Premises liability is a concept of legal theory referring to accidents, incidences and events caused by a condition occurring on another’s property. Usually, the accident involves injuries and damages caused by accumulated snow and ice, improper maintenance, a defect in construction, obstructions, foreign objects, broken stairways, slippery floors or property defect. If you were injured in a slip and fall accident in RI, contact a a Rhode Island slip and fall lawyer.
By law, a property owner or property holder in Rhode Island can be held legally responsible to pay for personal injuries and damages suffered by a victim that was using the property or visiting. Many, but not all, premises liability cases involve slip and fall accidents. However, nearly all premises liability cases involve allegations of negligence.
Rhode Island slip and fall lawyer
Many victims injured on another’s property will hire a personal injury attorney because of the complexities of filing and resolving a claim for compensation involving premises liability. This is because pursuing financial recovery is extensive and requires a comprehensive understanding of Rhode Island tort law and the ability to negotiate with claims adjusters or present a case at trial. The most common Rhode Island premises liability cases handled by personal injury attorneys involve:
- Slip and falls occurring because of accumulated snow and ice
- Injuries from slippery surfaces in retail establishments and grocery stores
- swimming pool drowning or accident
- Animal attack or dog bite
- Porch railing failure or porch collapse
- Stairway collapse or defective stairs
- Smoke or fire injury
- Deck or balcony defect
- Building or floor collapse
- Serious injuries caused by uneven surfaces
- Insufficient lighting
- Lack of security leading to physical assault or sexual assault
- Injury caused by water leakage, flooding or spills
- Fallen merchandise
- Building code violation
- Improper building construction
- Defective building design
- Unmarked stairways or stair steps
Who is legally liable for a personal injury involving premises liability?
Usually, in Rhode Island, the property owner has a legal responsibility for any injury occurring through negligent maintenance of the premises. However, many business tenants lease the commercial property from the owner who might not have any or all control of the premises. When that occurs, the business tenant usually has a legal responsibility to keep the maintenance on the property.
However, many slip and fall accidents occur on residential properties that might be owned by a landlord and rented by the tenant. Other situations might include contractors working on the property who share in liability if they played a part in the accident that caused injuries. In most cases, homeowners, property owners and commercial tenants will maintain liability insurance that provides coverage for slip and fall and premises liability claims.
“Premises liability” is defined in Black’s Law Dictionary 1199 (7th ed. 1999) as “[a] landowner’s or landowner’s tort liability for conditions or activities on the premises. “Premises liability law in Rhode Island “imposes an affirmative duty upon owners and possessors of property: `to exercise reasonable care for the safety of persons reasonably expected to be on the premises . . . includ[ing] and obligation to protect against the risks of a dangerous condition existing on the premises, provided the landowner knows of, or by the exercise of reasonable care would have discovered, the dangerous condition.'” Kurczy v. St. Joseph Veterans Ass’n, Inc., 820 A.2d 929, 935 (R.I. 2003) (quoting Tancrelle v. Friendly Ice Cream Corp., 756 A.2d 744, 752 (R.I. 2000)). FARAH PAUL,v.STATE OF RHODE ISLAND AND PROVIDENCE PLANTATIONS, alias. C.A. No. PC 06-0287 Superior Court of Rhode Island, PROVIDENCE, SC. Filed – August 10, 2010. DECISION STERN, J.
Because most premises liability cases are based on a condition, proving an individual or entity is at fault requires a demonstration of how those in charge knew, or should have reasonably known, that the condition existed. As an example, premises liability attorney working on behalf of their client must prove that workers or management knew that the spilled liquids on a grocery store floor and yet took no action to remedy the problem before the victim slipped and suffered injuries.
Protecting your rights is essential after being injured in a slip and fall incident. It is crucial to use an experienced Rhode Island personal injury attorney or RI slip and fall lawyer with an understanding of complex regulations and Rhode Island tort and liability law. In many incidences, immediate notice to the property owner, insurance companies and claims adjusters is required to ensure your rights are preserved.
You should contact a Rhode Island Personal injury lawyer or a Rhode Island slip and fall attorney to obtain an initial opinion as to whether or not there was comparative fault involved. David has been practicing for 18 years and is licensed in Rhode Island, Massachusetts and the United States Supreme Court.
