Most premises liability cases in Ohio are brought under the law of negligence. And a personal injury victim must prove four elements to establish negligence: duty, breach, damages, and causation. Below, our Ohio personal injury attorney takes a closer look at each.
A property owner in Ohio owes visitors a duty to keep the property reasonably safe. However, the full extent of their duty depends on why the injured victim was on the property in the first place.
If you were a customer in a business, for example, then the property owner must fix any hazards on the property that they know about or should know about. But if you were trespassing on the property, the duty only requires that property owners refrain from willfully or recklessly injuring you unless you were a child drawn to the property by an attractive nuisance (like a swimming pool).
As attorneys, we can establish a duty by showing why you were on the property using your own testimony. However, if you were asked to leave the property, you could have become a trespasser, so we might need to rebut that argument if the defendant makes it.
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A property owner “breaches” its duty when it fails to fulfill its duty of care. For example, a pharmacy owes a duty to its customers to fix any hazards it knows about or should know. Imagine that someone spilled a cup of water in an aisle and staff either ignored it or never checked the aisle for hours. In this example, the failure to clean up a spill it should have known about is a breach of its duty.
Your attorney can establish a breach by reconstructing what happened leading up to the slip and fall. We can use witness testimony, surveillance video, and other evidence to show how long the hazard existed, who created it and whether the property owner knew about it.
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Damages are financial and non-financial losses suffered because of the fall. If all you did was tweak your funny bone in the fall, for example, you don’t have damages. However, any injury that requires medical care will qualify. We can prove damages by looking at medical bills, drug receipts, pay stubs, and other evidence.
Finally, we need to establish a connection between the defendant’s breach of its duty and your damages. Sometimes, this connection is obvious. If you slipped on ice that a store owner didn’t remove from the sidewalk and fractured your skull, there is a direct connection. However, someone who suffers a heart attack before slipping and falling cannot prove a connection.
Your attorneys will probably use medical records to show how your injuries were caused by a hard impact with the floor or ground. Sometimes, a victim’s own testimony of “I heard a pop in my back as I fell” is enough to link the breach to their injury.
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The legal team at Growth & Associates has represented many slip and fall victims. Whether you were injured in a business, a public building, or after being invited into someone’s home, you might have a legal claim. Give us a call to schedule a free meeting.