous pets
- Unsecured cargo
- Inadequate lighting
- Uneven or damaged flooring
- Inadequate security
- Tripping hazards
- Wet or slippery surfaces
- Defective electrical wiring
- Toxic fumes and chemicals
- Missing or insufficient warning signs
Of course, light bulbs burn out, and things break over time. If you are injured because a negligent property owner failed to conduct inspections and make repairs in a reasonable time frame, you can file a personal injury claim against them.
A premises liability claim must be based on solid evidence. New Hampshire premises liability attorneys can look for proof to support your claim, relying on the following:
- Property records to show the defendant owned the property
- Photographs, including what is posted on the property owner’s social media, showing the condition of the premises, your injuries, and other relevant details
- Video from surveillance cameras or CCTV
- Accident reports (such as police reports or workers’ compensation claims)
- Inspection records revealing the length of time the defendant knew of a dangerous condition or to prove his or her failure to conduct inspections
- Medical documents to show the severity of your injuries
- Salary information (pay stubs or tax records) to show what a property owner owes for your lost income during your recovery
- Insurance policies stating policy limits and coverage
- Journals in which you record pain and suffering related to your physical and emotional pain, loss of income, or other struggles
It is easier, and better, to locate evidence when it is still fresh. Therefore, if you are injured on someone else’s property, contact a New Hampshire lawyer as soon as possible.
Sometimes bystanders view accidents and can give valuable testimony regarding a premises liability claim. An attorney might record eyewitnesses describing what they saw directly or circumstances they noticed before or after the incident.
Many personal injury claims are settled out of court, but the ones supported by witness testimony can leave a convincing impression on judges and jury. Witnesses can offer insightful details that official reports may lack and may even corroborate your version of what happened.
Your New Hampshire attorney might also consult a physician, accident reconstructionist, or other professional to establish liability for your losses. Even though these expert witnesses might not have witnessed your accident, they can give their insight on how it likely unfolded or what injuries such dangerous conditions tend to produce.
For instance, a psychologist might testify about the emotional distress experienced by accident victims. Or a surgeon might share what follow-up operations and treatment you may need to justify your claim for future medical expenses beyond what you have already accrued.
Acting before the statute of limitations ends
After an accident, it might be challenging to think about the trauma you have been through. Dwelling too much on your memories can make it harder to deal with your emotions. Just the thought of a premises liability case can seem overwhelming.
At Kiley Law Group, we understand how much stress you might be feeling right now. Leaving the burdensome details associated with premises liability lawsuits in our hands can bring you peace of mind.
What’s more, there are additional reasons to take action to file your premises liability case sooner rather than later.
New Hampshire, like other states, sets a statute of limitations on how long you have to recover damages from a property owner. The deadline for civil actions like premises liability cases is 3 years.
One reason this personal injury law exists is because time can erase vital evidence. Even memories can fade. Constructing premises liability claims becomes harder as proof becomes more difficult to find. Thus, the statute of limitations protects property owners from being blindsided by lawsuits based on events from decades ago.
How does this apply to you? If you don’t file your premises liability claim or lawsuit on time, you forfeit your right to recover compensation for the injuries you sustained on someone else’s property.
Get Help From a New Hampshire Premises Liability Lawyer
Learning about the protections of personal injury law can be comforting. There is hope. A personal injury lawsuit could reverse your accident-related debt and restore your peace of mind.
Premises liability law can be complex, and some cases may be hard to win. Yet, our case results demonstrate the outcome when experienced lawyers tackle claims with extensive knowledge and unrelenting determination. In just one example, our slip and fall lawyers won a $1.2 million settlement for our client, who fell due to a defective porch railing.
When the grounds of a property are unsafe, accidents can happen. This may be understandable, but you have rights that can be protected by our legal team if you were injured on someone else’s property.
There is no fee for our services until we win, so you can pursue compensation now without paying anything out of pocket. Start chatting now by clicking the icon on the bottom of your screen, or call us any time at (978) 965-3228.