5 Essential Actions To Take After Suffering an Injury on Someone Else's Property

5 Essential Actions To Take After Suffering an Injury on Someone Else’s Property

Generally, property owners are responsible for maintaining their property in a safe condition for invitees and guests. The duty may extend to parties controlling the property, such as landlords, tenants, business owners, and management companies. If the responsible party fails to maintain safe premises, they could be liable for damages if someone is injured on the property.

We refer to this area of personal injury law as premises liability. A common type of premises liability claim is a slip and fall accident. Other premises liability claims may involve fires, bed bugs, explosions, poison, toxic substances, and electrical accidents.

What Do I Need To Prove To Receive Compensation if I’m Injured on Someone’s Property?

Injured parties have the burden of proof in premises liability cases. Therefore, you must prove the following elements to hold the property owner responsible for your injuries:

  • The party owned or operated the premises
  • You were lawfully on the property with the owner’s express or implied consent
  • A dangerous condition or hazard existed on the property
  • The dangerous condition was not obvious or open
  • The party failed to take reasonable steps to warn you about the hazard or fix the condition
  • The dangerous condition or hazard caused you to sustain injuries and damages

The burden of proof for economic and non-economic damages in a premises liability case is by a preponderance of the evidence. That requires you to convince a jury that there is more than a 50% chance that the evidence proves that the property owner failed to meet their duty of care regarding their property.

5 Essential Actions To Take After Suffering Injuries on Someone Else’s Property

The steps you take after an injury on someone else’s property could impact whether you receive fair compensation. To protect your legal rights after an accident on someone’s property, you will want to:

Gather Evidence

The property owner will likely correct the hazardous condition after you leave the property. Therefore, gather evidence before you leave.

Take photographs and make a video of the area. Ensure that you capture the hazard that caused your injury. Ask witnesses for their names and contact information. Note if there are cameras that could have captured the accident. If so, ask for a copy of the video.

Seek Medical Treatment

Always see a doctor after an accident on someone else’s property. Prompt medical treatment is essential for your recovery. It also helps your personal injury case. Delays in medical treatment could give the property owner a reason to dispute your claim that you were injured on their property.

Notify the Property Owner

Report the accident and injury to the property owner or party in charge of the premises. Ask for a copy of the written report before you leave. If the person does not create a written report, write down the person’s name, title, and contact number.

Keep Track of Expenses

You may be entitled to economic damages. These damages include medical bills and lost wages. It also includes out-of-pocket expenses and other financial losses. Keep receipts, bills, invoices, and other evidence of your losses.

You may also receive compensation for your non-economic damages. These damages compensate you for pain and suffering. Begin a journal to note the details about your recovery, such as your pain levels, difficulty performing tasks, and emotional distress.

Seek Legal Advice From a Premises Liability Lawyer

If you were injured on someone else’s property, you deserve to be compensated fairly for your injuries. However, premises liability claims are complicated personal injury cases. It helps to have experienced legal counsel as soon as possible after your injury.

A premises liability lawyer investigates the cause of your injuries. They gather evidence to build a solid case for maximum compensation of damages.

Injury lawyers offer complimentary consultations. Therefore, you can get answers to your questions and learn about your legal options free of charge.

Step-by-Step Guide for Filing a Personal Injury Claim

Step-by-Step Guide for Filing a Personal Injury Claim

The timeline of a personal injury case can vary greatly depending on the way the accident happened, the seriousness of your injuries, the defendant’s attitude toward settlement, and the overall complexity of your case. 

The steps below are general guidelines that you can refer to, even though your claim will probably differ in some respects. It’s also best to set up a consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer to ensure your claim is filed appropriately.

Obtain Medical Care 

Nothing is more important than prompt medical care, for both medical and legal reasons. Even if you feel fine, seek immediate medical treatment if you have any doubts whatsoever. Some injuries, such as certain types of head injuries, don’t always generate immediate symptoms. 

If you delay seeking medical treatment, you are inviting the opposing party to claim that your injuries didn’t occur until after the accident. 

Prepare Appropriate Documentation

Prepare and retain the following documentation:

  • Medical records: All treatment-related documentation related to your injury.
  • An accident report or police report, if one exists. If your injury occurred at work, file a report with your employer.
  • Photographs of your injuries and the scene of the accident. In a car accident, the positions of the cars on the road can be particularly revealing.
  • Witness statements. Get their contact information and, later, written statements.
  • Your insurance policy documents. 
  • Any correspondence with insurance companies Record any telephone conversations.
  • Expense receipts, to document your out-of-pocket expenses.
  • Documentation of missed work and lost income.
  • Your journal detailing your pain levels, emotional distress, difficulties in daily activities, and general quality of life.
  • Legal documents such as retainer agreements, court filings (if applicable), and correspondence with your lawyer.

Since every case is different, keep any other documentation that you might need later.

Schedule a Legal Consultation

A consultation with a personal injury lawyer won’t cost you a dime, and they will almost certainly give you an honest evaluation. 

Because of the way personal injury lawyers charge for their services, they have no incentive to exaggerate the value of your claim. If they offer to represent you, it’s because they believe in your claim.

Investigate the Accident and Your Injuries

Let your lawyer handle this with your cooperation. Your lawyer will probably request your medical records from the hospital, for example, or speak with an expert about your case. 

Some of the critical evidence might be in the possession of the at-fault party or even a third party (cell phone records, for example, if the at-fault party was texting while driving).

