Many individuals have either experienced a slip and fall injury at a place of business (a wet floor at a supermarket, for example) or know of someone who has. These injuries can be quite serious and severe. For example, depending on several factors, the following catastrophic injuries may result from a slip and fall:
- Traumatic brain injuries;
- Spinal cord injuries;
- Neck and back injuries;
- Broken bones, such as a broken hip; and/or
- Other serious harm.
These same injuries can result from any slip-and-fall accident, though, not just those that occur on commercial property. For example, a person might just as easily slip on an icy walkway while visiting a friend or attending a party. Do the same legal obligations apply to the owners of residential property as do to the owners of commercial properties?
Basic Obligations of Property Owners
Regardless of whether a property owner owns residential or commercial (or even industrial) properties, the basic duties of that property owner are the same if the property owner is opening his or her property to others for business or personal reasons:
- The property owner must carry out reasonable inspections of the property designed to uncover hazardous conditions or dangerous obstacles that threaten the safety of guests.
- Once a dangerous condition is discovered, the property owner must take reasonable measures to correct the hazard so as to render the property safe for others.
- Alternatively or in addition, the property owner may take measures to warn others on the property of the dangerous condition (such as by erecting a temporary fence or barrier).
The Obligations as Applied to Homeowners
Homeowners, though, generally do not have the resources that businesses do. For example, homeowners rarely have employees who are present on the grounds for several hours each day who can quickly identify a hazard. The key question in these cases is, “What is reasonable to expect from the average homeowner?” If a condition is obvious and located in a well-traveled part of the homeowner’s property, then a homeowner may find it difficult to explain why he or she did not notice and correct the hazard.
Moreover, the status of the injured party is more important in cases where the property owner is a homeowner. Individuals who trespass, that is, who are present on the homeowner’s property without permission or justification, may find it difficult to recover compensation for their injuries even if the cause of their slip and fall was readily apparent and easily correctable.
Contact O’Keeffe O’Brien Lyson Attorneys Today for Help Moving Beyond Your Slip and Fall Accident
Tim O’Keeffe and Tatum O’Brien of O’Keeffe O’Brien Lyson Attorneys are your slip and fall injury attorneys and are ready to help you protect and assert your legal rights. They will work to secure you compensation regardless of whether you were injured in a slip and fall accident at the store or at a neighbor’s home. Contact Mr. O’Keeffe and Ms. O’Brien today, or call 701-235-8000 or 877-235-8002.