What Are ‘Open and Obvious’ Hazards in Slip and Fall Cases?

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What Are ‘Open and Obvious’ Hazards in Slip and Fall Cases?

When navigating the complexities of a personal injury claim, particularly those stemming from slip and fall incidents, you’ll often hear the term “open and obvious.” But what does this term mean, and more importantly, how does it affect the outcome of a lawsuit? Please continue reading and reach out to a New York City personal injury lawyer from The Law Office of Richard M. Kenny to learn more about the “open and obvious” defense and how our legal team can help combat it and fight for the compensation you deserve. Here are some of the questions you may have:

What Is the “Open and Obvious” Defense?

The “open and obvious” defense refers to a legal argument made by property owners or occupiers. Essentially, they contend that the hazard that caused an injury was so obvious that the injured party should have seen it and taken steps to avoid it.

For example, consider a large puddle of water in the middle of a supermarket aisle. If a customer walks into it without noticing and slips, the store could argue that such a hazard was so evident and apparent that the customer should have recognized and sidestepped it.

Why Is This Defense Used in Slip and Fall Cases?

Property owners have a legal responsibility to maintain their premises in a safe condition for visitors. However, this responsibility is not unlimited. If an individual is injured due to a hazard that was clearly visible and avoidable, property owners might claim they should not be held liable because the individual was, at least in part, responsible for their own injury.

By invoking the “open and obvious” defense, they aim to shift the blame to the injured party, asserting that the accident might have been preventable if the victim had exercised greater caution.

Is Every “Open and Obvious” Hazard Non-Liable?

This is a critical question. Just because a hazard might seem clear to some doesn’t mean everyone will notice it. Factors such as lighting conditions, distractions, or even the injured party’s health could play a role in why they didn’t perceive the danger.

Moreover, just because a hazard is deemed “open and obvious” doesn’t absolve property owners of their duty to rectify or warn about dangerous conditions on their premises. In some situations, even if a hazard is noticeable, the law might still expect property owners to take action to prevent accidents.

How Can a Skilled Lawyer Help in Such Cases?

Having a proficient personal injury attorney becomes invaluable when facing the “open and obvious” defense. An experienced lawyer can:

  • Present Evidence Effectively: A seasoned attorney knows how to gather and present evidence that can highlight the actual nature and risks associated with a hazard.
  • Argue Against the Defense: By demonstrating how specific circumstances made it difficult for the victim to recognize or avoid the hazard, an attorney can counteract the “open and obvious” claim.
  • Highlight the Owner’s Negligence: A lawyer can emphasize instances where the property owner failed in their duty, such as not putting up warning signs or not remedying a dangerous situation in a reasonable timeframe.

Why is Retaining a Lawyer Crucial in New York City Slip and Fall Cases?

New York City’s bustling environment presents unique challenges. With so many distractions and the constant hustle and bustle, it’s entirely possible for even the most vigilant person to overlook a potential hazard. A skilled NYC personal injury lawyer understands these dynamics and can frame your case in a way that optimally positions you for a successful outcome.

While the “open and obvious” defense is a common tactic in slip and fall cases, it’s not an insurmountable one. With the assistance of a knowledgeable attorney, victims can navigate these legal hurdles and pursue the compensation they rightfully deserve. If you or a loved one has suffered an injury in such an incident, ensure you consult a seasoned New York City personal injury lawyer to guide and represent you throughout the legal process.

CONTACT OUR EXPERIENCED NEW YORK CITY FIRM

Our entire legal team is dedicated to providing the advice you need and the personalized attention you deserve. If you have been injured due to another party’s negligence, call 866-886-0892 or fill out our contact form to schedule a free consultation with a New York City personal injury lawyer. You may be entitled to financial compensation, which can help you on your road to recovery.

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Whether you need a car accident lawyer, slip and fall lawyer or legal representation for any type of accident, the NYC personal injury lawyers at The Law Office of Richard M. Kenny can help. Located in New York City, we've helped thousands of individuals throughout the Bronx, Brooklyn (Kings County), Manhattan, Queens and Nassau County recover the compensation they need to receive proper medical care, treatment and quality of life after serious injury.

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