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How does premises liability law apply in Ohio?

Premises liability law covers injuries suffered or damage sustained on a property due to an owner’s negligence in removing or marking physical dangers. Hazardous conditions created by an owner’s failure to maintain safety may result in serious injury or even death.

The law governing this area is a series of codes and cases in Ohio courts, and understanding them can help avoid or rectify problems related to premises liability.

What businesses are responsible for premises liability?

Injuries suffered on commercial property that is open to the general public or invited guests may warrant legal action. If you walk into a grocery store and trip on mislaid merchandise, the owner may have responsibility for the results.

However, case law includes a ruling that an attack in a grocery store parking lot 30 minutes after it closed for business does not constitute premises liability. If a customer cannot conduct business at a location, it is more difficult to prove liability for injuries.

Who can claim damages after injuries on a premises?

In many cases, liability centers on “invitees” – whether a person was invited to enter an area where injury occurred. Trespassers, including those who were invited inside a house or business and then entered a closet or other area without permission, are generally not included in an owner’s responsibility.

Under the doctrine of attractive nuisance, however, a person may claim damages after injury while rescuing a child from the result of an obvious danger created by or on behalf of the property owner.

What liability laws apply to children?

Children, who are more likely to trespass accidentally than adults, are included in an owner’s liability if they are invitees or accompanied by one. Because they cannot gauge danger like an adult, owners must guard against injury from artificial dangers on their premises.

Open and obvious dangers, like steep drops that are easily seen, are sometimes exceptions. For example, the owner of a property with a 15-foot wall that claimed a child’s life was not liable because the jump was obviously dangerous and should not have been attempted.

Victims of negligent property owners may seek compensation for pain and suffering as well as reimbursement for medical expenses or lost wages during recovery. An experienced attorney may help you discover options and maximize compensation.

Source: Ohio State University Extension Farm Office, “Premises Liability Law,” accessed July 14, 2017


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