Open and Obvious

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Q: One summer day, my daughter went to visit her friend.  To get to the back of the house, my daughter needed to walk between the nearby children’s pool and the end of a toy.  The children would jump onto this toy in order to slide into the pool.  The toy was a long sheet of thin plastic, attached to a garden hose. As usual, water had been spraying onto the sliding surface, making it very slippery.  By mistake, my daughter tripped and fell over this toy.

Meanwhile, my son was going to visit his own friend, at the same house.  Entering through the front, my son tripped and fell over a tan-colored bag of cement, covered in gray dust.  It was being used to prop-open the door.  The bag was placed on the floor, directly in front of the door.  That floor was comprised of tan tiles.

A: From what you say, the slippery sheet was an open and obvious condition that was not inherently dangerous.  Apparently, there was enough space for your daughter to have avoided walking over the toy in order to reach the house.  While landowners have a duty to maintain their property in a reasonably safe condition, a landowner has no duty to protect or warn against an open and obvious condition, unless it is inherently dangerous, which does not appear to be the case.  So it seems that you have no lawsuit on account of your daughter.

On the other hand, the bag does not appear to have presented an open and obvious hazard.  Moreover, your attorney can well argue that it was inherently dangerous.  The family should have protected and warned your son against the bag, and an action may be warranted on behalf of him.

By: Scott Baron,
Attorney at Law Advertorial

The law responds to changed conditions; exceptions and variations abound. Here, the information is general; always seek out competent counsel. This article shall not be construed as legal advice.

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