In Ohio, the law is not favorable to the person injured on the premises of another. A property owner has a duty to exercise ordinary care in maintaining its premises in a reasonably safe condition so as not to expose people to danger. However, there is no liability of the property owner to warn an invitee of dangers that are obvious and apparent. The rationale is that the open and obvious nature of the hazard itself serves as warning.
The law goes futher in holding that the person does not need to observe the dangerous condition, rather the determinative issue is whether the hazard is observable. In other words, even when the injured party did not actually notice the condition until after he or she fell, courts reject recovery where the party could have seen the condition if he or she had looked.
The problem is that most ordinary people do not look constantly downward while walking, but are directing their attention elsewhere.
Our firm recently overcame the open and obvious defense in a case where a patron of a mall tripped on a sprinkler head that was stuck in the up position when not dispensing water as he was walking towards the mall. The black shaft of the sprinkler head was concealed against black mulch surrounding it. Our injured client fell forward on to the concrete sidewalk, cupped his hands over his face while falling, and injured his eye when the impact with ground caused his contact lens to shatter. After multiple surgeries, he ended up losing vision in his eye.
Please visit our website for more information on our firm, and our representation of the seriously injured. We will fight the insurance companies for just compensation even when the law is stacked against our client’s claim.