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When are property owners liable for injuries on their property?

On Behalf of | Jan 17, 2019 | Personal Injury |

There are many different property owners in Hawaii. Some simply own their home and the property immediately surrounding it, others are store owners, others own office buildings or hotels. Depending on the type of property, sometimes people are invited onto the property either directly such as a homeowner having guests over while others are implicitly invited onto the property such as store owners who allow customers onto the property. However, sometimes people are not invited onto the property and are trespassing.

Property owners owe all people on their property a certain level of care to ensure that there are not dangerous conditions on their property. This is not a strict liability type of responsibility though, which means that just because a person suffers an injury on the property that the property owner is not necessarily automatically responsible for the injury.

These cases can be very fact specific, but generally the property owner is only liable for the injuries if certain conditions are met. The first requirement is that there was a condition that poses an unreasonable risk of harm to people on the property. The next step is proving that the owner either knew about the dangerous condition or should have known about it. Finally the injured party must demonstrate that the property owner did not adequately warn people of the condition or did not take reasonable steps to fix the problem.

However, there is an exception to that rule. If the dangerous condition is open and obvious, then the property owner may not be liable even if they did not warn people about the condition. This generally means that the dangerous condition was so evident that any person paying reasonable attention would have noticed and avoided the condition.

Throughout the day, there are many things that can go wrong on people’s property in Hawaii. It is impossible to prevent everything from happening, but property owners must deal with the problems quickly to prevent injuries to those on their property. If they do not do this then the property owner may be required to compensate the victim for their injuries, including medical bills, lost income and other damages. Experienced attorneys understand this complicated area of the law and may be able to guide one through it.