How Do You Sue a Business for Injuries?
If you have been hurt in an accident, you may be entitled to compensation. But what if the person responsible isn’t a person — but a business? Who is responsible for your injuries?
Suing a business can be more challenging than filing a claim against an individual, but it is something that is relatively straightforward with the assistance of a tenacious Long Island personal injury attorney. Like people, businesses owe you a duty of care. If their actions — or inaction — causes you harm, then you might be able to file a lawsuit to recover for your losses.
Negligence: Breach of Duty of Care
Personal injury cases are brought based on a theory of negligence, which is the failure of an individual, business or organization to use the care that a reasonable person (or entity) would in similar circumstances. For example, if a reasonable business would salt its sidewalk during icy conditions, a store that fails to do so may have been negligent.
There are four elements to any negligence case: (1) duty; (2) breach; (3) causation; and (4) damages. A duty is a legal obligation owed by an individual or organization requiring that they use reasonable care while performing any acts that could potentially harm others. A breach is a violation of a duty. Causation is the link between the breach and the injury. Finally, damages are the harm that was caused as a result of the breach of the duty.
When most people think about personal injury cases, they generally consider situations where a person harms someone else through negligence. The classic example is a car accident; one driver does not pay attention while behind the wheel and causes an accident, injuring another driver as a result.
However, businesses can also be negligent. There are a number of ways that a company can be negligent, from the way that they manufacture their goods, to how they install their products, to the way that they maintain their physical storefronts or office space. If you have been harmed by the actions of a business or other entity, a skilled Long Island personal injury attorney can analyze the facts of your case and determine whether you have a viable claim.
A common type of negligence case brought against business involves premises liability. Businesses have an obligation to keep the property reasonably safe and free from hazards. That means that a business should clear hazards, clean up spills and fix dangerous conditions. If the business fails to do so, it could be held liable for any slip and falls.
However, there is an important aspect of premises liability cases that must be understood. Visitors to businesses act reasonably. Visitors to a business have a duty to act responsibly when they are on the premises. If you act in a dangerous way — such as by climbing up on a display or by running down the aisles in a crowded store — then you will probably have a case for any injuries that result from your irresponsible actions.
To win a premises liability case, it isn’t enough to show that you got hurt on at a business. You must show that the business’ negligence was the cause of your injuries.To prove negligence, a Long Island personal injury attorney will have to prove that the business was negligent in maintaining, designing or constructing the property. Your lawyer will also have to demonstrate that the business either knew or should have known about the dangerous condition but failed to fix it. Specifically, your attorney has to show that:
- The business knew about the cause of the accident;
- The accident could have been avoided with reasonable action from the business; and
- You could not have prevented the accident.
If you can prove these things, you will likely be able to recover for your slip and fall.
For example, consider a situation where you were shopping at a grocery store when you slipped and fell on liquid soap that had been spilled on the floor. Whether you can recover for your fall will depend on whether the store knew about the spill and had the opportunity to address it — and if you had the chance to avoid the accident. If the store manager had been alerted to the spill and took no action to clean it up, then the store will likely be at fault.
However, if the spill just happened and the store didn’t have time to clean it up, then the store will not be liable. Similarly, if you saw the spill but walked into it anyway, the store will not be held responsible.
In many cases, a personal injury case against a business will result in a settlement. it can be difficult to predict what a settlement amount will be, as there is no such thing as an “average” settlement. Each settlement will depend on the unique facts of the case, and will be based on a number of factors, such as the severity of the injury and the liability of the business.
Settlements take place when the entity being sued agrees to pay the person who has filed the claim (the injured party) an amount to dismiss the case. In the United States, 95 to 96% of all personal injury cases end in settlements.
To achieve a settlement amount, both sides determine what they think the case is worth. This is often achieved by researching similar cases to see what juries have awarded in the past. An experienced attorney can also use his or her own knowledge of typical settlements to determine case value. Businesses are often insured, and their insurance companies will generally have standard amounts that they will pay for different types of lawsuits.
Once each side has established their estimate of what the case is worth, the parties will negotiate a settlement amount. As the case gets closer to trial or evidence is discovered, this number may increase or decrease. When both sides agree to a final settlement amount, the parties will sign a settlement agreement and the injured party will drop the claim.
How a Long Island Personal Injury Attorney Can Help
Personal injury lawsuits against businesses can often be more complex than cases against individuals, particularly because companies tend to have more resources. That makes it all the more important to have an aggressive Long Island personal injury attorney to represent you.
The lawyers of Siler & Ingber know how to get results. With a 98% success rate and over $50 million in compensation earned for their clients, they will stand up for you. To schedule a free initial consultation, call our firm today at 877-718-6079 or contact us online anytime.