Copyright © 2020 Charles E. Boyk Law Offices, LLC. All rights reserved. Reproduced with Permission.
People who are injured while visiting another’s property have varying rights depending on several factors. Ohio premises liability law examines not just the facts that led to the injury, but also why the visitor was on the land to begin with.
In some situations, a visitor may have no rights except under extreme circumstances. In others, a landowner may have to protect a visitor from all known potential hazards. Fostoria premises liability lawyers help people to understand their rights as visitors. Contact a skilled personal injury attorney who can help you pursue damages for injuries caused by a landowner’s negligence.
Most premises liability cases are the result of a temporary hazard. Icy steps during the winter, wet walkways in poor weather, or liquid spills in aisles are all common hazards that can result in a slip and fall. In many of these situations, the plaintiff needs to show that the defendant made no effort to warn them about the hazard prior to injury.
Other claims arise out of structural defects. Broken stairs, faulty hand railings, and even a lack of proper security measures are all problems with the property at its core that can result in injury. Proving cases like these can be highly dependent on whether the landowner had prior knowledge of the problem. This is why Fostoria premises liability lawyers recommend that frequent property visitors with these issues keep a record of all communications sent to the landowner outlining the details.
Whenever an Ohio court considers a premises liability lawsuit, the first question they ask is, “Why was the injured person on the land?” Ohio has three categories of people who all carry their own rights as visitors. The individuals least protected are trespassers. These are individuals who enter onto land without the owner’s permission. If these people are injured on the land, and the owner did not know they were there, they cannot sue the owner under any circumstances.
Licensees are people given an invitation onto private property that is not usually open to the public. A landowner needs to warn the visitor about any hazards that the owner knows about and that the visitor is unlikely to discover on their own.
Invitees are given the most protection. Landowners must repair any dangerous conditions and must warn visitors about any known hazards. The landowner does not need to have prior knowledge of the hazard for a licensee to claim damages. They have a duty to know the status of their land at all times.
After a visitor’s status is determined, attorneys can begin to analyze the facts of the case. This is especially important in premises liability cases since each category of visitor carries their own burdens of proof that must be met to prevail. An invitee needs to show that the injury occurred on the defendant’s land and that the defendant made no effort to fix the hazard.
To prove these claims, a Fostoria premises liability lawyer must properly investigate the property’s records prior to the incident, as well as obtain records of the defendant’s communications to determine if the landowner had prior knowledge of the hazardous condition. The same may be said for plaintiffs who are licensees. Since a key question in these situations is whether the landowner knew of the hazard, proper discovery practice is essential.
Premises liability claims can be more complicated than they first appear. Potential plaintiffs need to consider not just how they were injured, but what the owner knew before the accident, and why they were on the land in the first place. Fostoria premises liability attorneys can help by keeping this information organized and applying the correct theories under Ohio law to pursue damages.
Once a well-worded demand package is sent to the defendant’s insurance company, many defendants are eager to settle without going to court. People should also keep in mind that there is a strict time limit to file a claim of two years from the date of the accident, so it is important to contact today.
Charles E. Boyk Law Offices, LLC