Premises liability lawsuits are claims that involve an injury to a person while on another person’s property. The most common type of premises liability lawsuits arise from “slip and fall” and “trip and fall” accidents, but there are other types of premises liability claims such as injuries caused by exposed wiring, malfunctioning equipment, and even claims for injuries caused by inadequate security.
What Is Premises Liability Law?
A premises liability claim stems from a business owner’s legal duty to maintain a reasonably safe premises for guests, customers, and others who come onto their property.
Premises liability claims are a type of negligence claim. To prove a premises liability claim, the injured person must prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that:
- The business owner had a duty to the guest, customer, or patron to keep the premises reasonably safe
- The business owner violated that duty
- The person was injured as a result
A business owner has a legal duty to use reasonable care to protect guests from reasonably foreseeable injuries. Depending on the circumstances, it might be reasonable for the business owner to repair the hazardous condition or to warn guests of the danger.
Premises Liability Law Recognizes Different Categories of Guests
Learn how premises liability law affects your rights and how our premises liability attorneys (lawyers) can help. Costs can escalate quickly even in the case of a seemingly minor injury. You may not know until some time goes by what your ultimate physical outcome will be. We are available to evaluate your case in a free initial consultation at our Westlake, Ohio office.
A business owner owes a different duty to different types of guests. Ohio law recognizes three different types of guests and a different duty of care based on the status of the guest.
- An invitee is a person who is on the property at the invitation of the owner. The invitation may be express, such as when a person invites a person onto their property, or implied, such as a store that is open to the public for business. The business owner owes a duty of ordinary care to protect the invitee’s safety.
- A licensee is someone who is on the property with the express or implied permission of the owner but is there for their own benefit. The property owner can be liable for injuries to a licensee if they reckless or willfully caused an injury.
- A trespasser is someone who comes onto the property without the owner’s permission. The property owner owes a limited duty to trespassers and can only be held liable for willfully, recklessly, or wantonly causing harm.
There are additional considerations in a premises liability lawsuit, such as if the injured victim was a child, if there was an attractive nuisance on the property, or if the injured party was a recreational user on non-residential property.
Ohio’s “Open and Obvious” Doctrine
If a person was injured on someone else’s property, but the hazard that caused the injury was “open and obvious,” the property owner will not be liable.
The basis of this legal doctrine is that an open and obvious danger serves as its own warning, and a property owner has a legal right to expect that an invitee will notice the danger and take reasonable steps to protect themselves.
The question of whether a danger is actually “open and obvious” is often unclear, and the best way to determine whether a danger was open and obvious is to consult with the experienced Ohio personal injury attorneys at Robenalt Law.
Natural Accumulations of Snow and Ice
Another common question in Ohio premises liability cases, particularly those that involve falls during cold and icy weather, is whether the hazardous condition was a natural accumulation of ice or snow.
Generally, property owners do not have a duty to warn of hazardous conditions caused by ice and snow. However, a property owner can be held liable if they caused an unnatural accumulation of ice or snow by using gutters, drainage systems, or other structures that cause snow and ice to pool and freeze in an unlikely place.
Robenalt Law: Premises Liability Lawyers Who Fight for You
If you were injured on someone else’s property, you may be entitled to compensation for:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Loss of income
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional trauma
- Loss of consortium
The experienced personal injury lawyers at Robenalt Law are here to help. We will evaluate your situation, guide you through the claims process, work to negotiate a favorable resolution, and, if necessary, pursue your right to financial recovery in court.
We represent clients in Cleveland and throughout the State of Ohio.