Premises Liability Lawyer

If you are injured because of a negligently maintained building or walking surface, you are entitled to be fairly compensated by the person or business that caused you harm.
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Drew Palcsik is a true plaintiff's trial lawyer. Many personal injury lawyers hope for the best settlement and take what they can get. Not Drew. Drew doesn't hesitate to take his cases to trial and present his case before a jury, maximizing recovery for his clients.

~ John F.

We recently worked with a woman who was visiting a neighbor. As they said their goodbyes and my client walked out the door, she slipped on the top step of the outside stairs. She reached for the railing; it wasn’t there. The neighbor’s husband had taken it off.

Our client fell four feet off the side of the staircase, fracturing her leg in three places. She couldn’t walk for months.

The homeowners’ insurance company told her they were sorry, but they were not responsible. It “wasn’t negligent” to take down the railing. Our client should have been more careful.

We got involved and took the case to court. In moving the case to trial, we proved that the homeowners were running a business out of the house with people coming and going all day long. We took this information to focus groups who agreed that anyone running a business in their home had to make sure the entrance was safe.

When it came time to discuss settlement, we had a strong case to prove that the homeowner was responsible. In the end, we resolved the case for her without a trial. While we couldn’t give her back the months of immobility and pain, she got what she was owed.

And the railing went back up.

At Champlain Valley Law, we have the experience and the resources to help you file a premises liability claim, and hold the person responsible for your accident liable for the damages you’ve suffered.

Understanding Premises Liability Law

When you sustain an injury on another’s property due to their carelessness or oversight, you can hold them liable for your damages. The idea behind this law is to create confidence that, in modern society, property owners and managers have a “duty of care” to their visitors and must act reasonably to prevent injuries on their property.

If a court finds that the property owner breached this duty of care, they will need to compensate you for your injury-related losses, such as the following:
  • Medical expenses
  • Recovery or rehabilitation expenses
  • Lost income
  • Loss of earning ability
  • Pain and suffering
Our team at Champlain Valley Law is here to help you understand the type of damages you could recover depending on the circumstances of your case, and what you need to do to recover them.

Vermont Landowners’ Duty of Care

In a premises liability lawsuit, one critical question is the legal relationship between the landowner and the visitor. In the past, the law distinguished between “invitees” and “licensees” to define the duty of care owed by the property owner to the entrant.

In a recent decision, the Vermont Supreme Court abolished this distinction. The court held that property owners now owe the same duty of care to all lawful entrants, the standard of “reasonable care in all circumstances.”

However, this standard does not apply to trespassers. A trespasser is a person who comes onto another’s property without a legal reason to be there or without permission. If the trespasser’s presence was known or should reasonably have been expected, the owner has a duty to act with reasonable care towards the trespasser.

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Slip and Fall Cases

One of the most common premises liability lawsuits are a category of claims known informally as “slip and fall” cases, in which someone is injured because of a negligently maintained walking surface such as a walkway or staircase.

Many of these injuries happen while people are shopping or doing business in their community–for example, in a hotel, amusement park, bank, or grocery store.

Here are some of the common injuries you might suffer from a slip and fall accident:
  • Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
  • Back and spinal cord injuries
  • Shoulder or neck injuries
  • Fractures or sprains
  • Cuts and abrasions

Businesses are not automatically responsible for all customer injuries on their premises. However, a business does have a duty of care to ensure that its property or facilities are reasonably safe for visitors.

Like all premises liability cases, in a slip and fall case, you must be able to demonstrate that your injuries were caused by a breach of that duty of care.

Do I Have A Premises Liability Claim?

Click below for '3 Slip & Fall Tips'
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Proving Negligence

In order to hold a business liable, our legal team will have to prove three things:
  • The defendant knew or should have known of the threat of a dangerous condition;
  • The defendant did not exercise reasonable care in preventing the danger or fixing the problem; and
  • Your injury was caused by the unsafe condition

There is a statute of limitations for personal injury lawsuits, which means there’s a time limit for when you can sue a property owner for your injuries. Vermont law states that a lawsuit for physical injury must begin within 3 years of the date of the incident.

(However, it is important to note that there are certain exceptions to this three-year rule. For example, a skiing accident is subject to a shorter, one-year statute of limitations.)

An experienced Burlington premises liability lawyer can help organize and prepare a claim within the statute of limitations so that you do not lose your legal rights.

Consult a Burlington Premises Liability Attorney

You deserve justice for the injuries you experienced because another failed to maintain their property. Under premises liability law, you have the power to exercise your legal rights to hold the negligent property owner liable.

Drew Palcsik at Champlain Valley Law can help you navigate the legal process, starting by exploring your options for recovery. Contact a Burlington premises liability lawyer today to begin your case.
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