Premises liability law determines the rights and liabilities that apply when you are injured on someone else’s property. It covers injuries sustained in slip and fall and trip and fall accidents, negligent security, and swimming pool injury or wrongful death claims, as well as injuries that occur on balconies, decks, and stairs.
If you were injured on someone else’s property, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries, including the cost of your past and future medical bills, past and future lost earnings, physical and emotional pain and suffering, and loss of consortium.
The experienced premises liability lawyers at Robenalt Law can evaluate your situation to determine whether you are entitled to compensation, and represent you in a claim to recover money for your injuries.
Ohio Premises Liability Law
Premises liability law is based on the idea that a landowner owes a duty of care to people who come onto their property. The nature and extent of the duty will vary depending on the nature of your relationship with the landowner, and specifically whether you were an invitee, a licensee, or a trespasser.
Invitees are people who are on someone else’s property with the implicit or explicit permission of the landowner or tenant. The landowner or tenant owes the highest duty of care to an invitee and must exercise ordinary care to ensure the safety of the invitee.
Common claims involving invitees arise when someone is at a store and suffers a slip and fall or trip and fall injury. The fall may occur because the business owner failed to take adequate precautions to prevent water from being tracked in or to warn invitees of the presence of tracked in water, or when produce or other grocery items spill on the floor and create a hazardous condition.
An invitee who was injured on someone else’s property can recover compensation for their injuries if the owner or tenant failed to exercise reasonable care in discovering the unsafe condition, failed to correct the dangerous condition, or did not warn invitees about the dangerous condition.
A licensee is someone who is on someone else’s property with implicit or explicit permission for their own benefit or pleasure. If you go to someone else’s home for a party, you are a licensee. The landowner or tenant owes you a duty, but it is less than what would be owed to an invitee.
A landowner or tenant owes a duty of care to a licensee and can be liable if they recklessly or willfully cause harm. The landowner must use ordinary care to avoid harming a licensee and must warn a licensee of hazards the landowner or tenant knows about.
Trespassers are people who come onto someone else’s land without permission. Landowners owe a limited duty of care to trespassers and must refrain from willfully, recklessly, or wantonly causing harm.
Common Types of Premises Liability Claims
Premises liability law applies when you are injured on someone else’s property. Common premises liability claims include:
Slip and Fall and Trip and Fall Injuries
Falls can lead to serious injuries, including fractures, broken bones, back injuries, spinal cord damage, concussions, and traumatic brain injuries (TBI). Slips and trips are commonly caused by wet or icy conditions, inadequate lighting, rugs or mats that do not have non-slip backing, or debris on the floor. When these hidden dangers cause an injury, you may be entitled to compensation.
Negligent Security Claims
Property owners have a duty to keep guests safe. This includes installing appropriate security measures such as adequate lighting, door locks, security gates, surveillance cameras, and security personnel. The adequacy of security measures will often depend on the type and amount of crime that is present in a particular area. If a business owner failed to take adequate precautions to prevent crime and you were a victim, you may have a claim for negligent security.
Swimming Pool Injuries
Many people in Ohio enjoy swimming pools, but they come with a risk. If you are in a pool that is owned by a friend or neighbor, a public pool, or a pool at the gym, you have the right to expect to be safe. If there are dangerous conditions at the pool that result in an injury or a wrongful death, you and your family may be entitled to compensation.
Injuries on Stairs, Balconies, and Decks
People who are injured on stairs, decks, or balconies may be entitled to compensation if the property had rotting, loose, or missing boards or lacked handrails. These hazards are caused by poor maintenance and can result in fall injuries.
When a Property Owner Is Liable for Your Injuries
Premises liability law is complex. Just because you were injured on someone else’s property does not necessarily mean that you are entitled to compensation. If you were injured on someone else’s property, an experienced Ohio premises liability lawyer can advise you on whether you can seek financial recovery for your injuries.
If the landowner or tenant was negligent, you may be entitled to compensation. However, there are exceptions to this rule, particularly if the hazard was “open and obvious” or if you were injured because of a “natural accumulation” of snow or ice.
Ohio’s Open and Obvious Doctrine
Ohio’s open and obvious rule states that people are responsible for being aware of hazards that are “open and obvious.” The doctrine is an objective test, and a judge or jury will decide whether the hazardous condition that caused your injuries was one that you should have discovered through ordinary care. If someone walking around would have noticed the hazard, it will likely be considered open and obvious and could limit your right to compensation.
But there are exceptions to the open and obvious rule. If you were injured on someone else’s property, you should consult with a knowledgeable and experienced premises liability lawyer who can analyze your situation and help you determine whether you may be entitled to compensation.
Natural Accumulation of Snow and Ice
Another example of an exception to the rule that you are entitled to compensation if you were injured on someone else’s property is the “Winter Rule.” Ohio’s winter rule states that property owners and tenants are not responsible for injuries that are caused by a “natural accumulation” of ice or snow. This commonly comes into play when someone is injured in a fall that was caused by icy or snowy conditions.
Under Ohio’s winter rule, a landowner or tenant has no duty to remove natural accumulations of ice or snow because these conditions are open and obvious hazards in Ohio’s climate. However, a landowner or tenant may be liable for injuries caused by an “unnatural” accumulation of ice or snow, such as those that are the result of human intervention and cause ice or snow to accumulate in unexpected ways or places.
But as with Ohio’s open and obvious doctrine, there are exceptions to the winter rule. The landowner or tenant may be liable if he or his agent created or permitted an unnatural accumulation of ice or snow, if the landowner or tenant had notice that a natural accumulation created a condition that is substantially more dangerous than an invitee should have expected, or if there is a statute that requires the landowner or tenant to remove the ice or snow.
Let Our Ohio Premises Liability Lawyers 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
Ohio premises liability law can be complicated. The experienced personal injury lawyers at Robenalt Law can evaluate your situation to determine whether you may be entitled to compensation. We can guide you through the claims process, work to negotiate a favorable resolution to your claim, and pursue your right to financial recovery in court, if necessary.
To learn more about your rights in a premises liability claim, contact Robenalt Law today. We handle premises liability claims on a contingency fee, which means there is no fee unless we win.
Call (216) 233-7535, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or use our online form to schedule a free, confidential consultation to discuss your case.
We represent clients in Cleveland and throughout the State of Ohio.