Premises liability claims for compensation in Rhode Island and Massachusetts are based on the legal concept that injuries or damages were caused by a hazard or unsafe condition on another’s property. Most claims and lawsuits filed under premises liability laws are based on negligence. The personal injury attorney in RI, working on behalf of the client, must prove how the owner or holder of the property was negligent in the property’s design, maintenance, upkeep or security at the time of the accident.
Personal injury in RI
Usually, a case for financial compensation will claim there was a failure to use reasonable care with some aspect of the premises. Simply being injured on public or private property does not necessarily mean that the owners or others were negligent. The victim’s personal injury attorney must prove that the person in charge of the property knew, or should have reasonably known, that the premises was in a dangerous or unsafe condition,yet failed to take the necessary action required to remedy the problem.
Filing a Rhode Island premises liability claim
The most common premises liability claims filed by reputable RI and MA personal injury attorneys involve:
- Slip and fall injuries involving wet floors, oily surfaces, broken thresholds and loose floorboards
• Lack of maintenance
• Accidents caused by accumulated snow and ice
• Falls on a defective staircase
• Defective condition that led to the injury
• Injuries caused by escalators and elevators
• Burns and destruction of property caused by fire
• Dog bites and attacks
• Electrocution from exposed wire
- Flooding caused by natural forces, plugged sewer pipes and broken water lines
- • Exposure to toxic chemicals or fumes
• Amusement park accident
• Drowning in a public or private pool
• Inadequate security of the premises that led to assault, sexual assault or injury (More information)
Less common premises liability claims considered by Slepkow Slepkow & Associates Inc.
- “The defendant in that case permitted her adult son, who was mentally ill, to live with her and to maintain an arsenal of weapons in her basement. Id. at 702-03. After the defendant’s son shot and killed her neighbor (who was trimming his shrubbery) with one of the weapons that she allowed him to keep on her premises, id. at 703, this Court declared that the defendant owed a duty to exercise reasonable care in controlling her son as to prevent the type of harm inflicted on the victim” Quote from Monica OUCH, as Beneficiary of Heang Say, deceased et al. v. Khan KHEA see Volpe v. Gallagher, 821 A.2d 699 (R.I.2003)
- Duty to protect against criminal acts of third parties– “This Court previously has addressed a defendant’s duty to exercise reasonable care in protecting the plaintiff from third-party criminal conduct. We held that “a landlord does not have a duty, in the absence of special circumstances * * *, to protect his or her tenants from criminal conduct by a third party.” Thanadabouth v. Kongmany, 712 A.2d 879, 880 (R.I.1998) (mem.). In that case, we declined to impose a duty of care on the defendant landlords to provide outdoor lighting to protect the plaintiff tenants from third-party criminal acts, even though the dwelling was located in a high-crime area. Id. at 879-80.” quote from Ouch v Khea
- Social host liability- serving minors alcohol at a party – “In that case, the defendant hosted a graduation party for her daughter, and the plaintiff guest was attacked by a third party armed with a baseball bat. Id. at 914. We held that, because the defendant provided alcohol to the underage party-goers, including the plaintiff, there was a special relationship between the parties and the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty to exercise reasonable care under the circumstances to protect the plaintiff from violence at the hands of the attendees-whether invited guests or party crashers. Id. at 915-16. Furthermore, we declared that the legal duty in that case was in line with this state’s strong public policy against underage drinking, as illustrated by the General Assembly’s prohibition against alcohol consumption by persons under twenty-one years of age. Id. at 916.” Martin v. Marciano, 871 A.2d 911, 915 (R.I.2005) Quote from Ouch v Khea
A Duty of Care in RI
Many people are wondering, if someone is injured on your property are you liable? In order to be liable a Court must conclude that the alleged tortfeasor owed a duty of due care to the victim and that such duty was breached. The Court must establish that the injuries were caused by the breach of duty. If someone falls on your property are you liable? By law, property owners and property holders in Rhode Island and Providence Plantations have a legal duty to exercise reasonable care to ensure the safety of others. This includes maintaining the premises and repairing any problem that could lead to an accident with injuries or damages. Those in charge of the property can be found civilly liable for financial recompense if any invitee (a welcomed visitor) or licensee (someone on the premises with implied permission) suffers damages, harm or injury. In most cases, injured trespassers are not owed a duty of care unless the individual is a child.
“To prevail on a claim of negligence, ‘a plaintiff must establish a legally cognizable duty owed by a defendant to a plaintiff, a breach of that duty, proximate causation between the conduct and the resulting injury, and the actual loss or damage.” Selwyn v. Ward, 879 A.2d 882, 886 (R.I.2005) (quoting Mills v. State Sales, Inc., 824 A.2d 461, 467-68 (R.I.2003)).
Premises liability claims in RI and Mass. are often filed against individuals in charge of residential and commercial properties and or the owner of the property including retail establishments, apartment complexes, office buildings, homes and others. Financial compensation is usually obtained through the homeowner’s insurance policy or liability coverage purchased and maintained by commercial enterprises. Some cases involve multiple defendants where the property owner, leasing management, tenants or others can be held legally responsible to pay the victim for their damages, losses and injuries.
In Rhode Island, how do Courts determine if there is a duty of due care owed?
“Instead, the court will employ an ad hoc approach that “turns on the particular facts and circumstances of a given case,” Benaski, 899 A.2d at 502, taking into consideration “ ‘all relevant factors, including the relationship between the parties, the scope and burden of the obligation to be imposed upon the defendant, public policy considerations,’ * * * and the ‘foreseeability of harm to the plaintiff.’ ” Selwyn, 879 A.2d at 887 (quoting Martin, 871 A.2d at 915).’ Ouch v Khea
Many people are asking the following questions:
- What is premises liability insurance coverage?
- Are you liable if someone falls on your property?
- Are you liable if a trespasser gets hurt on your property?
- Can someone sue you for falling on your property?
The laws concerning premises liability are complex and litigation is often challenging. Because of that, many victims will hire a reputable Providence or Boston personal injury attorney who specializes in premises liability cases. The RI slip and fall lawyer or Rhode Island slip and fall attorney will build a case for compensation by evaluating the total cost of losses and damages suffered by the victim that might include:
- Common Injuries– Many victims filing a premises liability claim suffer from broken bones, lacerations, contusions, concussions, bruises and scrapes.
- Serious Injuries– In some cases, the victim suffers a serious injury that causes long-term or irreparable damage, or a temporary disability that requires extensive healthcare to heal completely.
- Catastrophic Injuries– Some premises liability claims for compensation are based on catastrophic injuries suffered by the victims. Sadly some of these accidents are fatal leading to a wrongful death lawsuit. These include animal attacks, amusement park accidents or gas explosions that disfigure, disable or kill the victim. Surviving victims of catastrophic injuries often require extensive ongoing treatments, procedures and surgeries because of a brain injury, spinal cord trauma or burns.
There are usually specific factors limiting a victim’s eligibility to file a claim based on premises liability laws. However, skilled Providence personal injury attorneys who specialize in these types of cases can investigate the claim, assess the evidence and provide various legal options on how to proceed.