Slip and Fall Lawyer Update: Rhode Island Passes Law Eliminating The “Open and Obvious” Doctrine
August 9th, 2019
If you have suffered a personal injury form a Rhode Island slip and fall, there is a new law that helps with your case. In today’s personal injury blog, I will address this new law and how it will help you as our client:
The “Open and Obvious” Doctrine – What is it?
If you suffer a personal injury from a fall, we can help. The area of “premises liability” law protects you and gives you certain legal rights against landlords and business owners (land owners) who allow a dangerous condition to exist on their property.
For example, this could be a slippery floor in a grocery mart or a broken step in an apartment complex.
Before this year, a land owner could defend against your case by arguing that, essentially, you should have seen the dangerous condition and avoided it. This is known as the “open and obvious doctrine.”
The Rhode Island Civil Jury Instructions mentions the open and obvious condition as, “A landowner does not owe a duty to a person reasonably expected to be on his/her/its premises to warn and/or safeguard against an open and obvious condition existing on the premises.” For example, a landowner will not have to warn any visitor about a gaping hole on their premises because it can be easily seen.
The open and obvious doctrine is bad for you, the injured, because it muddies the issue for a jury and seeks to blame you even when there is a dangerous condition. This can result in you losing your case for .
New Rhode Island Law Eliminates The Open and Obvious Doctrine
This past February, House Judiciary Chairman Robert E. Craven introduced a bill that states that an open and obvious danger or defect is not a complete bar to recovery of damages in personal injury or property damage actions.
During the original hearing, the Judiciary Committee recommended that the bill should be held for further study. An updated bill was later proposed and approved by the committee and sent to the Senate for consideration. After the Senate approved of the bill, it was moved to be considered by the Governor.
On July 15th, Governor Gina Raimondo signed the bill that eliminates the open and obvious condition. This takes away a confusing defense and helps injured people get the justice they deserve!
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