Some basics on premises liability claims

Have you seen the news about the hillside collapse on Baum Street here in Cincinnati? It happened a few weeks ago. According to reports, a retaining wall gave way one early morning. Rubble and soil cascaded into two homes, forcing their residents to evacuate. No one was injured, but the company responsible for that wall is under court order to get things shored up and stable.

That no one was hurt is a stroke of good fortune. Such is not always the case. Negligence on the part of a property owner or someone contracted to do work on that property can create unsafe conditions that result in people suffering injury, even death. When that happens, victims need to know they have a right to seek compensation for the damage and injury suffered.

The core theory of premises liability

Some states have laws on the books that spell out what obligations property owners or residents of property face to ensure that areas are properly maintained and safe. Ohio's tenets in this regard are based on common law. That is, the standards that apply are ones that have been developed by courts over time. Regardless of the basis, however, common threads exist. One of those threads has to do with the common standard of care.

The expectation under this standard is that property owners will exercise "reasonable care" to ensure the safety of most visitors to the property. About the only time the standard might not apply is if the individual is a trespasser.

However, even then, if conditions on the property are such that they could be hazardous, then owners are expected to give clear and adequate warning. Lacking that, even if a person is uninvited, liability for injury could exist.

Obviously, the circumstances of any given case will vary and whether they are such that a victim has a premises liability claim is something an experienced attorney can help assess.

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