Falling is a leading cause of accidental death worldwide, and it is a major cause of personal injury. Sometimes, a fall is just an accident, and nothing could have been done to avoid it. However, that does not mean that one legally can turn a blind eye towards hazardous conditions.
As a general rule, liability for negligence is imposed when a person owes a legal duty to another, and a breach of that duty proximately causes an injury. One such legal duty that is recognized in the common law is the duty of an owner or possessor of land to exercise reasonable care to persons lawfully upon the premises.
That duty includes an obligation to warn visitors of any unreasonable dangers of which the landowner is aware or reasonably should be aware. Although a landowner is not obligated to warn of open and obvious dangers, that does not mean that a landowner can maintain his or her property in an unreasonably unsafe condition as long as the unsafe condition is open and obvious. Rather, the landowner’s duty includes an obligation to maintain the property in a reasonably safe condition in view of all the circumstances, including the likelihood of injury to others, the seriousness of the injury, and the burden of avoiding the risk. Even though an open and obvious danger provides its own warning, a landowner is not relieved from remedying that danger where he or she knows or has reason to know that lawful entrants may not heed the warning for a variety of reasons, including their own failure to exercise reasonable care.
For that reason, it is not always apparent whether a fall was just an accident, or whether it could have been avoided. If there is doubt, there is nothing wrong with asking an attorney whether something could have been done to prevent a fall from occurring.
The law firm of Colucci, Colucci, Marcus & Flavin, P.C. has been recognized by Newsweek.com as one of the Top 10 Best Law Firms for Personal Injury in the Country. Attorney Darin Colucci has also been recognized by Newsweek.com for 3 consecutive years as one of the Top 10 Best Personal Injury Attorneys in the Country.