The Open and Obvious Doctrine is a defense that property-owners use to prevent you from receiving compensation for your injuries even if the owner may be at fault.
The Open and Obvious Doctrine provides that some injury-causing conditions are so open and obvious that they can be held as a matter of law not to give rise to property-owner liability for the dangerous conditions. Examples of such conditions include a six-foot diameter planter, a pallet in the middle of a parking lot, a landscaped area surrounded by large planks next to a walkway, raised concrete at a gas station at 2:30 p.m. on a dry and sunny day in the open parking lot where nothing obstructed a view of the surface of the parking lot.
In a recent case the property-owners argued our client “…cannot provide an iota of record evidence demonstrating Defendant [property owner] breached any duty owed to Plaintiff, because Plaintiff had knowledge of the alleged condition, the condition was open and obvious, and the condition was so common and ordinarily innocuous that it cannot be considered inherently dangerous as a matter of law.” The owner’s asked the court to rule in their favor and prevent our client from being compensated for damages including over $50,000 in medical costs.
Fortunately, our own Don Morrell argued against the open and obvious condition and that even if the condition was open and obvious the property-owner was not relieved of their duty to maintain the premises and that a jury should decide this matter based on the facts.
The Court agreed and ruled based upon a 2017 case Trainor v. PNC Bank, Nat’l Ass’n, stating:
“When an injured party alleges that the owner or possessor breached the duty to keep the premises in a reasonably safe condition, an issue of fact is generally raised as to whether the condition was dangerous and whether the owner or possessor should have anticipated that the dangerous condition would cause injury despite the fact it was open and obvious.”
In a case where the insurance company offered to settle for $7,000 we can now move forward and help our client recover more the $50,000 in medical bills.
If you are hurt in an accident, please contact attorney Don Morrell at the Kendrick Law Group 407-641-5847.