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Slip & Fall – Premises Liability of Owners, Landlords & Businesses

Rhode Island slip and fall accidents liabilityThere are hundreds of different types of premises liability causes of action in Rhode Island and Massachusetts ranging from a  slip and fall on a slippery surface to negligent security. In general, premises liability is a term referring to an accident which occurs on real property owned by a person or entity. The liable entity could be a trust, partnership, limited liability corporation (llc), Corporation or a government entity.

Injury negligence in RI

If you were injured as a result of the negligence of another in a premises liability accident then it is important that you quickly retain a personal injury attorney in RI. Slip and fall lawyers in Rhode Island will be able to advise you whether you have a viable negligence claim against the alleged at fault tortfeasor.

Many premises liability and  slip and fall claims in RI and MA are incidents caused  by a slippery or oily substance on the floor such as water, ice, snow,  juice, food, produce, oil or a soft drink. Many trip and fall and slips and fall accidents result from improper maintenance, a defective condition such as inadequate lighting or even defective ramps or stairs. The owner or entity in control of the premises can be held liable for an accident caused by the negligence of the owners of the property. ,

Duty owners owe to customers

What responsibility in general do owners and/or possessors owe to visitors and customers on real estate in Rhode Island? A homeowner should get a homeowner insurance policy covering liability to third parties for accidents causing injury or death. Owners and possessors of real property must act reasonably to prevent injuries and fatalities on their land.

The Rhode Island Supreme Court, sitting in the Capital city of Providence, in HABERSHAW v. MICHAELS STORES, INC. 42 A.3d 1273 (2012),  stated that “It also is well settled in our jurisprudence that there is an affirmative duty on owners and possessors of property: “to exercise reasonable care for the safety of persons reasonably expected to be on the premises * * * includ[ing] an obligation to protect against the risks of a dangerous condition existing on the premises, provided the landowner knows of, or by the exercise of reasonable care would have discovered, the dangerous condition.” Kurczy v. St. Joseph Veterans Association, Inc., 820 A.2d 929, 935 (R.I.2003) (quoting Tancrelle v. Friendly Ice Cream Corp., 756 A.2d 744, 752 (R.I. 2000)); accord Mead v. Papa Razzi Restaurant, 840 A.2d 1103, 1107 (R.I.2004).”


Are owners and possessors of real property guarantors of the safety of invitees and guests?

There is no strict liability for almost all accidents causing injury or wrongful death on real estate. Negligence must be established if the injured person desires to be compensated by the tortfeasor landowner. The top Court in RI further stated, “Although a business invitor is not a guarantor of the safety of those who might be expected on the property, a duty remains to maintain the premises in a reasonably safe condition for prospective business invitees.Terry v. Central Auto Radiators, Inc., 732 A.2d 713, 716 (R.I.1999).”

What liability concerns do a commercial owner / landlord have to the guests and invitees of its tenant?

“under our well-settled law, a commercial landlord owes a duty of care to an invitee of its tenant only under the narrowest of circumstances * * * [and that] such a landowner is not liable for injuries that the tenants invitee suffers on the leased premises, unless the injury results from the landlords breach of a covenant to repair in the lease, or from a latent defect known to the landlord but not known to the tenant or guest, or because the landlord subsequently has assumed the duty to repair.” Id. Diane Berard v. HCP, Inc., et al

What Liability do owners of real estate owe to trespassers?

“It is a well-established principle of law that property owners owe no duty of care to trespassers but to refrain from wanton or willful conduct; and even then, only upon discovering a trespasser in a position of danger.” Hill v. National Grid, 11 A.3d 110, 113 (R.I. 2011). 

There are exceptions for children trespassers in what is commonly known as the attractive nuisance doctrine.

What liability do businesses and commercial establishments have to clear snow and ice to protect guests from injury on their property?

If you were seriously injured in a premises liability mishap then it is crucial that you retain a Rhode Island Personal injury attorney. A RI Slip and Fall Lawyer will be able to analyze the relevant facts and determine a course of action going forward.

Rhode Island has adopted the so called Connecticut Rule Concerning slip and fall on ice or snow liability. “Under the Connecticut Rule, a landlord or business invitor clearly has a duty to his tenants or invitees to clear snow accumulation and treat surfaces impacted by a storm. Id. at 502 (citing Fuller, 108 R.I. at 772, 279 A.2d at 440). However, this duty does not arise until a reasonable time after the storm has ended. Id. at 503 (citing Fuller, 108 R.I. at 774, 279 A.2d at 441); see also Barenbaum v. Richardson, 114 R.I. 87, 93, 328 A.2d 731, 734 (1974).”  69.pdf 

Types of premises liability in RI

There are hundreds of different types of premises liability causes of action including inadequate maintenance, defective or unreasonably dangerous escalators, dog bite and dog attack, Inadequate lighting causing falls, construction accidents, fatal accidents, negligent security, Amusement park accidents, Sidewalk falls and asbestos litigation.

An accident, mishap or collision can occur anywhere, including a restaurant, stadium, fast food restaurant, private home, mall, park or supermarket. These types of accidents, mishaps and crashes could cause hundreds of different types of injuries including: knee injury, fractured bone, back/ neck or arm injury as well as traumatic brain injury (tbi). Wrongful death litigation in Rhode Island is beyond the scope of this negligence post. Construction accidents and workers compensation in Rhode Island are beyond the scope of this post

Legal Notice per Rules of Professional Responsibility: The Rhode Island Supreme Court licenses all lawyers and attorneys in the general practice of law, but does not license or certify any lawyer / attorney as an expert or specialist in any field of practice. While this firm maintains joint responsibility, most cases of this type are referred to other attorneys for principle responsibility.





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