Tulsa Premises Liability Attorney
Handling slip and falls, dog bites, and other unsafe property claims in Oklahoma
Every Oklahoma resident has the right to expect that property owners will protect them. Owners and operators owe a duty to people who are legally on their premises to ensure that reasonable steps are taken to protect visitors from falls, from defective equipment, and from other types of dangerous conditions. The duty to protect visitors even extends to taking steps to ensure visitors aren’t attacked while on that person’s property.
At the Biby Law Firm, we understand how unsafe conditions on property can alter your life. We understand that when you go grocery shopping, visit your accountant, stay at a hotel, or just eat at a local restaurant, that you often have your minds on the task at hand– and not every step you are taking. When property owners fail to put your safety first, we work to hold them accountable for the injuries, pain and suffering, medical bills, and lost income they cause you. Contact us to meet with a Tulsa premises liability lawyer about your injuries.
What is the duty of care in Tulsa premises liability cases?
Every property owner owes a duty of care to people who are legally on his or her property. This duty applies to for-profit owners, professional service businesses, nonprofits such as hospitals and service organizations, and charities. The duty also applies to homeowners.
In Tulsa premises liability cases, the duty to protect visitors applies to people who lease property, who occupy property, and who maintain property – in addition to the owners.
The duty to keep premises safe applies to:
- Invitees. These are people the business invites onto the property. Examples include customers who are invited to a shopping mall or retail store. Invitees include people who pay to live in an apartment. There is no requirement that the invitee make a purchase or be on the property to make a purchase. Invitees also include churchgoers, people going to a hospital, or people exploring a museum.
- Licensees. These are people who have permission to be on the property but aren’t there to buy anything or to benefit the owner in any way. A common example is a person who passes through a property by walking on the sidewalk.
- Trespassers. Generally, property owners and possessors do not owe a duty of care to someone who is not legally on their property. There are a few exceptions:
- Property owners can’t wantonly disregard the safety of a trespasser.
- The owner may owe a duty to child trespassers if they create an “attractive nuisance.” An attractive nuisance is a condition that the owner should know will attract a child and also poses an unreasonable risk - provided the child lacked the ability to appreciate the risk. Examples include swimming pools, tree houses, and trampolines.
Generally, property owners must fix any defects they knew of, should have known or a condition that they created. This duty of care varies depending on the status of the visitor. A higher duty of care is owed to an invitee than to a licensee. However, a common defense to these claims is that the danger was “open and obvious.” In other words, that a person should have seen it and that the injured person was negligent for failing to see the condition.
At the Biby Law Firm we have handled premises liability cases from intake all the way through the highest appeals. We understand the complexity of the cases and that gives you an advocate in your corner that will make sure you are properly advised in your case.
Does this duty of care apply to tribal casinos?
Yes, it does. However, the tribes are sovereign nations. This means that a slip and fall claim involving a tribal casino will involve special procedures regarding notifying the tribe of the claim and bringing suit against the tribe. Most frequently, the suit must be brought in the relevant tribal court. The suit will proceed under the laws of the specific tribe where the incident occurred. Most commonly, the law is very similar to the laws of Oklahoma.
Personal injury lawsuit or workers’ compensation?
When you get injured at work, you have the right to claim workers’ compensation. However, not all parties are eligible for this benefit, and some people sustain injuries that are severe enough that a personal injury claim is a better choice. For example, when accidents occur at a construction site, visitors who are not employees have the right to file a premises liability claim against the owners, but employees may need to file for workers’ compensation. We can explain what your best choices are during a free consultation at our Tulsa office.
How can an experienced Tulsa premises liability lawyer help?
A skilled Oklahoma injury lawyer fights for people hurt on the property of another in multiple ways.
- Investigation. We work with investigators who examine the scene of the accident, take photos and videos, and speak with any witnesses.
- The police. We speak with any police or security officers who were contacted.
- Discovery. We question the defendants and witnesses through written interrogatories and oral depositions. We work to ensure that cases are brought against the correct owners and possessors. We seek evidence of prior accidents, work orders, and other conditions – to show the defendants knew or should have known there was a problem that needed fixing. We also inspect all maintenance and repair records.
- Damages. We are in continual contact with your doctors, employers, family, and friends – to show how serious your medical injuries are, the extent of your suffering, and your lost income.
Our team makes every effort to negotiate just settlements when the investigation and discovery phases are complete – and when your medical condition has stabilized. We’re ready to try your case in court if necessary.
What are common premises liability claims in Tulsa?
Common types of premises liability accidents include:
- Slips and falls. These accidents can be due to broken tiles, wet and slippery surfaces, torn carpeting, loose stairways, poor lighting, and other causes. Slips and falls can also be due to falling objects or failing to remove ice and snow.
- Dog bites. Oklahoma law provides that “The owner or owners of any dog shall be liable for damages to the full amount of any damages sustained when his dog, without provocation, bites or injures any person while such person is in or on a place where he has a lawful right to be.”
- Pool injuries. Pool owners have a duty to keep their visitors safe. That could mean installing fencing or a safety ladder, or making sure “do not dive” signs are posted. Because accidental drownings are one of the primary causes of childhood injuries and deaths, it is critical that pool owners keep their pools safe.
- Elevator and escalator accidents. Owners should have professionals inspect these devices on a regular basis and should warn visitors if there are known problems. Moving devices that need repair should be made inoperable, so nobody uses them.
- Falling objects. Construction sites and retail stores often have objects that are moved or stored on shelves or scaffolding. Falling objects can cause traumatic brain injuries and broken bones. If an object falls on you, you can file a premises liability claim.
- Defective stairs and railing. A broken step or a damaged (or missing) handrail can easily lead to a fall. Owners have a duty to keep their stairwells maintained and well-lit, to ensure that visitors are safe.
- Acts of violence. In 2018, Oklahoma ranked 5th in the country for gun deaths. If you are a victim of a crime, you can file a suit. You can also file if you are a victim of someone else’s negligence. For example, if you are injured at a range, on a hunting trip, or because of a rogue bullet coming from someone else’s property, you can make a claim for damages.
Nursing homes can also be held liable if they fail to install railings, clear aisles for walkers, fix torn carpets, or otherwise fail to take steps to protect seniors – especially when the homes know that the elderly have mobility problems.
What damages are common in Oklahoma premises liability cases?
While we cannot know how much a claim is worth until we assess liability and understand the full extent of your injuries and loss, your premises liability claim can seek damages for:
- Medical expenses (Past and Future)
- Lost wages/Impairment of Earning Capacity
- Pain and suffering (Past and Future)
- Property loss
If your loved one dies from the injury, you can seek grief and loss and loss of companionship along with funeral and burial costs as well.
Contact a Tulsa premises liability lawyer today
At Biby Law Firm, we understand that a fall, a dog bite, or an attack may be the first time you ever meet with a lawyer. We understand your pain. Our legal team guides clients through each stage of the claim process. We have a strong track record of success holding property owners liable for the injuries and deaths they cause. To seek compensation for your pain, medical bills, and lost income, call our caring lawyers at 918-574-8458 or fill out our contact form to schedule a free consultation. We proudly serve Green Country, including the communities of Broken Arrow, Bixby, Claremore, Jenks, Sand Springs, Sapulpa, Wagoner, Muskogee, and the surrounding areas.