Slip-and-fall injury liability in commercial or public premises in Ohio

Patrons should be able to rely on the reasonable care of those who own or control public establishments for their safety while visiting the premises.

When Ohio patrons visit retail stores, restaurants, hotels and other establishments open to the public, the premises owners, occupiers, managers or renters must take the reasonable care of an ordinary prudent person to keep the floors, stairs, walkways and parking lots in safe condition to prevent invitees from slipping and falling or tripping and falling on liquids, ice or snow, raised or uneven surfaces, holes and other dangers.

Premises liability

This area of personal injury law is called broadly premises liability in which a party responsible for the safety of others on a particular piece of property or in a building negligently creates or fails to correct a condition that causes injury. The concept of premises liability also extends to private residential or vacation property and to landlords or management companies responsible for safety in apartments and other residential rental property.

Ohio Jurisprudence explains that the duty of care in premises liability reaches both "static" negligence in which the premises are not reasonably maintained, or the owner fails to warn invitees of hidden danger and "dynamic" or "active" negligence in which the party in control of the premises engages in or allows dangerous or negligent activity that could injure invitees.

Other examples of potential premises liability situations include negligent security, dog attacks, unsecured pools, unsafe railings or handrails, inadequate lighting, failure to remove snow and treat ice, and others. In extreme cases, premises accidents can even cause death.

What must a plaintiff prove?

According to Ohio case law, an invitee injured on a business premises must be able to show one of the following to establish liability for a slip-and-fall injury:

  • The defendant or its employee was responsible for the danger.
  • The defendant or its employee knew of the danger and did not give reasonable notice to invitees or promptly correct it.
  • The dangerous condition had been there long enough that it was reasonable to infer constructive knowledge of it so that failure to warn or to correct it constituted lack of ordinary care.

This is an introduction to the basics of a complex, important area of Ohio law.

Seek legal advice

Anyone injured from slipping or tripping and falling in a store or other commercial establishment or in another public place should speak with an attorney as soon as possible to investigate and assess what legal remedies may be available such as a premises liability lawsuit.

The lawyers at Colley Shroyer Abraham in Columbus represent clients throughout Ohio injured in slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall accidents in stores, hotels, restaurants and other commercial or public places because of the negligence of others responsible for the safety of the premises.