Property owners in Ohio have a duty to protect visitors to their property from hazards that could cause them injuries. If you are shopping in a mall, eating in a restaurant, or enjoying a neighbor’s pool party, you should not have to worry that you will encounter a hazard that will cause you injuries. While you should always be aware of your surroundings and avoid obvious dangers, there are potentially harmful conditions that could trip you up unexpectedly and cause serious injuries. When this happens, you will need a Cincinnati premises liability attorney to hold the property owner responsible for compensating you.
Hidden Dangers That Can Cause Serious Injuries
We’ve all seen those yellow cones warning of slippery floors in the grocery store, but what if there is no warning? You may encounter one of the following hazards in a variety of public and private places:
- Slippery surfaces
- Wet floors
- Spilled liquid
- Broken stairs
- Loose floorboards
- Uneven ground or cracked sidewalks
- Torn carpeting
- Inadequate lighting
- Fallen objects
Falls and injuries resulting from these hazards can occur in private homes, apartment complexes, office buildings, supermarkets, restaurants, stores, parking lots, and just about anywhere we go. These kinds of accidents fall under an area of the law called premises liability.
Premises Liability in Ohio
In general, to win a premises liability claim, you must prove the following:
- The property owner owed you a duty of care.
- He or she breached that duty.
- You were injured or suffered losses.
- The breach of duty was the direct cause of your losses.
A key element to an Ohio premises liability claim—and one that a judge will examine carefully to determine your right to compensation—is the first point above. Whether the property owner owed you a duty of care is determined by how you came to be on the property in the first place. In other words, which of the following legal statuses applies to you?
- Invitee. If you were invited on to the property (for example, as a guest in a private home), or your purpose in being there is a benefit to the property owner (for example, shopping in a grocery store), you are considered an invitee and the owner owes you a duty of care.
- Licensee. If you enter someone’s property with the owner’s permission or acquiescence, but for your own pleasure or benefit (for example, as a salesperson), the owner only owes you the duty to refrain from willfully, wantonly, or recklessly causing injury. This is a lower burden than that for an invitee.
- Trespasser. If you have entered the property without permission or authorization, the owner does not owe you a duty of care in most cases. One exception is for children who are injured by an artificial condition, such as an unprotected swimming pool, that the owner should have known would attract and be a danger to a child.
While slip and falls are the most common kind of premises liability claim, they are not the only way you can be injured on someone else’s property. Other premises liability claims include dog bites, drownings, criminal assault, structural collapse, and objects falling from shelves.
You Will Need an Attorney to Represent You
Premises liability claims are not easy cases to win. In most cases, you will be taking on a business owner with his own team of attorneys who have strategies in place for denying your claim. At the Cincinnati Law Office of Shane Smith, however, our attorneys also have proven strategies for investigating and supporting your claim. If you were injured in a slip and fall, dog bite, or other accident anywhere in Ohio, call us for a free review of your case. If we think you have a claim for compensation, we will take your case and you won’t pay us a dime until we win. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by calling us today!