Were you visiting a friend when you took a spill and got injured? Shopping for groceries when you tripped over loose products? After you are injured on someone else’s property, you need to consider filing a premises liability claim to seek fair compensation.
To remove the legwork from your claim as well as the stress, come to The Gatti Law Firm. We proudly offer our representation to people throughout Oregon. Our multiple office locations in the state mean we are never too far from you to help with legal concerns after a premises liability accident.
Contact our Oregon premises liability lawyers today to start your claim.
Hazards That Cause Premise Liability Accidents
In any home, business, or public space that you enter, there may be hazards that put you at risk of being in a serious accident. While you should always be careful to spot and avoid hazards, homeowners, landowners, and property managers have the inherent responsibility to protect you from such dangers, too. Failing to take appropriate steps to remove unreasonable hazards from their properties and ensure the safety of guests, clients, and customers could make a party liable for any injuries that happen on their property.
A few common examples of premises liability dangers are:
- Slip and fall hazards: Lifted carpeting, slick tiles, uncleaned puddles or dirt, missing handrails, and more are all commonplace hazards that put people at significant risks of slipping and falling.
- Structural defects: Dangerous structural defects in a building or on a piece of property can contribute to a devastating accident. For example, a poorly assembled deck may collapse when its owner hosts a party with many guests.
- Attractive nuisance: Property that invites young children to investigate or play on it despite its dangers is known as an attractive nuisance. The most common attractive nuisance is a swimming pool in a private backyard, which must be appropriately gated off to stop wandering children from entering it and put themselves at risk of drowning.
- Negligent security: Places of business and residential complexes owe it to guests, customers, and tenants to protect them from predictable criminal activity. A lack of appropriate security measures can be grounds for a premises liability lawsuit.
- Uncontrolled animals: Aggressive dogs that attack welcome guests can make their owner liable for any harm they cause. Oregon’s “one bite rule” may excuse the owner the first time their dog bites someone if they had no reason to suspect their dog would be dangerous, though.
Determining the Severity of a Hazard
A foundation of a premises liability claim is whether or not the property owner could have taken steps to correct the hazard had they been more responsible. If the property owner reasonably did not know about the hazard, then they might not be found liable for any related accident. When no appropriate effort is made to discover and/or correct hazards, the property owner’s liability will likely increase.
Consider these similar examples for a clearer picture:
- Example 1: When shopping at a grocery store, a customer spills juice on the ground and walks away quickly. Only a moment later, you step around the corner of the juice aisle, slip on the spill, and get hurt. The grocery store would likely not be liable for your injuries since they did not have a reasonable amount of time to learn about the spill, warn customers, and mop it up.
- Example 2: An angry customer spills a latte at the door of a coffee shop while yelling at the manager. After they storm out, the manager and other employees chat about the encounter with other customers. A few minutes later, you walk through the front door, slip on the spill, and get injured. The coffee shop would likely be liable for your injuries since employees there clearly knew about the spill but made no appropriate effort to clean it up and stop people from stepping in it. Since the spill was directly in the path of customers, it would be reasonable to expect the employees to react immediately.
Can You Sue as an Injured Trespasser?
One unusual question that sometimes comes up during premises liability claims is whether or not a trespasser has the right to file a claim. Some states strictly do not allow trespassers to sue property owners for injuries they suffer while trespassing. Oregon has a bit of gray area in the law, though.
If you regularly trespass on someone’s property to the point that you can reasonably assume you are welcome to do so, then you might still be protected under typical premises liability laws. For example, if you walk to and from work each day and use a stranger’s backyard as a shortcut, and they see and wave at you each time you do, then you should be able to assume that there will be no dangerous hazards along that path.
Typically, though, it is an uphill battle to pursue a premises liability claim if you were hurt somewhere you should not have been. You should certainly consult with an attorney to determine your legal options.
Need Legal Answers? We’re Here to Help!
The Gatti Law Firm is dedicated to making your premises liability claim as simple and stress-free as can be. We are happy to use our knowledge and decades of total legal experience to the benefits of our clients, who come to our law firm from all corners of Oregon. Whether you live in Salem, Eugene, Hillsboro, Lake Oswego, or elsewhere, we want to be the legal team you trust when you need support and counsel more than ever before. With us managing your claim, you can pursue medical costs, lost wages, emotional damages, and more with confidence!
Ready to start your claim? We are, too. Call (503) 543-1114.