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Was the danger that caused your injuries 'open and obvious?'

Far too many people in Florida get hurt at grocery stores, malls and restaurants, among other public or private establishments, due to some danger on the premises. If those injuries result in the filing of a premises liability claim, the party or parties believed to be responsible for them through some form of negligence may claim that the danger was "open and obvious," which means that any reasonable person would have taken steps to avoid it. The question is whether that fact absolves the establishment's owners, managers or others from legal responsibility.

Under ordinary circumstances, an establishment is required to take necessary measures to ensure the safety of those lawfully on the property (invitees). Any dangers to that safety that are either discovered by owners, managers or employees or reported to them should be fixed as soon as is practicable, and warnings should be provided to invitees regarding the hazard if it cannot be dealt with quickly. When a defendant claims that any reasonable person would have noticed and avoided the hazard, the injured party may need to show that did not matter.

In many cases, a defendant cannot avoid liability for this reason. If the danger would cause injury even with foreknowledge or warning, liability for injuries may remain. Furthermore, defendants may be required to anticipate that a distracted invitee would not notice the danger.

The point is that just because a danger might have been obvious under normal circumstances does not necessarily mean that you cannot pursue restitution for your injuries. The totality of the circumstances must be taken into account first. A Florida attorney could review your situation and help you determine whether filing a premises liability claim is appropriate.

Source: FindLaw, "What Is the 'Open and Obvious' Defense?", Accessed on Oct. 8, 2017

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