Property Conditions that Are Open and Obvious Can Affect Premises Liability Claims

Certain factors can have a negative or positive impact on a premises liability case for the plaintiff or the defendant. It is important to understand these elements in order to avoid them or make sure they are included in the claim. An attorney can help you understand what is essential and how to apply it in your claim.

What is obvious and what is not?

There are many ways to hold the controller or property owner responsible for any injury. Certain states state that guests should not be notified or required to immediately remove a hazard or danger if it is obvious. Notifying guests, invited persons and trespassers about a danger must be done only if it is hidden or concealed from view.

Owners and controllers who fail to recognize obvious hazards may be exempted from liability. They could also be exempted from the responsibility of paying damages for injuries caused by the issue.

Premises Liability: Open and Obvious Dangers

A property visitor is typically one of the following types: a guest for a short time, someone invited to stay for a temporary or permanent time or a trespasser. The duty of care provided to each is often slightly different with various levels of protection to ensure that no harm befalls the person. If the danger is obvious and open, it is not necessary to warn — individuals can easily see and comprehend the problem and what to do about it. The courts will not hold the controller or property owner responsible if the victim is injured by an obvious and open problem.

The Classification of a Victim

There may be additional exceptions depending on the state. However, generally speaking, there are three victims to premises liability claims. These victims are an invited guest, a trespasser or the invited person. Each person has a different duty of care, but they are usually the same if the property is managed by a tenant who is also a business owner. Because the controller or owner has given permission, the invited person is usually liable for a higher degree of care. While they are guests, guests have a limited duty of care. Trespassers are not usually liable for any harm, but it is important to remove known dangers from the premises that are hidden or could cause harm.

The Property’s Dangerous Condition

The property controller or owner has certain responsibilities depending on the dangerous condition. The property owner does not have to take action if the danger is visible and easily accessible. If the danger is hidden, hard to spot, or invisible, the property owner will need to notify others or quarantine it until it is removed. With reasonable precautions, some hazards can be removed in a short time.

The Impact of Open and Obvious Dangerous Conditions

A court can declare that there is an obvious and open danger, which can exonerate the controller or property owner. If the problem is obvious, the plaintiff assumes responsibility for the risk. The property owner can be completely removed from responsibility if they are aware of the risk and allow access to the premises. These situations can lead to psychological problems, emotional trauma and bodily injury. If the guest or invitee becomes aware of the problem or specific aspects of the property, they will assume the responsibility. If there are dangers or scary elements that could frighten others, or issues that could traumatize someone, this can be removed from accountability.

In many cases, the plaintiff may have contributed to or caused the injury. The court will look at the facts of the case as well as any reasonable understanding that others are in danger. These exceptions are usually limited to minors and those who cannot understand or become aware of the danger.

Open and Obvious Legal Support for Premises Liability Claims

It is more difficult to bring a claim for premises liability when there are obvious and open factors that could lead to the danger than for other types of liability. It is important to hire a lawyer in these cases to help prove the case and/or negotiate settlements.

Updated 12/2/21