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  • Writer's pictureRobert Schuerger II

What Is the Slip and Fall Law in Ohio? | Understanding Premises Liability Lawsuits

It is often shocking for many people to learn that slip and fall injuries send more than a million people to the hospital every year. The medical expenses that these accidents cost the state of Ohio must be quite staggering, not to mention the number of personal injury claims that are filed by injured persons.


According to Ohio law, the victim of a slip and fall accident can file a premises liability lawsuit against the property owners of the building in which the accident occurred. This will at least help them to recover damages for medical bills, lost wages, and other losses caused by the accident.


However, winning damages after being injured on someone else's property is not always an easy thing to accomplish. Often, the property owners or the insurance companies will be reluctant to accept responsibility and pay damages to the victim.


It is common for slip-and-fall accidents to be blamed on the victim rather than the property owner, but this should not be the case. With an experienced attorney fighting for their rights, victims can get the compensation they deserve after suffering a slip and fall injury. They can give insight to questions such as What is the open and obvious doctrine in Ohio?


Common Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents

Common Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents


The reason why slip and fall injuries are so common in Ohio is because there are so many ways the accident can happen. When trying to determine liability, a personal injury lawyer needs to assess the situation and uncover what caused the victim to fall in the first place. In many cases, a victim may slip and fall due to the following:

  • Spilled food and liquids

  • Cracks and holes in pavement or sidewalks

  • Pooled water or liquids causing a wet floor

  • Loose handrails or no handrails

  • Recently mopped or waxed floors

  • Poorly maintained stairs, decks, and balconies

  • Loose carpet

  • Poorly lit areas

  • Loose floorboards

  • Uneven surfaces

  • Rugs and mats without non-slip backing

Types of Slip and Fall Injuries


Depending on a variety of factors, the victim of a slip and fall incident may walk away unscratched or suffer serious injuries. The amount of damages that will be awarded depends a lot on the severity of the injuries and the subsequent medical care that will be required.


In most cases, the victim will suffer the following types of injuries:

  • scrapes and bruises

  • Spinal cord injuries

  • Concussions

  • Broken bones

  • Neck and back injuries

  • Joint dislocations

  • traumatic brain injuries (TBI)

  • Muscle, tendon, and ligament sprains and strains

When looking at the types of injuries the victim typically suffers, it is important to understand two things. First, no matter how minor the injuries are, Ohio premises liability law entitles the victim to seek compensatory damages from property owners. This is especially true if the injuries required any form of medical treatment or resulted in loss of income.


The other thing to remember is that while for most healthy adults, slip and fall injuries do not usually have dire consequences, the same cannot be said for the elderly. Even a seemingly minor fall can cause broken bones in an elderly person that will take a very long time to heal. In certain situations, old people may fail to protect themselves and fall in such a way that death is a possibility.


Considering these things, it is important to always seek medical attention after a slip and fall incident. Some injuries, such as those to the head or spinal cord, can easily go unnoticed until it is too late. Victims should let their lawyer help them decide whether or not they have a basis to file a lawsuit against the property owner.


Proving Negligence By the Property Owner in a Slip and Fall Case


Sometimes, victims are too quick to blame themselves after slipping and falling on someone else's property. As such, they may feel embarrassed about the incident and choose not to file a personal injury lawsuit.


However, if the injured person was not at fault, they can recover damages by consulting with an experienced Ohio slip and fall attorney. To prove negligence on the part of the property owner, the slip and fall lawyers will need to prove the following:


Duty

Depending on the relationship between the victim and the property owner, the attorney can prove that the building owners had a duty of care owed to the victims.


A good example is when a person stays at a hotel while traveling. The hotel owners must provide reasonable care to all the guests staying at the hotel, which includes making sure that there are no loose floorboards or rugs that can cause slip-and-fall accidents.


Certain situations, however, may exempt property owners from the duty to provide ordinary care to the victims. An example is when trespassers get injured on someone else's property. The owner's duty in such cases does not extend beyond avoiding willful, wanton, or reckless conduct.


