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Understanding Premises Liability: Your Legal Rights as a Property Visitor in Oregon

Premises liability is a legal concept that holds property owners responsible for injuries that occur on their premises. In Oregon, property owners have a legal obligation to maintain a safe environment for visitors to their property. If you have been injured on someone else’s property, it is important to understand your legal rights and the options available to you.

What is Premises Liability?

Premises liability is a legal theory that holds property owners responsible for injuries that occur on their property. Property owners have a duty to maintain their premises in a safe condition, and to warn visitors of any potential hazards. If a property owner fails to fulfill this duty, and someone is injured as a result, the property owner may be liable for damages.

In Oregon, premises liability law is based on a “reasonableness” standard. This means that property owners are required to take reasonable steps to ensure the safety of their visitors. What is considered “reasonable” will depend on the circumstances of each case. For example, a property owner may be required to fix a broken stair railing, but may not be required to install a safety net to catch falling objects.

Types of Visitors

In Oregon, visitors to a property can be classified into three categories: invitees, licensees, and trespassers. The classification of a visitor can impact the legal duty that a property owner owes to them.

Invitees

Invitees are visitors who are invited onto the property for the benefit of the property owner. Examples of invitees may include customers at a store or employees at a workplace. Property owners owe invitees the highest level of care, and are required to take reasonable steps to ensure their safety.

Licensees

Licensees are visitors who are on the property for their own benefit, but with the permission of the property owner. Examples of licensees may include social guests or contractors hired to perform work on the property. Property owners owe licensees a lower level of care than invitees, but are still required to warn them of any potential hazards.

Trespassers

Trespassers are visitors who are on the property without the permission of the property owner. Property owners owe trespassers a minimal level of care, but are still required to refrain from intentionally harming them.

Common Premises Liability Claims

There are a number of common types of premises liability claims that can arise in Oregon. Some of these include:

Slip and Fall Accidents

Slip and fall accidents are one of the most common types of premises liability claims. These accidents can occur when a visitor slips on a wet or slippery surface, or trips over an object in their path.

Inadequate Security

Property owners have a duty to provide adequate security to prevent criminal acts from occurring on their property. This may include installing security cameras, hiring security personnel, or implementing access control measures.

Dog Bites

Dog owners have a legal obligation to ensure that their pets do not harm others. If a dog bites a visitor on a property, the owner may be liable for damages.

Defective Conditions

Property owners are responsible for ensuring that their premises are in a safe condition. This may include fixing broken stairs or handrails, repairing leaking pipes, or removing hazards such as loose rugs or debris.

Proving Premises Liability

In order to prove premises liability in Oregon, a plaintiff must establish several elements. First, they must show that the property owner had a duty to maintain a safe environment for visitors. Next, they must demonstrate that the property owner breached this duty by failing to take reasonable steps to ensure their safety. Finally, they must show that their injuries were caused by the property owner’s breach of duty.

To establish a breach of duty, a plaintiff may present evidence such as eyewitness testimony, photographs, or expert testimony. For example, if a visitor slipped on a wet floor and fell, they may present testimony from witnesses who saw the wet floor, or photographs showing that no warning signs were present.

To prove causation, a plaintiff must show that their injuries were caused by the property owner’s breach of duty. This may involve presenting medical records and testimony from medical experts to show that the injuries were a direct result of the accident. If a plaintiff is able to establish all of these elements, they may be entitled to compensation for their injuries, including medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Comparative Fault in Oregon

In Oregon, the legal principle of comparative fault applies in premises liability cases. This means that if a plaintiff is partially responsible for their injuries, their damages may be reduced proportionally. For example, if a plaintiff is found to be 25% responsible for their injuries, their damages may be reduced by 25%.

It is important to note that Oregon follows a modified comparative fault system. This means that if a plaintiff is found to be more than 50% responsible for their injuries, they may be barred from recovering any damages at all.

Statute of Limitations

In Oregon, there is a statute of limitations for filing a premises liability claim. This means that there is a deadline by which a plaintiff must file their claim, or else they may be barred from pursuing their case. The statute of limitations for premises liability claims in Oregon is two years from the date of the injury.

It is important to consult with an experienced premises liability attorney as soon as possible after an injury to ensure that your legal rights are protected and to avoid missing any important deadlines.

An Experienced Premises Liability Attorney Can Help

Premises liability is an important legal concept that helps to ensure that property owners are held responsible for injuries that occur on their premises. If you have been injured on someone else’s property, it is important to seek the advice of an experienced premises liability attorney who can help you understand your legal rights and options.

Zbinden & Curtis Attorneys At Law can help you recover compensation for your injuries and get the justice you deserve. Call today at (503) 287-5000.

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