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What Does “Open and Obvious” Mean in a Slip and Fall Case?

What Does “Open and Obvious” Mean in a Slip and Fall Case?

By | Slip and Fall Accident | No Comments

If you have suffered an injury in a slip and fall accident caused by a hazardous condition on someone else’s property, it may seem like a cut and dried case of premises liability. Further, it would seem that you would quickly be awarded damages or offered a settlement for your injuries. However, the property owner’s defense attorney will not see it that way, and he may attempt to use the “open and obvious” rule as a defense for his client.

What is the Open and Obvious Rule?

The “open and obvious” rule is an exception to premises liability law that can be used for the defense of a property owner to explain why he or she shouldn’t be held responsible for injuries that resulted from a fall.

Determining whether the open and obvious rule will apply to your case is a question that only an experienced premises liability attorney can answer. Premises liability law is often complicated and hiring a lawyer who is familiar with it is always in your best interest.

What is Considered “Open and Obvious” in the State of Florida?

Generally speaking, property owners have a responsibility to the people who visit their property to keep the area safe, without dangerous or hazardous conditions that could lead to injury. However, according to the open and obvious rule, they may not be liable for their visitors’ injuries when there is a clearly dangerous condition. In other words, visitors are expected to exercise discretion when they come across an obvious danger that is in plain sight.

Some examples of hazards that have been deemed by the courts to be open and obvious are:

Planters that are six feet in diameter

A sidewalk curb

A ladder on the selling floor of a store

Uneven concrete where there were no obstructions to the person’s view

Brick border around a tree

Raised joints where asphalt met concrete in a parking lot

How is the “Open and Obvious” Rule Treated in Florida?

There are numerous ways that the open and obvious rule can be used as a defense for property owners, but it doesn’t always end in their favor. To get a better understanding of how it works, here is an actual example from Florida courts.

In a case in which the plaintiff tripped over some exposed computer cables and fell, no obstacles were blocking her view of the cables and no previous incidents involving similar circumstances ever occurred. When you consider the facts, it is clearly apparent that the cables presented an obvious hazard for tripping.

Nonetheless, the court found that, although the cables qualified as an “open and obvious” condition and discharged the duty to warn, it did not discharge the property owner’s duty to maintain the property in a reasonably safe condition. In conclusion, the plaintiff still had a valid claim even though the danger was glaringly obvious.

Learn More about “Open and Obvious” from Premises Liability Lawyer, Joe Osborne

If you or a loved one has been injured in a slip and fall accident, the property owner may attempt to use the open and obvious rule as a defense. It is important that you contact Boca’s slip and fall accident attorney, Joe Osborne for help proving that the dangerous condition was not open and obvious. Contact his office today at (561) 293-2600 to have your case reviewed.

How Does Comparative Negligence Affect My Slip and Fall Case?

How Does Comparative Negligence Affect My Slip and Fall Case?

By | Accident, Slip and Fall Accident | No Comments

If you have suffered injuries as a result of a slip and fall accident in Florida, you may wonder if you have a personal injury case from which you can recover damages. Slip and fall cases, which are considered premises liability cases, involve negligence on the part of the property owner (or manager) where you fell. They assert that the owner or manager didn’t take the reasonable precautions to make the area safe for those passing through.

For example, there may have been a danger on the property, like a wet floor, and the owner or manager of the property didn’t clean it up or place a “wet floor” sign to warn about the danger. The failure to do one of those things may result in you falling and being injured.

The property owner’s failure to take reasonable precautions is considered negligence, and you may have a valid slip and fall claim. However, it’s possible that the property owner will argue that you had fault in the accident. If it is determined that you did have some fault in the accident, it’s referred to as comparative negligence.

Understanding Comparative Negligence in Slip and Fall Accidents

It is the responsibility of the defendant to establish comparative negligence. That means that the property owner must prove that you did not demonstrate reasonable care or that you behaved in a dangerous manner, and that your behavior was at least partially responsible for the injuries that you suffered.

How does this affect your slip and fall accident case? If the defendant is able to prove that comparative negligence exists, then your settlement or recovery in a trial may be much less than if the defendant was found completely responsible for your injuries.

How Do Defendants Establish Comparative Negligence in Slip and Fall Cases?

Typically, the property owner will attempt to prove that you were acting in an irresponsible manner or doing something that you shouldn’t have been doing to establish that you are partly responsible for the accident and your injuries.

Some of the common arguments that defendants in slip and fall accident cases will use to establish comparative negligence are:

You were not paying sufficient attention when your accident happened

You were somewhere on the property that you shouldn’t have been

You did not pay attention to warnings about the dangerous condition

You didn’t have appropriate footwear, or your footwear caused the accident

The dangerous condition was clearly visible

If Comparative Negligence is Proven, What Does It Mean for You?

If your slip and fall accident case goes to trial, the court has to determine who is responsible for the accident and how much responsibility they have. If it’s found that you and the defendant share responsibility, then your compensation will be adjusted based on the percentage of fault you are determined to have.

Get Help from a Slip and Fall Accident Lawyer

Defendants and their attorneys will commonly try to prove that the injured person was at fault in slip and fall cases. That is why it is important that you seek the help of a slip and fall accident attorney if you or a loved one is injured on someone else’s property.

Florida slip and fall lawyer, Joe Osborne, can help you with your case, and fight for you if comparative negligence is alleged against you. Contact him at (561) 293-2600, for an evaluation of your slip and fall case and help with how to proceed.