Property owners on Oahu have a duty to keep their premises free of hazards to reduce the chances of a slip and fall accident. But when they break the slip and fall laws in Hawaii, they risk facing significant legal penalties if someone is hurt on their property.
Have you been injured on someone else’s premises? Get in touch with a Honolulu slip and fall attorney at Recovery Law Center today. We’ll explain your rights to compensation in a free and confidential consultation. Call or contact us now.
Premises Liability: Slip and Fall Laws in Hawaii
Slip and fall accident claims in Hawaii are handled under the state’s premises liability laws. Premises liability refers to cases arising from a property owner’s negligent maintenance of their property.
When an owner or manager fails to take reasonable steps to address or warn visitors about a hazardous condition on their premises, they can be held liable for their negligence. An injured victim can seek compensation from the property owner for their injuries and accident-related losses.
Understanding Premises Liability for a Property Owner
Previously, Hawaii was one of many states that determined a property owner’s liability based on the status of the person visiting the property. For example, if someone visits a property for the benefit of the property owner, they may be considered an invitee and entitled to a greater duty of care than other types of visitors, such as licensees (someone visiting for their own purposes) or trespassers. A trespasser who enters a property unlawfully is owed the least duty of care.
However, in 1969, Hawaii got rid of those visitor distinctions. Instead of classifying visitors into different categories, Hawaii’s premises liability laws now require property owners to ensure that their property does not pose an unreasonable risk of harm. Specifically, the Supreme Court of Hawaii determined that property owners must take “reasonable steps” to remedy “unreasonable risks” to visitors or warn those visitors about the hazard.
In addition, if a condition is considered “open and obvious,” it may not require an additional, express warning from the property owner, since a reasonable person exercising ordinary caution may be expected to avoid it. That said, what is considered an “open and obvious” hazard may be open to interpretation. A premises liability lawyer from Recovery Law Center can help you understand this distinction and how it applies to your slip and fall case.
Common Places Where Slip and Fall Accidents Occur
Although slip and fall can happen anywhere, these accidents occur more frequently in places with heavy foot traffic, such as:
- Bars and restaurants
- Grocery stores and supermarkets
- Shopping centers and malls
- Hotels and resorts
- Swimming pools
- Apartment/townhouse complexes
- Public sidewalks
- Recreational parks
- Amusement parks
Common Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents
Common causes of slip and falls include:
- Spilled foods and liquids
- Recently mopped or waxed floors
- Leaking water
- Mud or plant debris
- Moss or algae buildup on walkways
- Uneven floor level
- Broken or loose tiles or flooring
- Torn carpets or rugs
- Broken stairs or handrails
What to Do to Prevent a Slip and Fall Accident
Property owners can take steps to prevent or reduce the risk of slip and fall accidents and subsequent injury claims. For example, they can:
Property owners should perform regular inspections of their premises to check for any conditions or hazards that might lead to a slip and fall accident.
Reduce risk factors
Property owners can also take proactive efforts to remedy defects or eliminate risk factors for potential slipping hazards, such as fixing leaking pipes or broken stairs.
Statute of Limitations for a Premises Liability Claim in Hawaii
In Hawaii, the statute of limitations generally requires someone injured by a slip and fall accident to file a lawsuit within two years of the date of their injury. If the slip and fall victim files a lawsuit after the statute of limitations has expired on their claim, the court will very likely dismiss the lawsuit, causing them to lose their legal right to recover compensation for their injuries.
Talk to a Slip and Fall Injury Lawyer Now
If you were involved in a slip and fall accident in Honolulu, contact Recovery Law Center today to speak with a trusted slip and fall attorney. There’s nothing to lose and everything to gain by scheduling a free consultation.