What Is an Open and Obvious Hazard in a Slip and Fall?

slippery area signage

Say, for instance, that you slip and fall as a welcome visitor on a property owner’s premises. Well, to recover financial compensation for your injuries and damages, you may place a slip and fall accident claim against the negligent property owner. However, in your claim proceedings, the defendant may claim that the hazard you encountered on their property was an open and obvious one. Further, they may argue that they should not be responsible for your encounter with it and your subsequent accident. Follow along to find out what constitutes an open and obvious hazard and how one of the proficient Howard County slip and fall accident attorneys at Lloyd J. Eisenberg & Associates can help take on your claim.

What are examples of an open and obvious hazard in a slip and fall accident case?

In its simplest terms, an open and obvious hazard is considered a hazard on a property that a reasonable individual would identify as dangerous and therefore protect themselves against. Examples may include, but may not be limited to, the following:

  • A property owner may have an open ditch on their premises, but it was relatively blocked off by caution tape.
  • A property owner may have a dog tied to a tree on their premises, but it was relatively restrained by the leash.
  • A property owner may have lawn equipment and tools on their premises, but they are relatively observable by their large size.
  • A property owner may have sports equipment on their walkways, but they are relatively visible by dim lighting.
  • A property owner may have a dip or bump on their walkways, but it may be relatively noticeable by contrasting paint colors.

What response can I take to this defense?

Rest assured, there are two main exceptions to the defendant’s claim of an open and obvious hazard; you may be able to point these exceptions out in your response. For one, there is what is known as negligence per se. This law holds that you do not need to prove how a reasonable individual would have acted in your situation. Rather, it holds that the defendant must be automatically deemed negligent.

Secondly, there is the distraction exception. This allows you to claim that you were too distracted to notice the open and obvious hazard in question. This is not to mention the supplemental evidence that you must also submit to solidify your case (i.e., photos of the hazard, security camera footage of your accident, witness testimonies, medical documents and bills, etc).

In the end, the first step you must take in your slip and fall accident claim is to retain the services of a talented Howard County personal injury attorney. So call us at Lloyd J. Eisenberg & Associates today.

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