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Category: slip and fall

What is Premises Liability?

Premises liability is a legal theory related to personal injury law governing the responsibility of a property owner to protect the safety of those on his or her premises. Many personal injury cases revolve around the legal concept of “Neglect.” (Learn more about the concept of Neglect in personal injury cases.) Such is the case with premises liability cases. Plaintiffs in premises liability claims must often prove that the property owner neglected their responsibility to maintain the safety of the property, failing to maintain reasonable care in the property’s maintenance.

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Child Injuries at School or Day Care Facilities

When a parent or guardian commits their child to the care a private professional facility like a private school or day care center, there is a legal obligation that that facility takes on to make all reasonable efforts to ensure the child’s safety. However, if a child is injured in the care of a private school or day care facility, it does not mean that a personal injury judgment is automatically warranted. The legal threshold for “reasonable efforts” to ensure a child’s safety is quite fluid and differs from situation to situation and from child to child.

For instance, older children may in fact be trusted with scissors in the creation of a crafts project, while younger children may need more supervision. Likewise, the environment and situation one is challenged with may require even more effort to ensure the child’s safety. Supervising children in a classroom setting may require fewer measures of precaution than doing so on a field trip to an amusement park, where external factors are many and perhaps even unpredictable.

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Skiing and Snowboarding Injuries

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Skiing and snowboarding are popular hobbies across the world. Unfortunately, both activities come with their own inherent risks. As such, many people assume there is little or no cause of action when someone is injured in a ski or snowboarding accident. The fact is, under the legal theory of negligence, many common ski and snowboard accidents fall squarely under the heading of personal injury liability.

Injuries sustained in skiing and snowboarding accidents can run the gamut, ranging from minor bumps and bruises to fractured bones, brain injuries, or even critical harm and death. (A recent CDC study found an increase in traumatic brain and spinal cord injury resulting from skiing and snowboarding accidents nationwide, and children and adolescents were found to be those most affected.)

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Slip and Fall Injuries and Comparative Negligence

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Slipping and falling on something like an icy, wet entryway might appear to be the simplest of personal injury cases from which to recover damages. Proving fault seems rather cut and dry, right?  Wrong. Most often, slip and fall cases are anything but cut and dry. Plaintiffs must go beyond proving that prevailing conditions of the premises in question caused their injuries; they must prove that the property owner 1) caused the dangerous condition  or, if not, 2) was aware of the dangerous condition or 3) should have been aware of the dangerous and took no reasonable steps to address or correct it.

Proving that someone knew of a dangerous can be difficult without an admission by the party or parties.  Proving they should have known about specific conditions may also be equally difficult, because you typically must show that the danger was present for an unreasonable amount of time.

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Slip and Fall: Comparative Negligence

We’ve discussed the various scenarios under which a property owner may be liable for damages in a typical slip and fall case. Basic rule of thumb is that a plaintiff must show that a property owner knew or should have known that their property was unsafe and that they neglected to take reasonable measures to make the property safe. But things are not always so cut and dry in the world of personal injury law.

Often times, a defendant may demonstrate that the plaintiff in their case bore some responsibility for their own injuries. After all, pedestrians have a responsibility to take reasonable care in a situation that is obviously and plainly dangerous. If that does not happen, “Comparative Negligence” may actually come into play.

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