When you slip and fall on someone else’s property, it may seem like a simple case. However, when the property owner tries to claim that the hazard was “open and obvious,” this can impact your ability to recover compensation. As such, it’s critical to understand what you must do if this reflects your circumstances. The following blog explores what this means, how it will affect your ability to file a suit, and why you need a Houston premises liability lawyer to assist you during these complex times.
What Makes a Hazard “Open and Obvious?”
When you slip, trip, or fall, it’s possible that the property owner will likely try to claim that the hazard was open and obvious to try to avoid liability for the damages you’ve endured. Generally, if the court determines that a reasonable person would have seen and evaded the hazard to prevent the injury, then it can be deemed obvious. However, it’s essential to understand that this must be viewed at the time of the accident rather than in retrospect.
How Can This Impact My Ability to Recover Compensation?
If it’s determined that the hazard was open and obvious at the time of the injury, it can severely impact your ability to recover compensation. This is because it is your responsibility as an adult to understand the risks involved and avoid them. As such, even if the property owner has a duty to you, they may not be held liable.
For example, if you are walking on a hotel walkway with a large planter lining the side of the path, and you walk into it and become injured, the property owner would likely not be held liable as the hazard is open and obvious to any reasonable adult. If you were looking at your phone or otherwise not paying attention, the property owner may not face liability for your negligence in these circumstances.
What Should I Do if I’m Facing These Circumstances?
If you are facing an injury due to a hazard the property owner is trying to claim was open and obvious, it’s necessary to understand that contacting an experienced attorney as soon as possible is in your best interest to recover the compensation you deserve for the damages you’re enduring. Your attorney may be able to help prove that the hazard was not open and obvious but that the risk was not clear or pronounced.
Additionally, your attorney may be able to prove negligence per se. Essentially, this means that despite the obvious nature of the hazard, the property owner still violated laws in place to keep the general public safe.
As you can see, this common defense to avoid responsibility can severely impact your claim. That’s why it’s in your best interest to recover the compensation you deserve for the injuries you’ve endured due to the negligence of another person. At the Gonzalez legal group, we understand the stress this can put on your life, so we’re committed to helping you during these complex times. Contact our team today to discover how we can help you fight for justice.