3 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer

injury lawyerBy William J. Price

It’s common to be overwhelmed and confused after suffering a serious injury. On top of the physical and emotional challenges of recovering or adjusting to life with a new disability, you now face an uphill legal battle to get compensation for your injuries. Continue reading “3 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Personal Injury Lawyer”

Look Before You Leap: Open and obvious hazards

What you need to know about Open and Obvious Hazards

Slip and fall injuries are common in Ohio, but if a hazard is “open and obvious,” the property owner may not be responsible for your injuries.

open and obvious, personal injury, premises liability
Property owners are generally not liable for injuries caused by open and obvious hazards. Photo Credit: Jonathan Pendleton / CC BY 2.0

Proving negligence in a slip and fall case

To better understand the open and obvious doctrine, let’s start with the basics of negligence. Generally speaking, Ohio property owners are not responsible for injuries to their guests unless they know of a dangerous condition and fail to provide an adequate warning.

To prove negligence in Ohio, an injury victim must prove the following:

Elements of Negligence Definition Example
1. The defendant owed the plaintiff a “duty of care” A legal obligation to prevent harm to visitors Store owners  must keep their store “in a reasonably safe condition” and warn customers of hidden dangers
2.They breached that duty The property owner did (or didn’t do) something they should have An employee failed to put out a caution sign after he mopped the floor
3. The breach caused the injury Their failure to maintain the property or warn you about something dangerous was the reason you got hurt You didn’t notice the danger, slipped on the wet floor and broke your arm

 

Unfortunately, in many instances, even where each element of negligence has been met and a slip and fall accident has caused serious injuries, no legal claim exists. One of the many ways a property owner may defend a premises liability claim is to use the open and obvious defense.

Open and Obvious

In Ohio, courts have repeatedly held that property owners have no duty to people entering their premises regarding dangers that are open and obvious. The basis of this legal concept is that any obviously dangerous hazard serves as its own warning (like an enormous hole in the ground.) Therefore, a property owner may reasonably expect their invitees to notice the danger and do what is needed to protect themselves. As a rule, since open-and-obvious doctrine removes the duty to warn, it acts as a complete bar to any negligence claims.

Related post: Negligence Per Se Lawsuits

Latent Dangers

In addition to owing invitees a duty of ordinary care in maintaining their property, an owner or occupier of property also has a duty to warn an invitee of dangerous hidden conditions. That means if the property owner purposely hides a dangerous condition or fails to warn invited guests of a hidden danger, the owner may be responsible for a victim’s injuries.

But I didn’t see it!

It is important to remember that the dangerous condition itself does not actually have to be seen by the plaintiff to be an open and obvious condition under the law. In a premises liability claim, generally, your conduct is usually immaterial. That means if you got hurt because you were looking at your phone and not paying attention, the property owner is not responsible for your injury. However, even if a condition was open and obvious, the property owner could still be liable if he or she created “attendant circumstances” – unusual situations that distracted you at the time of your fall.

Do I need a lawyer for my slip and fall case?

Premises liability claims can be difficult to prove. If you were hurt in a slip and fall or trip and fall accident, contact an experienced personal injury attorney immediately to review the merits of your case. An attorney can help collect and preserve evidence; negotiate with insurance companies and help recover compensation for injuries, missed work, and non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering.

 

 

The contents of this website are intended to convey general information only and not to provide legal advice or opinions. The use of the information provided in these pages should not be taken as establishing any contractual or other form of attorney-client relationship. The information presented on this website may not reflect the most current legal developments and may contain technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. No action should be taken in reliance on the information contained on this website. An attorney should be contacted for advice on specific legal issues.

Jury Awards $39M in Wrongful Death Case

Elk & Elk personal injury attorney Phillip Kuri obtains justice for client

CLEVELAND, April 4, 2014 /PRNewswire/

Phillip Kuri
Phillip A. Kuri, Partner at Elk & Elk Co., Ltd., obtained a $39 million dollar jury verdict for his client.

The Ohio personal injury law firm of Elk & Elk Co., Ltd. is pleased to announce a $39 million verdict on behalf of a deceased Ohio construction worker who lost his life in a fatal motor vehicle accident in 2010 on Interstate 271, near Richfield, Ohio.

A unanimous jury in Cuyahoga County, Ohio returned the $39 million verdict against The Shelly Company on April 3, 2014 in the case of Lynette A. Roginski v. Shelly Co., et al. The jury ruled that the Thornville, Ohio paving company was negligent and caused the fatal accident, according to official court documents. (Case no. CV-11-760490).

“When corporations put profits ahead of safety, as was the case in Mr. Roginski’s tragic death, families suffer the very real consequences,” said Phillip A. Kuri, a prominent Cleveland attorney and one of two lawyers who represented the plaintiff. “It is our wish that this verdict will put companies on notice and help prevent similar accidents in the future.”

The fatal accident on July 27, 2010 resulted in the death of Randy Roginski, a husband, son, and father of three. Mr. Roginski, a 41-year-old resident of North Royalton was in an active construction zone working for Solar Testing Labs Inc. at the time of the accident, which occurred at 11:58 p.m. just north of Interstate 77, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol. He was standing on the berm on the right side of the highway when he was struck by a passing motorist. Roginski was pronounced dead at the scene.

The case was brought in 2011 by Mr. Roginski’s widow, represented by Phillip A. Kuri of Elk & Elk Co., Ltd. and Christian R. Patno of McCarthy, Lebit, Crystal & Lifftman Co., LPA. The plaintiff’s attorneys presented evidence that the paving company cut corners and failed to follow the approved safety plan. The jury determined The Shelly Company was negligent and awarded Mr. Roginski’s widow $19 million in compensatory damages, according to court documents. The Shelley Company was also found liable for $20 million in punitive damages and ordered to pay the plaintiff’s attorney fees.

“Sadly, many workplace injuries and deaths such as Mr. Roginski’s are preventable,” said Kuri. “We hope this sizeable verdict will serve as a reminder to corporate America that if someone dies due to a company’s negligent actions, that business will be held accountable.”

About Phillip A. Kuri

Attorney Phillip A. Kuri, a partner at Elk & Elk Co., Ltd., practices in the areas of personal injury, medical malpractice and general tort law, among others. Attorney Kuri has been selected as an Ohio “Super Lawyer,” recognized by the Million Dollar and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forums and is a member of the American Association for Justice Top 100 Trial Lawyers.

About Elk & Elk

The Elk & Elk® personal injury law firm represents clients in cases throughout Ohio. The firm has 18 trial attorneys with experience in motor vehicle collisions, medical malpractice, nursing home neglect, defective products, work place accidents, and premises liability. Elk & Elk Co., Ltd. has offices located at 6105 Parkland Boulevard, Suite 200, Mayfield Heights, Ohio 44124 and locations throughout Ohio, including Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, Akron, Canton, Dayton, Toledo, and Youngstown. For more information, visit www.elkandelk.com.

Contact:

Ken Perdue, Marketing Director
Elk & Elk Co., Ltd.
kperdue@elkandelk.com
(440) 442-6677