When you or a loved one suffers an injury on someone else's property, it can be a traumatizing and confusing experience. In Oklahoma, premises liability laws hold negligent property owners accountable for the injuries sustained on their property. This article will provide a comprehensive guide to understanding the elements of a successful premises liability claim in Oklahoma, and how to navigate the legal process to obtain compensation for your injuries.
1. Establishing Duty of Care
For a premises liability claim to be successful, the injured party must prove that the property owner had a duty of care to maintain a safe environment. In Oklahoma, property owners owe a different level of duty depending on the classification of the visitor:
- Invitees: Individuals who enter the property for the benefit of the property owner, such as customers in a store. Property owners owe the highest duty of care to invitees, which includes regularly inspecting the property and addressing any hazards.
- Licensees: People who enter the property with the owner's permission, but not for the owner's benefit, such as social guests. Property owners owe a duty to warn licensees of any known dangers but are not required to inspect the property for hazards.
- Trespassers: Individuals who enter the property without permission. Property owners owe no duty of care to trespassers, except to avoid causing intentional harm.
2. Proving Negligence
Once the duty of care has been established, the injured party must prove that the property owner was negligent in maintaining their property. This can be done by demonstrating that the owner:
- Failed to maintain the property in a reasonably safe condition.
- Failed to warn visitors of any known hazards.
- Failed to inspect the property for potential hazards.
Additionally, the injured party must prove that the property owner's negligence was the direct cause of their injury. This can be challenging, as it requires showing that the owner's actions or inactions led to the hazardous condition, and that the injured party would not have been harmed if the owner had acted responsibly.
3. Damages and Compensation
Once negligence has been proven, the injured party must demonstrate the extent of their damages. This may include medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and any other expenses related to the injury. It is essential to document all expenses and keep detailed records to support your claim.
4. Statute of Limitations
In Oklahoma, there is a two-year statute of limitations for filing a premises liability claim. This means that injured parties must file their claim within two years from the date of the injury. Failing to file within this time frame can result in the loss of the right to pursue compensation.
5. Seeking Legal Assistance
Premises liability cases can be complex and require a thorough understanding of Oklahoma laws. To ensure the best possible outcome for your case, it is crucial to work with an experienced personal injury attorney who specializes in premises liability claims. At Brewster & De Angelis, our team of skilled attorneys is dedicated to holding negligent property owners accountable and helping our clients obtain the compensation they deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation and let us help you navigate the legal process.