Slip and Fall Clams in Oregon
One of the most common calls our personal injury attorneys receive is from individuals who have slip and fall injuries that occurred on somebody else’s property. The law regarding slip and fall injuries can be confusing and complicated. In Oregon, slip and fall cases are subject to Oregon premises liability laws. A landowner’s responsibility to an injured person depends upon the injured person’s relationship to the premises. When injured while upon another person’s property, you must determine if you are a licensee, invitee, or trespasser in order to determine the land owner’s responsibility for the injuries.
Premises Liability – Licensee
A licensee is a person who is present on the premises for his or her own purposes, rather than for business purposes, with the express or implied consent of the landowner. Generally, in a licensee situation, the property is not open to the general public, but the owner of the property gives the licensee special license to enter. The landowner is liable for injuries to a licensee caused by:
(1) Conditions of the property that the landowner caused or allowed intentionally or in reckless disregard of the rights or safety of others; or
(2) The landowner failed to warn the licensee of hidden dangerous conditions of the property known to the landowner that might cause an injury even if the licensee used reasonable care. The landowner is liable for injuries to a licensee caused by activities on the property if the landowner failed to use reasonable care to protect the licensee. A licensee may loss his or her status and become a trespasser if they overstep the boundaries set by the property owner. Premises
Liability – Invitee
An invitee is:
(1) A person who goes on the premises of another at the other’s invitation, either express or implied and whose presence there is in the economic interest of the other; or
(2) A person who is invited to enter or remain on land as a member of the public for a purpose for which the land is held open to the public.
A possessor of premises has a duty to make the premises reasonably safe for an invitee’s visit. The possessor must exercise reasonable care to discover any condition that creates an unreasonable risk of harm to the invitee and either eliminate the condition or warn any foreseeable invitee of the risk so the invitee can avoid the harm.
An invitee also has obligations to look out for their own safety. An invitee is required to exercise reasonable care to avoid harm from a condition on the premises of which the invitee knows or, in the exercise of reasonable care, should know. In determining and comparing negligence, if any, you must consider the obviousness of danger and the ease or difficulty with which harm to the plaintiff from that danger could be avoided by either party.
The most common slip and fall case is the shopper at a market that slips and falls on a foreign substance on the floor. An invitee who is injured by slipping on a foreign substance on the floor must prove one of the following:
(1) The substance was placed there by the defendant; or
(2) The defendant knew that the substance was there and failed to use reasonable care to remove it or protect the invitee against it; or
(3) The substance had been there so long that the defendant should, in the exercise of reasonable care, have discovered and removed it.
Premises Liability – Trespasser
A trespasser is a person who enters or remains upon premises in possession of another without a privilege to do so. A landowner has no duty to a trespasser to keep the property in a safe condition. The landowner is liable only if the landowner wantonly or intentionally injures the trespasser. For example, a landowner would be liable to a trespasser if the landowner set traps on the property with the intent to injure trespassers.
A landowner who breaches his or her duty to a licensee, invitee, or trespasser is liable for various damages, including medical expenses, lost income, and pain & suffering. Depending upon the type of premises where the incident occurred (i.e. a home versus a shopping center), the available insurance to cover the claim can vary widely. The experienced premises liability lawyers at White & Shepherd offer a free consultation to help you understand the entire claim process and to give you strong legal advice aimed at maximizing your legal outcome.
Article by Keith R. Shepherd
This article has been prepared by attorney Keith R. Shepherd as means to provide general information regarding personal injury and/or wrongful death claims. Each case should be evaluated individually on its merits by a competent attorney, and in no way should these articles be construed as specific legal advice or as the basis for the formation of a legal relationship with White & Shepherd, LLP. For a free consultation regarding your case, please email Keith R. Shepherd at Keith@lawfirmws.com or call 503-922-2028.
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At White & Shepherd, LLP, we work with clients throughout Oregon, including in Portland, Beaverton, Hillsboro, Lake Oswego, Tigard, Forest Grove, Gresham, Milwaukie, Oregon City, Tualatin, West Linn and Wilsonville, and in the counties of Washington, Multnomah and Clackamas.