Walking on ice and snow areas in Rhode Island and Massachusetts can result in a slip and fall accident. These premises liability accidents often cause broken / fractured bones and long recovery time. Slip and fall accidents in RI and MA in winter weather often happen outside of business stores and in parking lots. In most areas of the United States, town and city officials as well as private property owners have a responsibility to keep city sidewalks reasonably safe during winter weather. If that doesn’t happen and you are injured by falling on accumulated ice and snow, you may be able to receive compensation for your injuries.
Who is liable for a slip and fall
Property owners may include municipalities, the State of Rhode Island, The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, private home owners, or a private company. Someone who is in charge of managing the area may also be liable, including whoever has responsibility for removing snow and ice. In addition to property owners, the public has a duty to take reasonable care when waking in a snowy or icy area.
The outcome of a slip and fall case that goes to a jury trial in Providence Superior Court may depend on whether the the owners or others responsible to take care of the premises acted reasonably to protect those legitimately on the premises. The answer to that question often goes to the jury. If you are judged to be contributing to the accident by being careless, you can lose the lawsuit or have your compensation substantially reduced.
Rhode Island has adopted pure comparative fault. This means that if a customer, shopper or visitor falls on ice or snow as a result of their own negligence, their recovery may be reduced by the amount of fault on their part. For example, if someone was web surfing or texting while walking on an icy, slippery parking lot and topples to the ground and that person is found to be 60 percent at fault, they would get 40 percent of their damages from the negligent tortfeasor. Under the same scenario in Massachusetts, the pedestrian who is 69 percent at fault, as a result of their distracted walking and failure to use due care would get nothing. Massachusetts has modified comparative fault. This means that if someone is more than 50 percent at fault they are not entitled to any recovery.
Rhode Island slip and fall attorney
If you fall in an ice or snow area, get medical help right away- even if you think your injury is slight. Often, these types of injuries are not readily apparent. Take reasonable caution and get yourself checked out in the emergency room or doctor’s office. It is also a good idea – if possible – to take a picture of the snow or ice area. If not, it may be possible to return to the site for a picture or have someone else do it.
After checking for injuries, your next move should be a call to a Rhode Island personal injury lawyer or a MA slip and fall attorney who has experience in ice and snow negligence cases. An experienced RI premises liability lawyer or Providence slip and fall lawyer knows the rules concerning these types of accidents in your state or area. The RI injury attorney knows how to protect your legal rights. To avoid a slip and fall on ice or snow, be especially careful when walking in such places. If despite your reasonable care, a fall occurs and you are injured, call a personal injury lawyer in Rhode Island or Massachusetts for the help you want and need.
Article by Rhode Island slip and fall lawyer, David Slepkow.
Slip and fall statistics and resources:
- “Fall fatalities are nearly equally divided between men and women. However, more women will experience a slip-and-fall accident. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, falls accounted for 5% of the job-related fatalities for women compared to 11% for men….Falls account for over 8 million hospital emergency room visits, representing the leading cause of visits (21.3%). Slips and falls account for over 1 million visits, or 12% of total falls….Fractures are the most serious consequences of falls and occur in 5% of all people who fall.” National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI) “slip, trip, and fall prevention experts” https://nfsi.org/nfsi-research/quick-facts/
Slip-and-fall injuries are common in businesses with high volume traffic such as restaurants or bars. The floor of a business is often the least attended component of business operations, especially when they are operating on a minimal staff. Even when mats or signs are provided at the door in restaurants and bars in Rhode island and Massachusetts during times of inclement weather, floors can still become messy and neglected quickly. The conditions that create a slip-and-fall injury that were caused by a customer are still the responsibility of the business operator and possibly the property owner. But, these cases are anything but automatic liability premises liability claims. Therefore an injured victim should retain a RI slip and fall lawyer.
