Ohio Slip and Fall Injury Attorney
You may have a case for a Slip and Fall injury if you we hurt while on the property of a business or other individual, and some sort of dangerous condition on the property caused you to trip and fall or otherwise injure yourself. Slip and fall injuries often occur as a result of a wet floor, defective stairs, or a rough patch on the ground.
You do not necessarily have a lawsuit on your hands every time you slip on someone's property and injure yourself. Some objects on the ground are there for a reason or otherwise serve a useful purpose. A property owner is not always held liable for failing to immediately pick up or clean every slippery substance on the ground. There is a doctrine in the law known as the open and obvious doctrine. This means that there are some things on a business's or person's property that even if they do cause you injury, if the thing that caused your injury was out in the open and was obviously there, that you should have been able to avoid it on your own. This circumstance would preclude you from recovering any damages in your slip and fall case.
Status of Person Entering Property
Ohio recognizes the common law categories for persons who enter the land or premises of another as trespasser, licensee, and invitee. Each category has a different standard of care that the landowner or property owner owes to the visitor. Generally, invitees are persons who rightfully come upon the premises of another by invitation, express or implied, for some purpose which is beneficial to the owner. Light v. Ohio Univ., 28 Ohio St.3d 66, 68, 502 N.E.2d 611 (1986). A landowner owes a duty to an invitee to exercise ordinary care for the invitee's safety and protection. A licensee is a person who enters the premises of another by permission or acquiescence, for the entrant's own pleasure or benefit, and not by invitation. Generally, a landowner or property owner owes no duty to a licenseee or trespasser except to refrain from willful, wanton, or reckless conduct which is likely to injure them. Soles v. Ohio Edison Co., 144 Ohio St. 373, 59 N.E.2d 138 (Ohio 1945).
Injuries From a Slip and Fall in a Store
A shopkeeper owes business invitees a duty of ordinary care in maintaining the premises in a reasonably safe condition so that its customer are not unnecessarily and unreasonably exposed to danger. Paschal v. Rite Aid Pharmacy, Inc., 18 Ohio St.3d 203 (1985). In a slip and fall case, to establish that the owner or occupier failed to exercise ordinary care, the invitee must establish that: (1) the owner of the premises or his agent was responsible for the hazard of which the invitee has complained; (2) at least one of such persons had actual knowledge of the hazard and neglected to give adequate notice of its existence or to remove it promptly; or (3) the hazard existed for a sufficient length of time to justify the interference that the failure to warn against it or remove it was attributable to a lack of ordinary care. See Johnson v. Wager Provision Co., 141 Ohio St. 584 (1943); Presley v. Norwood, 36 Ohio St.2d 29, 31 (1973).
Thus, if the property owner or its agent created the hazardous condition which caused the plaintiff's injury, then the plaintiff need not show that the owner had knowledge or notice of the condition at issue. Crane v. Lakewood Hosp., 103 Ohio App.3d 129, 136 (1995). If, however, a plaintiff cannot establish that the owner or its agents created the hazard or possessed actual knowledge of the hazard, evidence showing the length of time during which the hazard existed is necessary to support an inference that the owner had constructive knowledge of the hazard such that the failure to remove or warn of the hazard was a breach of ordinary care. Presley, supra, at 32; Combs v. First Natl. Supermarkets, Inc., 105 Ohio App.3d 27, 30 (1995); Newkirk v. Eavey Quality Foods, Inc. (Sept. 8, 1997), Butler App. No. CA97-01-013. In the absence of proof that the owner or its agents created the hazard, or that the owner or its agents possessed actual or constructive knowledge of the hazard, no liability may attach. Presley, supra.
Columbus, Ohio Premises Liability Attorney
If you have been injured on the property of another, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. You can talk to an attorney about your premises liability case today by calling Harris & Engler at (614) 610-9988. The law firm of Harris & Engler is located in Columbus, Ohio, and its attorneys help clients across greater Central Ohio.