Breach

After it has been established that the property owner has a duty of care, it is necessary to prove that they breached that duty. Sticking with the example from above, this may require providing evidence that the hotel failed to fix the loose floorboards or rugs.


Causation

The next step is for the lawyer to prove that the injuries suffered by the victim were a direct result of the property owner's breach of duty. This is important because the defense may argue that even though there was a loose floorboard in the area, it is not the reason why the victim fell. A direct link between the breach of duty and the slip and fall incident must be established.


Damages

Finally, the slip and fall claim has to be based on actual damages that the victim has suffered. The injured person will likely have to present supporting evidence, such as doctors' reports or letters from their employer.


Statute of Limitations


While Ohio premises liability law entitles the injured person to seek compensation from the property owner, it does not allow them to wait indefinitely before doing so. Slip and fall claims have to be filed before the statute of limitations expires. In Ohio, that means filing the claim within two years from the date the injury occurred.


What to Do in the Aftermath of a Slip and Fall Accident


Most people might look at the Ohio statute of limitations of two years and think they have time to relax before filing their claims, but that is not the case. Considering the steps the victim and their attorney need to take within those two years, the statute of limitations may fly by.


Therefore, it is important that in the aftermath of a slip and fall accident, victims obtain the following:

  • Medical attention

  • Name and address of the property owner

  • Evidence, such as photos of the scene

  • Statements from witnesses

  • Legal advice from a slip-and-fall attorney

Damages Victims Can Win


In an Ohio slip and fall claim, victims can be awarded the following types of damages:


Economic Damages

The calculation for economic damages is the easiest one to do. The slip-and-fall attorney will usually use it to advise the victims on how much compensation they are likely to win. Economic damages do not have a cap as they are based on monetary losses, such as medical bills and lost income.


Non-economic Damages

Non-economic damages are a bit more complicated to estimate. It is usually up to the judge or the jury to decide how much to award the victim for their pain and suffering, loss of consortium, and other examples of non-monetary losses.


There is a cap placed on the non-economic damages based on the severity of the injuries. In cases where the victim did not suffer a serious injury, the non-economic damages are capped at $250,000 or three times the economic damages. These damages cannot exceed $350,000.


When victims suffer severe injuries, however, the cap for the non-economic damages is increased to $500,000.


Punitive Damages

If the property owners are found to be guilty of willfully causing injury to the victim or any other egregious behavior, the judge may decide to award punitive damages to the victim to discourage future incidents. Punitive damages may or may not be capped at two times the compensatory damages.


How Does Comparative Negligence Law Affect Damages?


Since Ohio uses modified comparative negligence laws, the victim may have to accept a share of the blame for the slip and fall accident. This will reduce the amount of compensation they receive according to the percentage of blame the court places on them.


Challenges of Ohio Premises Liability Law


What is the slip and fall law in Ohio? Answering this question is not always easy to do because slip and fall claims are often very different, as is the interpretation of the law.


Ohio slip and fall laws do not mean the property owner is required to address every hazard on their premises. Their liability is based on them knowing about the hazardous condition but failing to do anything about it.


Also, the injured person may be expected to have known about the hazardous condition and taken their own precautions to safeguard themselves, especially in cases where the hazard can be shown to be "open and obvious."


These issues present challenges when filing a slip-and-fall claim, and the victim will have to hire a good lawyer to go against such a defense. They can help with questions like What is the average payout for a slip and fall in Ohio?


A Good Lawyer Can Help With a Slip and Fall Claim

A Good Lawyer Can Help With a Slip and Fall Claim


Ohio slip and fall laws can be difficult to navigate, especially when going against a determined defense team. However, with an experienced lawyer by their side, victims can walk away with huge settlements after getting injured in a slip-and-fall incident. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys is available for a free consultation at its Cincinnati, Ohio law offices.

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