Safety matters everywhere you go. Unfortunately, you aren’t always in control of your surroundings. When you travel into public, shop for groceries, or even visit a friend, you depend on the people you trust to keep you safe from harm.
The law expects the same. Here in North Carolina, property owners generally have a legal duty to maintain safe premises for the public. That’s because the owners are in the best position to anticipate, discover, address, and resolve potential safety hazards.
Sometimes, an owner might assign that duty to another party, such as a commercial tenant. For example, a restaurant that rents its building from someone else might be liable instead of — or in addition to — the actual property owner.
In either case, the innocent victim (usually a customer) generally isn’t expected to pay for injuries that happen because of unsafe conditions in places that they can’t control.
Sadly, innocent people are injured in property mishaps every single day in North Carolina. Customers slip and fall on slick sales floors, hotel guests are injured in defective swimming pools, house guests are injured when a friend’s pet attacks without warning, etc. In all these cases, justice is available to those who are hurt unfairly.
At The Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo ®, we care about the rights of those who are injured under someone else’s care. We want you to understand what those rights are and how to protect them.
Accordingly, we’ve put together a list of some of the most common types of premises liability in North Carolina. You may very well find that some of them resemble your own experiences, or those of someone you know.
Remember that these are just examples, and that many other scenarios may give rise to premises liability in North Carolina. The most important thing to understand is that your safety matters. By holding negligent property owners accountable, we can all help to make our state safer for everyone.
Slip and Fall
The common slip and fall presents a classic case of premises liability under North Carolina personal injury law. Imagine that you’re shopping in your favorite supermarket or mall when you come across a hard-to-see puddle, take a slip, and fall to the floor. Not only is it embarrassing, it’s also dangerous.
Back in the early days of comedy, the archetypal “banana peel gag” was a staple of slapstick. But despite their reputation, slip and fall injuries can be extraordinarily severe.
Store owners and others have a duty to inspect their premises for any slipping hazards and to address them quickly and efficiently. If you’ve fallen on someone else’s property and suffered injury as a result, you’re likely entitled to compensation. A Charlotte premises liability attorney at our firm may be able to help.
Swimming Pool Accidents
Water, running, and diving can make for a deadly combination. It’s no wonder that accidents happen in swimming pools so often.
Hey, there’s no doubt about it. Swimming pools are a blast, especially here in North Carolina with our long warm summers and beaches full of resorts. But safety empowers fun, and without it, good times quickly turn into nightmares.
Swimming pool accident injuries run the gamut from minor to life threatening, and they occur at hotels, at commercial pools, at public pools, and even on private property (perhaps at a friend or neighbor’s house). Whatever the case may be, pool owners generally have a duty to keep swimmers and passersby safe from common threats, which may include:
- Diving injuries
- Hair getting caught in drains
- Dangerous flotation devices
- Harmful chemicals
- Insufficient chemicals
- Lifeguard violations (where applicable)
- Children climbing over (or through) fences
- And much more
Dog Bites and Animal Attacks
Dogs may be man’s best friends, but sometimes they mistake us for enemies! North Carolina has pretty tough leash laws, which may vary in specifics depending on the rules in your town or county. Generally speaking, though, dog bite victims are entitled to financial compensation for their injuries.
You might have heard about the notorious “one-bite rule,” and it’s true that North Carolina gives innocent pet owners some leeway when their dogs attack for the very first time. There are many exceptions, though, and the one-bite rule doesn’t always apply.
Too often, animal attack victims wrongly assume they don’t have enforceable rights under North Carolina personal injury law. Just the opposite may be true. Our clients are often surprised to learn that they have a strong case for liability, even if they aren’t aware of a prior attack in the dog’s history. It’s best to talk with a Charlotte dog bite attorney before reaching any conclusions about your options.
Defective Stairways, Stairwells, Escalators, and Elevators
There are a lot of ways to move up in this world, but sometimes the most tried-and-true are the most dangerous. Fortunately, stair and elevator accidents are relatively uncommon. Many of us use these devices every day and avoid peril. But they do happen, and the consequences can be catastrophic.
Common examples of stair and elevator accidents include:
- Defective elevator lifts
- Defective elevator doors
- Loose stairs
- Loose handrails
- Inadequate lighting in stairwells or elevators
- Escalators that start and stop without warning
- Elevator code violations
- Stairway collapse
- Slip and fall
Here again, liability generally falls on the party responsible for ensuring that stairs, elevators, and escalators remain in safe operating condition. If you’ve suffered injury in any of these places, whether public or private, a Charlotte premises liability attorney at The Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo ® may be able to help.
Porch Collapse and Defective Porch or Balcony Railings
North Carolina is well known for its beautiful homes with sprawling porches, both front and back. They make for blissful and memorable evenings, enjoying all the fine weather our state has to offer. Sometimes, though, something goes wrong.
Porch railings are a common cause of outdoor injury in people’s homes. Railings are put in place for your safety, and you have a right to expect that they’re sturdy and stable when you use them. If a porch railing gives way on someone else’s property, you may be entitled to compensation.
This is especially problematic in hotels, apartment complexes, dormitories, and commercial high-rises. Loose or defective railings on balconies can lead to serious injury and even death.
Terrifyingly, porches and balconies have even been known to completely collapse while people are on them. A wide range of injuries may result, and the parties responsible for the collapse should be held accountable. Our office can help you determine who those parties may be.
Accidents Caused by Snow and Ice
Our state might not be Jack Frost’s favorite getaway, but he spends more time here than most people realize. Snow and ice do fall in abundance in some years, and even modest accumulations can cause real injury.
From auto accidents and mini-“avalanches” to retaining wall issues and the classic slip and fall, snow and ice can cause serious injuries. Property owners should do all they can to minimize the risk of a snow-or-ice-related injury. If you or a loved one has been injured in one of these incidents, our office can help you determine whether those responsible acted appropriately.
Get Help and Advice from Experienced Charlotte Premises Liability Attorneys
We’ve only covered a few of the many types of premises liability cases in North Carolina and everyone’s injury case is different, but we hope that we were able to give you some basic information. The law does provide protection for injuries that are caused on the property of others, but at-fault parties and their lawyers fight hard to evade responsibility. That’s why it’s important to have an experienced team of attorneys by your side.
If you’ve been injured on someone else’s property and are in the need legal guidance, please know that the Charlotte premises liability attorneys at the Law Offices of Michael A. DeMayo, L.L.P. ® will treat you with fairness and respect.
We understand that victims are often reluctant to seek legal representation because they fear expense, uncertainty, or hassle in pursuing a claim. But we encourage you to contact us because our legal professionals will handle the entire claims process for you, making sure you feel comfortable, informed, and in control.
We will not charge for our services unless you win — either in the form of a court judgment or an out-of-court settlement that will give you the compensation you deserve.
We offer free consultations in person and over the phone. These are available right now, and they’ll help you better understand your rights under North Carolina personal injury law.
Please contact us to set up a free consultation today.