Litigating premises liability Negligence claims using a RI Slip and Fall Lawyer
Just as with any other civil lawsuit, it is the responsibility of the plaintiff legal representative (RI slip and fall lawyer) to prove that an injury occurred to their client. Furthermore, the RI Slip and Fall lawyer must also prove that the injury was the result of the respondent’s failure to provide a reasonable duty of care regarding the safety of the plaintiff. For restaurants and bars, just as any other business, that includes a reasonable duty of care to the customers as well as the employees. It is reasonable to assume that some level of negligence has occurred when both tasks are met by the plaintiff Rhode Island personal injury attorney.
Comparative Negligence of the Plaintiff
Any personal injury legal claims will include all parties being assessed for involvement in the accident. The injured plaintiff will initially be evaluated based on the material case facts regarding comparative fault by their own actions. An experienced slip and fall attorney in Rhode Island will help in keeping this percentage as low as possible. Even when it is apparent that the RI accident was the fault of the restaurant owner, some level of comparative fault may be assigned. Rhode Island and Massachusetts are comparative fault state And, in some states they have pure contributory legal doctrine, which means that even a rating of 1% can eliminate legal standing for a injury claim. This is why you need a good slip-and-fall lawyer.
RI Comparative Fault personal injury and wrongful death laws:
RI has pure comparative fault. A fall victim who is determined to be greater than 50 % at fault for a slip and fall in RI may obtain damages and compensation such as pain and suffering, disability, lost wages, medical and surgical bills and permanency. If a slip and fall victim is 94 percent at fault for a fall down at a supermarket, then the victim may collect six percent of his or her damages as a result of the mishap.
§ 9-20-4 Comparative negligence. – In all actions hereafter brought for personal injuries, or where personal injuries have resulted in death, or for injury to property, the fact that the person injured, or the owner of the property or person having control over the property, may not have been in the exercise of due care shall not bar a recovery, but damages shall be diminished by the finder of fact in proportion to the amount of negligence attributable to the person injured, or the owner of the property or the person having control over the property. § 9-20-4 Comparative negligence, http://www.rhodeislandpersonalinjuryattorneyblog.com/2010/09/compartive-negligence-ri/
Commonwealth of MA Comparative Fault Laws:
Massachusetts lawmakers have enacted a modified comparative fault law. G.L. c 231 Section 85 Modified comparative fault in Massachusetts is different from “pure” comparative fault in RI. In Mass., if a seriously injured victim is more than fifty percent at fault for a slip and fall in MA then the injured claimant has no right to recover against the negligent party.
Depending on the state of occurrence, the amount of financial recovery an injured plaintiff may receive is based on their comparative negligence percentage. However, in egregious cases of gross negligence, punitive damages can also be awarded by a sympathetic jury when a claim goes to a full trial. In addition, slip and fall accidents that occur in locations where a restaurant or bar entry door connects to a city street can also be problematic.
Slip and fall accidents causing serious injuries are very serious maters. Slip and fall causes of action in Rhode Island fall under the larger ambit of what RI personal injury attorneys call “premises liability” claims. Insurance and indemnity corporations are notorious for refusing to settle slip and fall and trip and fall causes of action until the injured victim hires a top Rhode Island slip and fall attorney to “go to the mat”, so to speak , against the non compliant and greedy liability company.
Rhode Island slip and fall
A top slip and fall lawyer in East Providence or a RI slip and fall attorney in Providence will give the injured victim the leverage they need against big insurance and their deleterious injury claim settlement practices. In fact, these deleterious and illegal tactics are often the fodder for bad faith litigation claims against the insurance company. Bad faith could include failure to undertake a reasonable and proper investigation, low-ball settlement claims practices, failure to make a reasonable offer when liability and coverage is clear.
Why do insurance companies refuse to pay slip and fall causes of action in RI?
They hope that local Rhode Island personal injury lawyers will be unwilling to put the time and resources to litigate the claim on behalf of the injured victim. Insurance companies are well known for denying and delaying paying legitimate slip and fall claims. They are also notorious for hardball rambo litigation tactics and nefarious , ill advised and illegal claims tactics. For more information about big insurance’s deny, delay and litigate claims tactics visit here.
