Albuquerque Premises Liability Lawyer
Helping Slip & Fall Injury Victims Across New Mexico
Did you know that every time you enter a shop, restaurant, friend’s house, or other private or public property owned by someone else they have a duty to keep you safe? Did you know that this could apply even if you’re trespassing?! (PSA: We are not advising nor condoning breaking and entering.)
If you have fallen, been assaulted, contracted a serious illness, or were otherwise harmed due to a property owner’s negligence, you may be able to take legal action against them. The Lawyers O’Reilly PC can help. Albuquerque premises liability lawyer Brendan O’Reilly understands how to investigate such claims to collect, preserve, and present evidence to support your claim. He's also a savvy negotiator who can use the facts in your case to negotiate a fair settlement that will help you pay off your medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages incurred.
What Do Premises Liability Cases Consist Of?
Ever walk into a restaurant or shop and see a “Wet Floor” sign positioned in the center of the room? Or come across one of those “Watch Your Step” warnings before the flooring suddenly changes? While these warnings may seem blatantly obvious and unnecessary to some, such warnings are both beneficial to many and required by law.
And most such safety warnings exist because attorneys like Brendan have represented people like you who suffered injury due to the absence of such safety warnings. In fact, Brendan recently represented a woman who tripped on a small step outside her hotel room. The step and the adjacent patio were the exact same color -- she just couldn't see the step!
Brendan recovered $175,000 for his client, who had sustained a humerus (bone in the upper arm) fracture that required surgery.
Now the hotel has yellow reflective paint on the step.
And hotel guests are safer for it!
And that's the true purpose of personal injury law.
Anyone who owns or manages property has a legal “duty of care” to see to the safety of anyone who enters the property. What this means is that when you’re shopping at the grocery store or dropping by your neighbor’s house for tea, they must warn you of any potential dangers and can be held legally liable if you get hurt.
Premises liability law involves three types of “guests”:
- Invitee: An invitee is someone you invite to your property, such as a friend or relative.
- Licensee: An individual on your premises for business purposes, such as a customer.
Trespasser: This one can be a bit messy since in many cases trespassing is a crime.
However, there are unique cases in which someone gets hurt for innocently
trespassing, such as:
A door-to-door salesman who can’t find the doorbell on your gate
and opens it to walk up to the house to ring the doorbell.
- A child who wanders onto your property because they saw something cute, shiny, or fun.
- A door-to-door salesman who can’t find the doorbell on your gate and opens it to walk up to the house to ring the doorbell.
A "trespasser" case involving a child is called an "attractive nuisance" case.
Such cases have led to increased safety in New Mexico. In Calkins v. Cox Estates, for example, a child lived in an apartment complex that was adjacent to a frontage road along I-25. The owner of the apartment complex installed a playground on the rear part of the property next to the frontage road. But he neglected to maintain the fence separating the fence from the frontage road. Children habitually squeezed through the fence to play on the other side of the fence. The boy did just that, wound up on the frontage road, and was killed when he was hit by a car.
He was 8.
The courts in that case held that a landlord owes a duty of care to tenants to maintain "common areas" such as the playground and the fence to prevent this sort of thing from happening again. And the Court held that it was foreseeable to the landowner that this type of harm could happen to a reasonable child situated similarly to the deceased 8 year old.
Ever wonder why pools at hotels are fenced? Or why electrical boxes on power poles are locked?
Well, hotels install those fences because a Plaintiff's attorney represented the family of a child who drowned and proved that that hotels owe a duty to install a barrier around pools to prevent such accidental drownings.
Does that mean that every hotel that has a fence around its pool was sued?
It just means that a duty of care exists to fence pools and hotels now fence their pools to safeguard guests and to decrease their liability to guests.
As for power boxes...
You guessed it.
At some point somebody somewhere opened one of those boxes and was electrocuted. A Plaintiff's attorney likely sued and proved that there is a duty of care to lock electrical boxes to safeguard against just such a foreseeable event.
Premises Liability Law Claims
Now when it comes to trespassers in your home... you’re not allowed to pull a Kevin McAllister, from Home Alone, and booby trap your property in case of thieves. Harry and Marv didn’t seem to know much about premises liability law!
Legal protections for guests apply equally to those inside covered structures, like a store or house, and to any land owned or managed by the property owner surrounding the premises. This means they must keep their sidewalks, walkways, parking lots, backyards, fences, pools, and other parts of their property safe as well. If a business fails to fill a pothole just outside their premises and you trip, for instance, you can pursue claims for your injuries.
However, you must be able to prove that your injury was at least in part the fault of the property owner (the defendant) and not entirely your own (as the plaintiff). To have a premises liability claim you must show that:
- The defendant owed a duty of care to you, the plaintiff (i.e.., the defendant had a duty to remove snow from a sidewalk or parking lot)
- The defendant breached their duty of care (they neglected to shovel the sidewalk, for instance)
- The plaintiff suffered injuries that resulted in compensable damages (medical bills, property damage, etc.)
Types of Premises Liability Cases
In New Mexico, you have three years from the date of your injury to file a premises liability claim against an individual or company. No two premises liability cases are alike, so if you believe that your injury may fall under this category, please reach out to us right away to see if you have a case and get the process started.
Examples of premises liability claims include scenarios such as:
- Getting bitten by a dog whose owner forgot to leash and/or didn’t properly train
- Injuries caused by poor maintenance and upkeep
- Robbery, assault, or another crime due to poor security
- Slipping and falling on standing water the property owner neglected to clean up
- Swimming pool injuries, including drownings
- Tripping and falling down a flight of stairs because the stairway was poorly lit, poorly maintained, poorly marked, or the steps were of a nonstandard height or length
- Rattlesnake bites on a golf course
- Food poisoning at a restaurant or backyard BBQ
- Slip and fall on an icy or snow-covered sidewalk
- Tripping on a crack in a sidewalk or driveway
- A fall from a ladder while helping a neighbor clean the gutters
Have a Nice Trip, See You Next Fall!
We jest but slip and fall accidents hurt and they're not funny. These accidents are also known as “trip and fall” and “slip, trip, and fall.” Injuries caused by slip and falls make up the majority of premises liability claims. In fact, over 800,000 Americans are hospitalized every year because of a fall injury—and many others suffer more minor wounds.
Slip and fall accidents tend to be caused by:
- Changes in flooring
- Electrical cords and wires
- Poor maintenance
- Recently mopped or waxed floors
- Uneven walkways
- Weather conditions (snow, ice, rain, fog, etc.)
- Other obstructions and hazards
- Debris, trash, and other uncleaned messes in walkways
- Icy or snow-covered walkways
If your slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall—injuries arose from a business’s or a homeowner’s negligence, Brendan has the knowledge and the experience to maximize the financial recovery you can receive under New Mexico law.
Contact a Premises Liability Lawyer Near You Today!
When you hire Brendan, he handles the insurance adjusters so that you can focus on recovering from your injuries instead of arguing with a claims adjuster. Plus, you pay a legal fee only if The Lawyers O’Reilly PC’s efforts recover money to compensate you for your injuries!