Slip & Fall Accidents and Premise Liability

June 20, 2012

Premise Liability

premise liability attorneyFalling down while present at another person’s property is a common cause of personal injury.  This area of the law is referred to as premises liability and is based in common law negligence.  Almost everyone has either themselves experienced a fall, or knows someone who has.  At first thought, especially if you are younger, it’s seemingly unlikely that you would be severely injured by just falling down.  The reality is that you can easily sustain life-altering injuries which may produce years of pain and suffering.

Premises liability occurs when a property owner of a store, public building, rental home, or other place has a defect or object present which causes an unsuspecting visitor to slip and fall down. This can be many things including potholes, torn carpet, a crack in a floor, water or other liquid on the floor, a missing handrail on steps, or other defect which can cause a person to trip or slip.  The condition that causes the fall can even be ice or snow that the premises owner has failed to remove.

Common law negligence is the legal theory which must be satisfied in order to prove that a property owner is liable for something that happened on his premises.  The owner must either have known, or should have reasonably known that the defective condition existed. If the owner subsequently failed to either warn the visitor or repair the condition to make the premises safe, then he/she may be liable for a person’s injuries sustained when they fall because of the defect.  In other words, a plaintiff has to prove that the property owner had a duty to maintain a safe premises, that the owner breached that duty by not warning about the defect or fixing it, and then the visitor/victim has to show they have damages that are caused by the defect.

The potential defendant/property owner may have a defense to your fall if the defect was “open and obvious” and you did not need to be warned about it because of such.  The Ohio Supreme Court has confirmed the use of the open and obvious defense. The Court has maintained that it is a viable defense to liability when the owner or occupier of the property may reasonably expect that persons entering the premises will discover those dangers and take appropriate measures to protect themselves.  In basic terms, this means that you as the visitor may not have a claim if the defect was so obvious that you could have and should have avoided it.

Premises liability is not always easy to prove in court, and requires an experienced premises liability attorney to handle.

If you or anyone you know slips and falls at the property of another, please call Slater & Zurz, LLP at 1-800-297-9191 to make certain that you are adequately represented in order to insure compensation for injuries and other damages sustained during a fall.  You can also send us a blog message to ask any questions that you may have, or schedule an appointment with an experienced attorney.

To learn more about premise liability and other personal injury type issues, please visit slaterzurz.com.

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About slaterzurz

Slater & Zurz LLP is an Ohio law firm of highly experienced and respected attorneys. Over the last 40 years, we have developed a reputation for getting positive results for clients. We've been trusted with handling over 20,000 personal injury cases and our clients have received more than $120,000,000.

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