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Defending Indiana Residents Injured on Unsafe Properties

“Premises liability” is the legal concept of trying to hold landowners responsible for your injuries when you are injured on their property. Figuring out whether the property owner is at fault or contributed to your accident in such matters is done on a case-by-case basis by a court or jury. These cases start with whether you have a “right” to be on the property in the first place. If you were invited, such as being a customer, client, patron, tenant, outside service provider, or you are an employee, you are owed a higher duty of care than if you were a trespasser under Indiana law. As a lawfully-permitted visitor to the property, you then have certain rights of protection from the premises owner.

Injured on someone else’s property? Contact Shaw Law for a free consultation with an Indiana premises liability attorney today.

Understanding Your Rights Under Indiana Premises Liability Laws

The idea of looking at the injured party’s right to be on the land started in 1965 in a famous Indiana Supreme Court case called “Burrell v. Meads.” In that case, Indiana abandoned the idea that a person must be expressly “invited” onto the land and discarded the “invitation test.” In most instances for customers on a business property, you must prove the landowner did not act reasonably because it breached its duty to you of being “careful” like a normal business or person would be after inviting you on the property to shop or browse.

Through the years, however, Indiana has ruled that how careful a landowner must be varies. The level of “care” necessary depends on whether or not you had a right to be there. Indiana courts have long ruled that the entrant’s status on the land determines the duty owed by the landowner.

The three standards of care depend upon how the person on the land is classified. These three types include:

  • Trespasser: the lowest duty to be careful. The landowner must only refrain from willfully or wantonly (intentionally) injuring the entrant after discovering his presence.
  • Licensee: a middle ground of being careful. The landowner must refrain from willfully or wantonly injuring the entrant or acting in a manner to increase his peril. The landowner must also warn a licensee of any (hidden) latent dangers on the premises which the landowner knows about.
  • Invitee: landowner owes the highest duty of care. The landowner is required to exercise reasonable care for the entrant’s protection as long as the entrant remains on the land.

The Indiana Supreme Court in the case of Burrell v. Meads said that “the best definition” of the duty owed to an invitee is as follows:

  • A possessor of land is subject to liability for physical harm caused to his invitees by a condition on the land if, but only if he
    • a) knows or by the exercise of reasonable care would discover the condition and should realize that it involves an unreasonable risk of harm to such invitees, and
    • b) should expect that they will not discover or realize the danger or will fail to protect themselves against it and
    • c) fails to exercise reasonable care to protect them against the danger.

This law is often read to the jury at the end of a trial for the jury to follow when deciding if the landowner was negligent or not. For additional questions, contact our premises liability lawyer today.

Contact Our Indiana Premises Liability Attorney Today

Premises liability law has often been called the most difficult for lawyers to understand and the most difficult for them to prevail when representing injured clients. Because of its complexity and challenging nature, you need a professional who has worked as a dedicated premises liability advocate for years, who understands how the law works, how the courts view these issues in your local area, and how to investigate and build your case so as to give you the best chance of success.

At Shaw Law, we have a proven track record because we have our own technique and over 30+ years of experience.

Call Shaw Law at (260) 777-7777. Get a lawyer from the comfort of your own home for your free consultation today.


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