- Steiden Law Offices
- Premises Liability
If you are invited onto another person's property, that person owes you duty to discover unreasonably dangerous conditions on the land and to either correct them or at least warn you of the danger. If you are hurt while on the property, then the landowner might be liable for your damages if the landowner fails to live up to that duty.
The most common examples of premises liability cases in Kentucky involve a serious injury after a "slip and fall" accident. Other accidents can occur when an object falls on you or knocks you to the ground. The landowner will often argue that the dangerous condition was "open and obvious" in order to avoid being held liable for the full extent of your damages. The job of your premises liability attorney is to maximize your settlement by showing why you didn't know about the danger or couldn't avoid the injury given the circumstances.
Attorney for Premises Liability Cases in Kentucky
The premises liability attorneys in Northern Kentucky at Steiden Law Offices can help you determine whether the landowner took reasonable steps to eliminate the risk to properly fulfilled its duty of reasonable care. If a property owner breached its duty causing you injury, then call us to discuss the case in Covington, Florence, or the surrounding areas.
We represent individuals in different types of premises liability cases, including slip and fall cases in Northern Kentucky. We can help you bring a lawsuit against area businesses including a hotel, restaurant, office or store. Our premises liability attorneys can help you gather evidence showing that the landowner should have know that a person invited onto the property might be injured by a dangerous condition on the property or by an attractive nuisance.
If such an injury is foreseeable and the landowner has not made reasonable efforts to correct the problem that caused your damages, then a lawsuit can be brought to show that the breached his general duty of reasonable care. Contact our premises liability attorneys in Northern Kentucky with offices in Florence and Covington, KY. Call to discuss your case today with experienced personal injury attorneys.
Kentucky's "Open and Obvious" Doctrine of Premises Liability
The open and obvious doctrine of premises liability was modified in a 2010 decision by the Kentucky Supreme Court. In Kentucky River Medical Center v. McIntosh, 319 S.W.3d 385 (Ky. 2010), the court recognized that the modification was necessary because of Kentucky's adoption of a comparative fault tort scheme.
In these cases, the extent of foreseeable risk at the time of the defendant's alleged negligence depends on the specific facts of the case. The extent of the risk is not assessed for a category of cases because small changes in the facts of the case can lead to a dramatic shift in how much risk is foreseeable. Instead, the courts in Kentucky typically leave such determinations to the trier of fact unless no reasonable person could differ on the matter. For this reason, the "foreseeability of the risk of harm" is normally a question left to a jury.
In these cases, the court will examine each element of negligence in order to determine the legitimacy of the claim. But the question of foreseeability and its relation to the unreasonableness of the risk of harm is a factual determination and not a legal determination. The court will examine the defendant's conduct in terms of whether its conduct breached its duty to exercise the care required by the landowner instead of in terms of whether it had a ‘duty’ to take particular actions.
Comparative Fault in Premises Liability Cases in Kentucky
In a premises liability case, the landowner has a duty to take reasonable steps to eliminate unreasonably dangerous conditions on its land. The question in these cases is whether the landowner breached that duty even when the conditions are open and obvious or hidden and the landowner failed to take reasonable steps to eliminate the risks created by the conditions.
It is important to remember that the landowner is not excused from his own reasonable obligations just because a plaintiff has failed to a degree, however slight, in looking out for his own safety.
Under Kentucky law, the responsibility to pay money damages in a premises liability case is determined based on the principles of comparative fault. As one court explained the concept:
The open-and-obvious nature of a hazard is, under comparative fault, no more than a circumstance that the trier of fact can consider in assessing the fault of any party, plaintiff or defendant. Under the right circumstances, the plaintiffs conduct in the face of an open-and-obvious hazard may be so clearly the only fault of his injury that summary judgment could be warranted against him, for example when a situation cannot be corrected by any means or when it is beyond dispute that the landowner had done all that was reasonable. Applying comparative fault to open-and-obvious cases does not restrict the ability of the court to exercise sound judgment in these cases any more than in any other kind of tort case.
Carter v. Bullitt Host, LLC, 471 S.W.3d 288 (Ky. 2015)
Reductions in Recovery for the Invitee's Negligence
Under Kentucky's comparative negligence standard, an invitee's negligence does not foreclose recovery, but it might reduce it. The landowner will argue that the situation cannot be corrected by any means or that the landowner has done all that was reasonable under the circumstances.
Businesses and landowners owe their visitors a duty of care to maintain its premises in a safe condition. Generally, the question of whether the standard of care is met depends on the facts of the case. This inquiry is based on common sense and conduct acceptable to the particular community.
To find an open-and-obvious condition, the danger must be known or obvious. The danger is "known" when the plaintiff is aware of the existence of the condition or activity itself and also appreciates the danger it involves. The condition is obvious when the condition and the risk are apparent to and would be recognized by a reasonable person. The reasonable person determined by looking at the position of the visitor who is exercising ordinary perception, intelligence, and judgment.
Finding a Premises Liability Lawyer in Northern Kentucky
Contact an attorney at Steiden Law Offices to learn more about premises liability claims, comparative negligence, and how the other side might argue that the danger was open-and-obvious in an attempt to reduce the money you are entitled to collect. If you suffered personal injuries on another person’s property because of their negligence in maintaining that property then contact an experienced personal injury attorney experienced in premises liability cases.
We help clients bring a personal injury action against a retail store or another type of business after a serious injury occurs on their property. With offices in Florence and Covington, our offices are conveniently located to help you find justice for any case in Northern Kentucky.
This article was last updated on Thursday, October 5, 2017.