When you trip and fall, it may seem like a straightforward premises liability case. However, when the defendant claims the hazard was “open and obvious,” it can inhibit your ability to recover compensation. As such, it’s imperative to understand how to proceed if injured in order to recover the funds you deserve for the damages you’ve suffered. If you are injured, a Tom Green County, Texas personal injury attorney can examine the circumstances of your case to fight for compensation. The following blog explores more about these unique situations.
What Constitutes an “Open and Obvious” Hazard?
In most instances, a property owner has a duty to ensure their property is safe and free of hazards for visitors and others permitted to be on their property. However, a property owner may claim the hazard that led to an injury was “open and obvious” to evade liability for the damages. Generally, if there is something that is clearly dangerous, it can be the responsibility of the injured party to avoid the hazard. Examples include, but are not limited to:
- A visibly wet floor
- Tree roots
- Large planters
- Ladders in aisles at a store
- Expansive potholes
It’s important to understand that property owners do not have liability to protect trespassers from injury. It is essential to understand that children are generally not considered trespassers, as they have special protections under the law. As such, if an uninvited child is injured on someone’s property, the owner can face liability.
What Should I Do if I’m Injured?
If you are injured, it’s imperative to contact an experienced personal injury attorney to fight the open and obvious defense the negligent party may use. Though it may not seem possible, there are ways a lawyer can help dispel these claims.
For example, your attorney may be able to prove negligence per se. This essentially helps protect the public from harm, as it shows that reasonable individuals would have acted in the way the injured party did. For example, if the handrail in your apartment building breaks, the fact that it’s missing is open and obvious. However, if you still need to exit your apartment building and that is the only way downstairs, you may have no other option but to walk down, where you ultimately slip and fall.
Additionally, you may be able to use a distraction defense, which, as the name suggests, showcases the fact that there was a distraction that prevented you from noticing an open and obvious hazard.
At the Mathis Law Firm, we understand the complexities of slip and fall cases in Texas. Our team is committed to examining the circumstances of your injury to help prove the negligent party is responsible for the damages you’ve endured. Contact us today to learn how we can fight for you.