The National Safety Council stated “Falls are the second-leading cause of unintentional death in homes and communities, resulting in more than 25,000 fatalities in 2009. The risk of falling, and fall-related problems, rises with age and is a serious issue in homes and communities.” http://www.nsc.org/NSCDocuments_Advocacy/Fact%20Sheets/Slips-Trips-and-Falls.pdf
Ramp, walkway and floor falls causing serious injury | RI slip and fall attorney
Slips and falls in Rhode Island could occur on uneven surfaces, ramps, walkways, floors and pavement. Slip and fall often occur in bars, nightclubs, malls, places of work, church, retail stores, sidewalks, garages, and residential homes There are also numerous slip and fall accidents at big box stores, grocery stores, hotels/ motels and resorts, private residential homes, small businesses, apartment building and apartment complexes, multi family homes, condominiums/ lofts (condos) restaurants, markets, work, commercial buildings and rental homes
Fall at a store in RI | RI slip and fall attorney
In an important premises liability case in Rhode Island, the top Court in the ocean State weighed in on the duty of landowners and others to provide a safe environment to visitors on their property. A top RI slip and fall attorney has carefully read and analyzed all pertinent Rhode Island case law, regulations, building codes and safety standards to provide the best legal representation possible. The Rhode Island Supreme Court sitting in the Capital City of Providence in HABERSHAW v. MICHAELS STORES, INC. 42 A.3d 1273 (2012), determined that “It also is well settled in our jurisprudence that there is an affirmative duty on owners and possessors of property: “to exercise reasonable care for the safety of persons reasonably expected to be on the premises * * * includ[ing] an obligation to protect against the risks of a dangerous condition existing on the premises, provided the landowner knows of, or by the exercise of reasonable care would have discovered, the dangerous condition.” Kurczy v. St. Joseph Veterans Association, Inc., 820 A.2d 929, 935 (R.I.2003) (quoting Tancrelle v. Friendly Ice Cream Corp., 756 A.2d 744, 752 (R.I. 2000)); accord Virginia MEAD et al. v. PAPA RAZZI RESTAURANT et al.No. 2002-648-Appeal.Decided: January 9, 2004 , 840 A.2d 1103, 1107 (R.I.2004).”
The causes of slip and falls in Rhode Island and Massachusetts (MA) include: tripping on an uneven walkway or other surface, spills of liquids such as water, juice, oil, beer, wine or other liquids. Snow and ice is also a very significant cause of slip and falls in Rhode Island and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. In some instances a fall is caused by unsuitable shoes, sneakers or other footwear, flip flops, loafers or high heels. Some falls result from overly polished and slippery surfaces which do not provide proper and appropriate traction. Other falls result from improper footwear. A trip and fall in RI and MA is usually caused by a victim falling as a result of object on the floor or tripping on an obstructions. There are dozens perhaps hundreds of hazards which could cause a slip and fall in Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. If you were injured in a premises liability accident or incident in Rhode island, contact a RI slip and fall attorney to get you the justice you are entitled to. A RI slip and fall attorney will fight the insurance company and litigate the claim zealously to get you the compensation you are entitled to.
An owner of property needs to make sure that there are not hazardous conditions on their property and all building codes and laws are complied with.
In Virginia MEAD et al. v. PAPA RAZZI RESTAURANT et al. No. 2002-648-Appeal. Decided: January 9, 2004 the Top Court in Rhode Island determined the applicable standard of care: “to exercise reasonable care for the safety of persons reasonably expected to be on the premises, and that duty includes an obligation to protect against the risks of a dangerous condition existing on the premises, provided the landowner knows of, or by the exercise of reasonable care would have discovered, the dangerous condition.” Tancrelle v. Friendly Ice Cream Corp., 756 A.2d 744, 752 (R.I.2000) (citing Cutroneo v. F.W. Woolworth Co., 112 R.I. 696, 698, 315 A.2d 56, 58 (1974)); see also Kurczy, 820 A.2d at 935.
What types on injuries result from a slip and fall?
