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Minding the guests: premises law in Kentucky

If you have been injured at a local business, odds are that you considered it something which was not a big deal. Many people don’t want to create a fuss when they have slipped and fallen, developed a small cut, or other small injuries.

But this could be a big mistake, as your injuries could result in losses in medical bills or time away from work. It may be that the hazard which injured you might hurt other people, too. Businesses and other owners which invite people onto their property do have a responsibility to provide a safe place for guests.

The law in Kentucky

Laws and court cases regarding the safety of visitors onto property are known as premises law. It covers any situation where someone is invited or allowed into the store or on site. They are known as the “invitee.”

The owner is liable for any injuries that occur on their property if all of the following five items can be proven:

  • The property owner owed a duty to protect the invitee
  • The property owner failed in that duty
  • That failure was the reason the invitee was injured
  • It was foreseeable or knowable that the hazard could lead to injury
  • There is a real injury or other damages.

That is a long list of elements, but they boil down to a simple responsibility. If there is hazard of some kind on a property which could anyone could reasonably see might lead to injury, and you are injured by it, you probably have a case based on premises law that the owner did not protect you while on their property.

What are the exceptions?

There are two places which many cases have been decided. The first is that the owner owed a duty to any and all invitees on their property. There are limits to this duty. In the past, anything which was deemed “open and obvious” might be excluded from the duty to protect invitees onto property. This might include ice on a sidewalk, as an example.

Recently, the Supreme Court of Kentucky has scaled this back, however, and increased the duty by property owners to keep their premises hazard free.

It is also important that the hazard was “foreseeable,” or that someone reasonably could have seen that some defect in the property might lead to injury. This is the other way that property owners try to get out of responsibility for injuries on their premises.

Talk to an attorney

If you have been injured on someone else’s property, you may want to talk to an attorney experienced in premises liability law. You do not have to suffer because of someone else’s negligence. Premises liability is difficult to navigate at times, but with a knowledgeable attorney on your side you may have a case.

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