Although the law varies from state to state, landowners generally have a duty to maintain their premises in a reasonably safe condition. This duty has been interpreted broadly by the Courts and can require commercial retailers to keep aisles clean and clear to prevent slip and falls or falling merchandise; it can require landowners to maintain common areas, sidewalks, and parking lots to alleviate unreasonably dangerous conditions; and can require commercial landowners to provide reasonable security measures to protect tenants and patrons from reasonably foreseeable criminal activity.
Technical Expertise and Trial Experience Make a Difference
Our lawyers have years of experience litigating premises liability claims and have successfully tried cases to jury verdict on these particular issues. Prior to forming Doyle Law, huge retailers, department stores, restaurants, bars, and apartment complexes entrusted our lawyers in defending complex negligent security and other premises liability claims involving murder, rape, wrongful death and other serious injuries. We now use the technical expertise gained in litigating these cases to aggressively prosecute claims on behalf of plaintiffs who have been injured due to the negligence of a landowner.
The Firm handles claims on behalf of individuals who have been harmed by the foreseeable and preventable criminal acts of third parties. Not every victim of violent crime has a viable claim for negligent security. However, oftentimes landowners fail in their responsibility to provide reasonable security measures by maintaining inadequate lighting, warnings, security gates, locks, improperly maintained windows, and security guards to protect against criminal activity on their property. Usually, these types of claims rise and fall on the issue of whether the criminal conduct was foreseeable and preventable by the landowner.
Oftentimes, negligent security claims require expert testimony to establish whether the criminal conduct was foreseeable, whether security measures were adequate, and whether the crime was preventable. This requires a review of police crime grids, the record of criminal activity at a particular location, a site inspection, and a review of security measures, among other issues. Typically, judges and juries require a landowner to maintain a higher degree of security when there is a history of prior violent crimes. Conversely, a judge or jury may not expect to see strict security measures on a property in a safe neighborhood with no history of violent crime. An evaluation of these claims is very fact specific and requires the services of a skilled and experienced trial attorney. Please contact us if you would like one of our experienced trial lawyers to provide you a Free Case Evaluation.
What should I do if I am bitten by a dog?
Get medical attention as soon as possible. A superficial bite can infect you or transmit rabies. You should see a doctor as soon as possible if the skin is broken.
It is also important to identify the dog. This is not just to establish liability. Your doctor will need to know if the dog was healthy. If the owner is nearby, request identification. Write the information down. Get his or her full address and telephone number.
Contact an experienced attorney to promptly start an investigation.
Do I have a case?
The facts of every case are different and you should contact our attorneys for a free case evaluation. However, remember that “smaller” injuries oftentimes warrant a lawsuit where there is scarring and/or emotional or psychological effects.
Dog bite law varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but many jurisdictions have enacted dog bite statutes that impose strict liability on dog owners for the actions of their pets. An injured adult has a right to file a claim or lawsuit. A child’s claim must be made by his or her parent or guardian. In strict liability states, a dog owner is responsible by statute for any bite by his dog. Defenses exist where a dog is provoked or attacked or the victim is a trespasser.
Should you seek legal advice even when the dog owner offers to pay your medical bills?
Many dog owners feel responsible for their dogs and genuinely want to help. They might offer money or offer to pay the medical bills. However, this type of offer does not necessarily compensate you for all the losses that you have suffered. Most homeowners have insurance that covers this type of incident. If an insurance adjuster or investigator for the owner contacts you, you are not obligated to talk to them. If you discuss your injuries, “I feel much better” may later become “The claimant told me she had recovered, and now claims that she still has pain.” Insurance adjusters and investigators owe their loyalty to the insurance company. Their job is to save the company as much money as possible, not to help you receive adequate compensation for your injuries. Get the insurance adjuster’s identifying information and provide it to an experienced trial attorney.
It may seem reasonable to accept an early offer of $2500 as compensation for a dog bite. However, insurance companies always require a written release of liability in exchange for a money settlement. We recommend that you wait a while to allow your injuries to fully heal before settling a dog bite claim. This is particularly true where scarring is a possibility. Plastic surgeons usually cannot reliably determine the extent of scarring until at least six months have passed. You may not know for quite some time whether all of your medical treatment is complete. This is precisely the reason that an insurance company will contact you and want to obtain an early settlement and release.