Every property owner’s basic responsibility is to ensure they maintain their premises to protect themselves and others who are invited to use the property from injury. When this responsibility is neglected, property owners can be held liable for injuries. However, if they claim an open and obvious defect existed, you risk losing your case if not represented by a qualified personal injury lawyer.

What Does “Open and Obvious” Mean?

The “open and obvious” rule is one which refers to a property owner’s responsibility for injuries when obvious dangers exist on their premises. The rule states that, if these conditions exist on a property, an owner has no legal obligation to warn you about them because you should have exercised enough care and discretion to help you avoid these dangers and subsequent injuries.

Examples of issues which qualify as open and obvious dangers and, therefore, which lower your chances of winning a case include:

  • Any planter that measures six feet in diameter
  • Uneven concrete where your view was not obstructed
  • The curb of a sidewalk
  • Any raised joint in a parking lot where concrete and asphalt meet
  • A ladder on a store’s selling floor
  • A brick border placed around a tree

Although it may seem like the open and obvious defense gives property owners lots of ways to deny responsibility and win a case, the reality is that they don’t always succeed.


The reason some landowners don’t win with an open and obvious defense is that it’s sometimes ruled that they should have anticipated visitor injury, even though the danger was open and obvious. Property owners have also been held liable when a visitor who became injured was a minor or a person without the capacity to understand the extent of the danger of the condition.

There are other reasons that your personal injury law firm could win, such as if a judge rules the property owner is still responsible for your safety, even though they weren’t required to warn you of an open and obvious condition.

What to Do if You’ve Been Injured on Someone’s Property

The first thing to do when you sustain injury from a dangerous condition on a property is to get medical attention for it. Next, it’s always a good idea to get pictures of both the condition and the area which surrounds it. You can get a friend to do this in case you had to go to the hospital right away.

Next, you’ll want to contact a personal injury attorney. The right firm will not only understand personal injury but will also know how to get around an open and obvious defense and get you the compensation you deserve for your injuries, medical bills, and time lost at work.

The attorneys at Schechter, Shaffer & Harris, L.L.P., Accident & Injury Lawyers not only put their collective experience to work for you but will also leave no stone unturned when defending your case. Contact us today to claim your free consultation.