Prove Negligence

Not every personal injury claim is based on negligence, but most are. To prove negligence, you need to prove the following elements of your claim:

  • The defendant owed you a duty of care.
  • The defendant breached their duty of care to you. 
  • You suffered a physical injury.
  • The defendant’s breach of duty caused the injury you suffered.
  • Your injury was a foreseeable consequence of the defendant’s negligence.

In many personal injury cases, only one or two of these elements will be at issue.

Begin Settlement Talks

If your claim is reasonably strong, the at-fault party (or their insurance company) is likely to prefer settlement to courtroom litigation. Let your lawyer do the negotiating for you because insurance adjusters are savvy negotiators.

File a Lawsuit 

You may or may not need to file a lawsuit. You certainly do, however, if the statute of limitations deadline is looming. In Illinois, for instance, you typically have until two years after an accident to file a personal injury lawsuit.

Attempt Mediation

If you have filed a lawsuit, the judge is likely to push for mediation. Even if not, participating in mediation might result in an otherwise unavailable settlement.

Go to Trial or Sign a Settlement Agreement

Statistically, the odds are good that you’ll end up settling your claim. Taking your claim to trial can delay the resolution of your claim. However, make sure your lawyer has a good reputation for winning at trial. 

Ironically, this reputation can keep you out of court, as it can encourage the opposing party to settle rather than face your lawyer in court.

Do You Need a Personal Injury Lawyer?

You don’t always need a lawyer to pursue a personal injury claim. If your claim is large or complex, however, the odds are good that you will end up better off with one than without one, even after you pay your legal fees. Don’t be shy about seeking a free consultation.


When Do I Need to Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer?

Not all accidents require the help of a lawyer. If you suffered mild injuries in a straightforward accident with uncontested liability, you can likely handle your own claim. However, it can be unclear when you need a personal injury lawyer’s expertise or if you even have a case. 

Without legal representation, it can be easy to make mistakes that harm your claim. Once a settlement agreement with the insurance company is signed, it’s final. That means you can’t seek additional money if your injuries turn out to be more serious. 

With so much at stake, it’s crucial to know when you need a personal injury attorney so you can be represented as soon as possible. Here are common circumstances in which you should always speak with a lawyer before communicating any further with the other party. 

You Suffered a Serious Injury

The more serious your injuries, the more your case is likely worth. 

Serious injuries may involve: 

  • Substantial medical bills
  • A lengthy recovery
  • Long-term disability
  • Diminished earning capacity
  • Significant non-economic losses like pain and suffering

The insurance company has a great incentive to scrutinize and delay your claim, blame you, and find other ways to minimize or deny a payout. 

After a serious injury, you depend on the settlement to not only replace your lost wages and cover medical bills but potentially pay for lifelong medical care. 

An experienced personal injury lawyer will make sure your case is valued accurately and negotiate on your behalf. Your lawyer will defend you against unfair insurance company tactics and fight for the full compensation you are owed. 

Liability Is Shared or Unclear

Legal representation becomes critical if there’s uncertainty about who is at fault or if multiple parties are involved. Insurance companies often exploit murky liability to reduce payouts. The insurance company might try to shift the blame to you or other parties. 

States vary in how they handle shared fault in personal injury cases. Some states use a comparative negligence standard, while others use contributory negligence. In the few states with a contributory negligence rule, any fault assigned to you will bar you from recovering anything. 

Under a comparative negligence rule, you may still be entitled to compensation. However, it will be reduced according to your share of fault. Depending on the state, you may still be barred from recovering compensation if you are at least or more than half at fault. 

A personal injury lawyer will carefully investigate your accident, gather evidence, and work with experts to make liability as clear as possible. Your lawyer will defend you against unfair blame-shifting tactics and help you hold the responsible party accountable. 

Your Injury Claim Was Denied or Undervalued

Insurance companies are in the business of minimizing payouts. 

The insurance company may undervalue your claim or deny it outright by claiming: 

  • You are not as injured as you claim
  • Your medical expenses were unreasonable or unnecessary
  • Your injuries were not caused by the accident
  • You have pre-existing conditions that caused or worsened your injuries

If you receive a settlement offer, it may not even fully cover your medical costs, let alone your other losses. An experienced lawyer understands the tactics insurance companies use to minimize payouts. They know how to negotiate effectively and will not be intimidated by the insurance company’s attempts to undervalue your claim.

Your lawyer can meticulously document your injuries and associated costs, negotiate on your behalf, and file an appeal of a denied claim. If necessary, your lawyer will take your case to court to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.

Your Case Involves a Complex Area of Personal Injury Law

Certain personal injury cases involve complex and specialized areas of law. 

Examples include: 

  • Medical malpractice: Proving negligence demands an understanding of both legal and medical principles.
  • Product liability cases: Injuries caused by defective or dangerous products require knowledge about manufacturing standards and regulations.
  • Catastrophic injury cases like spinal cord injuries: Calculating future losses and non-economic damages is essential and complicated.
  • Cases involving government entities: Different rules and timelines for filing a claim apply.

These cases involve unique laws and decades of specialized legal precedence. Expert testimony is often needed. 

Contact a Personal Injury Attorney For a Free Consultation To Discuss Your Claim

Not all accidents require hiring a lawyer, but knowing when you do need representation is critical. Hiring a lawyer can greatly impact your recovery and financial future. With a skilled personal injury lawyer, you stand a greater chance of recovering the full compensation you need.