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Premises liability and fault in Ohio

Premises liability requires owners in Columbus, Ohio, by law to keep their grounds reasonably safe to avoid accidents. Some common accidents that may happen on the property include slipping, falling and getting hit with objects. In order to win premises liability claims, several factors must apply, which can also influence compensation.

Duty of care

Some states base the duty of care for premises liability cases on the status of the visitor. If the owner falls below the reasonable duty of care to the visitor, they could be held liable under negligence. Visitors to property are commonly classified in three groups:

  • Invitee, or someone the owner expects
  • Licensee, or someone on the premises for their own personal reasons
  • Trespasser, or someone who is not authorized to be there

A landowner has a duty of care to an invitee to keep the property reasonably safe; they only must warn licensees of potential hazards. The owner does not owe a trespasser a duty of care, but they can’t intentionally cause them harm.

Comparative negligence and reasonableness

To have a negligence claim, the property owner should have known about or discovered the condition in a reasonable time. For example, if the owner did not know about a snowfall that caused injury after hours, they may not be liable. However, if they had known about it for several hours and continued operation, they could be held liable.

Ohio has a doctrine called comparative negligence, which means plaintiffs can only collect when they are under 50% at fault. This doctrine restricts the amount of compensation the injured party can claim that considers their responsibility in the accident. For example, if the injured party is found 20% at fault and seeks $10,000, they would get $8,000 if they win the case.

While some property owners settle out of court, injured parties still need to show proof of injuries. Getting medical attention immediately after being injured can help establish this proof for a premises liability case.