According to Jones Wilson Injury lawyer, the most common types of injuries resulting from falls include:
- Pulled muscles and stretched tendons. …
- Sprained and broken wrists and ankles. …
- Fractured clavicles. …
- Tailbone bruises or fractures. …
- Spinal cord injuries. …
- Head and brain injuries. http://www.joneswilson.com/faqs/staggering-injuries-six-common-slip-and-fall-effects.cfm
Fracture injury and falls in RI and MA | RI slip and fall attorney
“Fractures are the most serious consequences of falls and occur in 5% of all people who fall. Slips and falls do not constitute a primary cause of fatal occupational injuries, but represent the primary cause of lost days from work. Slips and falls are the leading cause of workers’ compensation claims and are the leading cause of occupational injury for people aged 55 years and older. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), floors and flooring materials contribute directly to more than 2 million fall injuries each year. Half of all accidental deaths in the home are caused by a fall. Most fall injuries in the home happen at ground level, not from an elevation. Of all fractures from falls, hip fractures are the most serious and lead to the greatest health problems and number of deaths. The following statistics describe the slip-and-fall crisis affecting our nation’s elderly.Each year in the United States, one of every three persons over the age of 65 will experience a fall. Half of which are repeat fallers. According to the CDC In 2005, more than 15,000 people over the age of 65 died as a result of a fall. Up from 7,700 a decade earlier. The CDC also reports that approximately 1.8 million people over the age of 65 were treated in an emergency room as a result of a fall.” https://nfsi.org/nfsi-research/quick-facts/
Has the Top Court in Rhode Island examined what it means that a landowner knew or should have have discovered a dangerous condition on his or her land?
The best Rhode Island slip and fall lawyers and attorneys have carefully analyzed the Mead v Papa Razzi case. If a RI slip and fall attorney is unaware of this case and uninformed then an injured victim should look elsewhere to retain a top Rhode island personal injury lawyer. In MEAD v. PAPA RAZZI RESTAURANT the highest tribunal in the Ocean state determined that “Utilizing that standard, this Court has recognized instances in which injured plaintiffs failed to satisfy the burden of proving a business owner’s negligence because of a lack of evidence demonstrating how long a dangerous condition existed, or whether the owner knew or should have known of its existence. See Massart v. Toys R Us, Inc., 708 A.2d 187, 189 (R.I.1998) (per curiam) (Court affirmed judgment in favor of toy store because of lack of evidence showing that employees knew of fallen basketball hoop in aisle before girl was injured); see also Barone, 767 A.2d at 68 (retail store properly granted judgment in slip-and-fall case in which the plaintiff presented no evidence of the nature and extent of the alleged puddle of water at the site of her fall and no proof concerning length of time alleged condition was present); Gleason v. Almac’s, Inc., 103 R.I. 40, 42, 234 A.2d 350, 351 (1967) (trial justice improperly denied judgment in defendant’s favor because there was insufficient evidence that store had notice of roll of film on floor and no testimony about store policy on maintaining a safe condition for customers).”
The winter months can be especially difficult on pedestrians who often face dangerous conditions and slippery surfaces while walking on busy streets and in crowded urban environments. This is especially true when the property owner, manager and others in charge of the premises failed to maintain the sidewalks to ensure all accumulated ice and snow removal. Unfortunately, many pedestrians suffer serious injuries from slip and fall accidents that could have been prevented. If injured in a winter weather mishap in RI then contact a Rhode Island slip and fall attorney.
After a snowfall or ice storm in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, the business owner, property owner and others in charge of the premises have a legal responsibility to remove the snow and maintain the area by using ash, sand or salt. In addition, those in charge must also monitor the area on a continuing basis to ensure that any dangerous condition is dealt with immediately, such as melting snow that develops into ice and produces a slippery surface.
If you were injured in a slip and fall in Providence or in RI contact a Rhode Island slip and fall attorney who is also a RI personal Injury lawyer. A Rhode Island slip and fall attorney or Providence premises liability lawyers can help you get the compensation you deserve.
Any failure to clear away sidewalks, walkways and parking lots within a reasonable amount of time can be considered negligence under the law. Not only should the accumulated precipitation be shoveled away after the storm, the management or ownership must do an adequate job to ensure that the melting and refreezing of snow and ice does not create dangerous patches of invisible black ice. This is because the worst injuries caused by accumulated snow and ice in RI and MA typically occurs within the few days following the storm.
