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  • Writer's pictureRobert Schuerger II

What Is the Premises Liability Law in Ohio? What Everyone Must Know

Typically, a premises liability lawsuit involves injuries caused by a dangerous condition on a person's property. A US Department of Justice study from 2005 shows that premises liability lawsuits are one of the most common types of personal injury cases juries decide in the United States.

Usually, a premises liability claim is called a slip and fall accident lawsuit, but they're caused by many problems, including:

  • Mechanical hazards (malfunctioning equipment, exposed electrical wires, etc.)

  • Overhead dangers (store inventory stacked high, old branches, etc.)

  • Falling hazards (large drop-offs, holes, etc.)

  • Slipping and tripping hazards (an uneven floor, spilled liquids, etc.)

The Victim's Rights

The Victim's Rights

The Ohio premises liability law says that victims have the right to recover damages for any injuries suffered during a premises liability accident. However, that ability is determined primarily by why the victim was in the place when they got injured. This is because Ohio has an older system in place to determine the duties the property owner owes to others on the property.

Today's article will discuss premises liability and the laws in place. Victims of such injuries should ultimately contact a premises liability lawyer in Cincinnati for help, and Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys goes to war for Cincy!

Ohio Premises Liability Law

As with other personal injury claims, premises liability claims are considered negligence actions.

To prevail and win the lawsuit, one must prove that:

  • The defendant owed the victim a duty of care.

  • The defendant breached the duty of care.

  • The breach itself was the cause of the injuries and damage.

Usually, personal injury lawsuits have a straightforward duty of care. For example, each driver must drive in a safe manner. However, that duty element isn't as simple for premises liability cases. The defendant's duty to the plaintiff depends on why the plaintiff was on the property. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can assist with questions like What is the statute of limitations for premises liability in Ohio?

Primary Statuses

Ohio law recognizes these three primary statuses:

Invitee By the Property Owner

The invitee is someone who legally comes onto the property by invitation of the property owner for some beneficial purpose. For example, a shopper visits the supermarket to get groceries, so they are an invitee of the supermarket.

Overall, the landowner should exercise ordinary care for that invitee's safety. This includes warning of dangers that the invitee wouldn't reasonably expect to see for themselves. For example, a supermarket should exercise ordinary care to find and clear spills in the aisles, warning customers of the spillage until it's cleaned up.

Open and Obvious Danger (Exception)

If the danger is considered "open and obvious," the landowner doesn't have to warn guests of that danger. A danger is called open and obvious when the invitee, trespasser, or licensee could be expected to see and protect themselves from it.

Recreational Users (Exception)

Under the ORC 1533.181, lessees, property owners, and occupants of non-residential premises do not owe a duty of care to recreational users to ensure the premises are safe for use or entry. In this case, a recreational user is considered a person who has permission to be on the premises without payment of fees other than the lease payment to enter the premises to fish, hunt, camp, trap, swim, or hike.

Likewise, this extends to people who might operate an all-purpose vehicle, snowmobile, and four-wheel drive vehicle. Other recreational pursuits are also included here.


The licensee is a person who enters the premises by acquiescence or permission for their own benefit or pleasure. For example, the property owner of a parking lot will permit people to use it for free on Sundays but doesn't encourage the use. Therefore, those using it on Sunday are considered licensees.

Landowners owe the licensee a duty to refrain from wantonly, willfully, or recklessly causing an injury. Therefore, if the landowner knows the licensee is on the land, they must use ordinary care to prevent injury to the licensee, such as warning of any hidden dangers.


Trespassers are those who enter the property without permission or authorization for their own convenience or purposes. Typically, the property owner owes the same duties to the trespasser as they would to a licensee.

Attractive Nuisance (Exception)

The Ohio courts now recognize the attractive nuisance doctrine and have since 2001. This was designed to offer a trespassing child more protection than adult trespassers. Overall, the doctrine applies if a trespassing child gets hurt by artificial conditions on the land and:

  • The landowner knows or should be aware that those conditions would pose an unreasonable risk of serious injury or death to the trespassing child.

  • The condition is in a place where the landowner believes or knows children are likely to be on the premises.

  • The landowner doesn't exercise reasonable care to eliminate the issue and protect the children.

  • The maintenance of the condition or the burden to eliminate it are slight compared to the child's risk.

  • The children never discovered the condition or knew the risk it posed because of their youthfulness.

For example, a property owner has a swimming pool that is unattended, not maintained, and unprotected. A child drowns in it while watching the frogs living in the pool. The court could find that the property owner had a duty of care to the child.

Confusion and Challenges

Ultimately, Ohio premises liability cases are complicated, and this is a challenging area of personal injury law. Therefore, aspects that might be taken for granted in other contexts are subjected to technical and arcane rules.

Statute of Limitations for Personal Injury Lawsuits

Ohio has a statute of limitations of just two years for personal injury claims, which include slip and fall situations. Therefore, victims must file the claim in that time period to have the court consider it.

Why Work with a Lawyer

Why Work with a Lawyer

After being injured on someone else's property, it's crucial to file a premises liability claim, but it's difficult to do it alone. In fact, premises liability attorneys are often the best solution because they will work with the insurance company and fight for their client's legal rights. They can also help with questions such as how does permanent partial disability work in Ohio?

Contact Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys Today!

It's crucial for the injured party to hold property owners responsible for injuries and damage. However, premises liability isn't as easy as other personal injury claims.

If one is hurt on someone else's property, it's wise to hire Ohio premises liability attorneys to assist. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys is here to help! Please fill out the online form or call for a free consultation.


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