In this blog post, we answer common questions about slip and fall accidents and premises liability in Oklahoma. To learn more about hiring a personal injury lawyer, visit our page here. To learn more about shopkeeper liability for customer injuries, continue reading.
If I get hurt on a business property, must the business pay from my injury?
The answer, generally, is “yes,” unless you were trespassing.
Whether you can recover damages for an injury sustained on another person’s property will depend on several factors, including your status on the property, whether the property owner was aware of the dangerous condition that caused the injury, and whether the dangerous condition was open and obvious the any reasonable person.
Your rights depend on your “status” while on the property. Customers have the most protected status, and are entitled to safer conditions than others, or at the very least, to be warned of unsafe conditions.
The law grants you certain rights and remedies depending on your “status” while on another’s property. In this context, your status relates to why you are on the property and whether the property owner knew, wanted, or allowed you on the property.
In sum, think of it this way: on one extreme, you have a trespasser, someone with no permission to be on the premises. Generally, a landowner has no duty to protect trespassers. On the other extreme, is a customer, someone that not only has permission to be on the premises, but the owner actively wants and solicits customers to be there so they will spend money and profit the business. In the middle of these extremes is someone with permission to be there, but not a customer. In this context, a landowner has the highest duty to the customer, because the owner is inviting the customer to come spend money on the property.
In Oklahoma, a business is only liable if it had knowledge of the dangerous condition on the premises, or, if under the circumstances, it should have been aware of the possibility of a dangerous condition.
The landowner can’t warn you of danger if he himself is unaware of it. However, in some situations, the landowner may be liable whether he knew about the danger or not. Imagine a situation where the owner should know about the possibility for an accident. It’s raining outside, customers are tracking in water. The owner knows from past experiences that his floors can become very slippery very quickly with just a little bit of rain water. A puddle accumulates in a certain area of the store. While the business may not be completely aware that a puddle now exists, should they? If all the facts suggest that this business should have known that the puddle was forming, then they may be liable.
Even if the landowner is aware of the dangerous element on the property, you cannot recover compensation in Oklahoma if the dangerous condition was so Open and Obvious that any reasonable person could have avoided it.
The flip side of this example is whether the customer should have seen the puddle because it was open and obvious. You can’t knowingly cause your own injury and then try to hold someone else responsible for it. Likewise, if you see a puddle of water you should avoid stepping in it so as to avoid slipping, falling and getting hurt. Same goes for any dangerous condition. If you notice a possible hazard, avoid it.
The “open and obvious” defense is the most often utilized defense in slip and fall cases, and for good reason. It is a basic concept that everyone understands.
We help people who are injured in Oklahoma because of shopkeeper negligence.
If you are suffering from an injury that occurred on another’s property, and you believe the injury could have been prevented if the property owner would have posted a warning or removed the dangerous element, we can help you.
It’s just not right to invite persons into a store, gas station, shopping mall and not keep the premises safe or warn the customers about known hazards. I want to help you if you were injured while shopping, whether at a grocery store or warehouse.
Take Action Now to Get Compensation for your Case by contacting Oklahoma City Lawyer Travis Charles Smith.
Contact us today. We take all of our personal injury cases on a contingency basis. We do not charge the client any legal fees unless we win or settle your case, and we advance all the lawsuit fees without any cost to you unless you win!