Factors in Premises Liability Cases in Rhode Island and Massachusetts
The most common factors involved in a majority of premises liability slip and fall cases in RI and Mass. involve:
• Failing to adequately clear away accumulated ice and snow from steps and walkways;
• Failing to cover dangerous walking areas with sand or salt;
• Failing to remove hardened icicles and other hard objects overhead;
• Negligently piling accumulated snow to create a dangerous hazard;
• Allowing accumulated puddles of melting snow to freeze entryways and walkways;
• Failing to ensure that walkways, sidewalks, steps and other areas provide a safe passage for disabled individuals within a reasonable amount of time after the storm has passed.
Property owners and others in charge of the premises can be held legally liable even if the dangerous area was shoveled after the storm passed if the area remains hazardous. In addition, abutting property owners can also be found legally liable if their removal efforts created a dangerous situation on another’s property.
Avoiding Preventable Pedestrian Fall Accident in Rhode Island
Pedestrians should take special care anytime he or she ventures outside after a passing ice storm or snowfall. If possible, wait before going outside to allow adequate time for property owners and homeowners to clear away accumulated snow and ice. In addition, it is crucial to wear proper footwear and adequate layers to protect against the harsh bitter cold. This is important because cold pedestrians tend to walk or run as quickly as necessary to reach their destination before becoming too cold due to the hazardous weather outdoors. Adequate footwear and snow boots can make walking on hazardous areas much safer.
“From January 2012 through June 2013, more than 1,035 Maine employees submitted lost-time injury claims to the WCB due to slips and falls on ice and snow. This represents about 5 percent of all lost-time claims during that time period and about 27 percent of all reported slips, trips and falls” Maine Department of Labor, Labor Standards “Slipping and Falling on ice- a Serious workplace hazard https://www1.maine.gov/labor/labor_stats/publications/injuries/SlipFallOnIce.pdf
Hiring a Rhode Island slip and fall attorney
Claims and lawsuits for financial compensation are often filed by victims who have suffered serious injuries from slip and fall accidents occurring on black ice. The most common types of injuries are fall fractures, back injuries, knee injuries, head trauma and paralysis. Many of these serious injuries require surgery. Victims often face extensive medical expenses and require future care due to a permanent or temporary disability.
However, these types of cases are often very challenging to litigate and require a skilled personal injury attorney or Rhode island slip and fall attorney who handles premises liability claims for compensation. These RI fall cases are typically handled on a contingency fee by a Rhode Island slip and fall attorney so no upfront fees or retainers are required.
The Supreme Court of Texas stated “In a premises–liability case, the plaintiff must establish a duty owed to the plaintiff, breach of the duty, and damages proximately caused by the breach. Whether a duty exists is a question of law for the court and turns “on a legal analysis balancing a number of factors, including the risk, foreseeability, and likelihood of injury, and the consequences of placing the burden on the defendant. “In premises–liability cases, the scope of the duty turns on the plaintiff’s status. Here, Smith was an invitee, and generally, a property owner owes invitees a duty to use ordinary care to reduce or eliminate an unreasonable risk of harm created by a premises condition about which the property owner knew or should have known.” 307 S.W.3d 762 (2010) DEL LAGO PARTNERS, INC. and Del Lago Partners, L.P., Doing Business Under the Assumed Name of Del Lago Golf Resort & Conference Center, and BMC-The Benchmark Management Company, Petitioners,v.Bradley SMITH, Respondent. No. 06-1022. Supreme Court of Texas. Argued December 6, 2007.Decided April 2, 2010. http://www.scotxblog.com/orders/texas-supreme-court-upholds-liability-against-a-bar-that-did-not-stop-a-brewing-fight-orders-of-apr-2-2010/
Legal Notice per RI Rules of Professional Responsibility: The Rhode Island Supreme Court sitting in the Capital City of Providence, RI licenses all lawyers and attorneys in the general practice of law, but does not license or certify any lawyer / attorney as an expert or specialist in any field of practice (i.e personal injury, wrongful death, slip and fall, construction accident). While this firm maintains joint responsibility, most cases of this type are referred to other attorneys for principle responsibility.