Articles Posted in Premises Liability

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When it comes to keeping premises safe, Rhode Island imposes a duty on landowners to use reasonable diligence in repairing and maintaining the property and to provide necessary warnings for conditions that cannot be repaired. The dedicated Rhode Island premises liability lawyers at Bilodeau Capalbo have handled a wide variety of these cases. We have the experience it takes to help you assert your right to compensation after a careless landowner causes you to suffer injuries.

A recent Rhode Island appellate opinion discusses the liability of a landowner for injuries that the plaintiff sustained as a result of an allegedly faulty staircase. The plaintiff resided at a property that the defendant owned, where the defendant also resided. On the evening of the accident, the plaintiff was talking on her cell phone as she climbed a wooden staircase that led to the front porch area of the modular home in which she lived. She testified that as she reached the top of the stairs, she felt herself falling through the stairs, and her feet eventually hit the ground. She alleged in her complaint that she experienced numerous injuries as a result of the fall. The plaintiff’s complaint asserted a cause of action for negligence against the defendant, stating that he had breached his duty to maintain the property in a reasonable and safe manner.

The plaintiff also testified that she did not notice anything unusual about the stairs and that she had used the same stairway to exit her home earlier that evening. The plaintiff secured a new attorney, who amended her original complaint to include a claim for res ipsa loquitur, which is a legal theory providing that the occurrence of a particular accident implies the existence of negligence. The defendant filed a motion for summary judgment, stating that the defective condition had not existed on the property for a long enough period of time for the defendant to have reasonable notice or actual notice of its existence.

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Slip and falls are some of the most common types of accidents that Rhode Island residents can suffer in winter when the weather is extreme and creates many different hazards. A simple slip and fall accident can lead to long-lasting, painful, and devastating injuries. One of the most difficult aspects of recovering compensation in a slip and fall claim is showing that the defendant knew or should have known that the dangerous condition existed. As seasoned Rhode Island slip and fall lawyers, we have substantial experience dealing with this issue and assisting injured residents with seeking compensation.

A recent appellate opinion illustrates this issue. The plaintiff alleged that he slipped and fell on a patch of black ice in a parking lot near his apartment building, which the defendant owned. He alleged that as a result of the fall, he experienced a torn rotator cuff that required surgery and that he was not able to work for many months as a result.

The plaintiff filed a personal injury action against the defendant, alleging that the defendant was negligent in how it maintained the premises. In an amended complaint, the plaintiff also alleged that the defendant had violated multiple provisions of the Landlord Tenant Act.

The matter proceeded to trial. At the conclusion of the plaintiff’s case, the defendant moved for judgment as a matter of law, pursuant to Superior Court Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 50, arguing that the plaintiff failed to offer evidence that the defendant had notice that there was black ice. The trial court reserved its decision on the motion, and the defendant renewed the motion at the conclusion of its presentation of evidence. The lower court granted the motion and entered a judgment in the defendant’s favor. The plaintiff appealed.

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Accidents giving rise to personal injury claims encompass more than car accidents and slip and falls. As seasoned Rhode Island premises liability lawyers, we have handled a wide variety of injury claims and are prepared to assist you with the most nuanced or complex legal matters. A recent appellate opinion from a Rhode Island court highlights a unique situation in which the plaintiff was tragically injured as a result of a misfired handgun.

The plaintiff and a friend were target shooting on property owned by the defendants when a .45-caliber handgun accidentally discharged, shooting the plaintiff in the stomach. The plaintiff filed a complaint against the owners of the property, alleging that the owners knowingly allowed the friend to shoot guns on the property and that the plaintiff was invited by the friend to the property. It also alleged that the friend was negligent in handling the firearm and in shooting the plaintiff in the stomach. The plaintiff asserted multiple causes of action against the property owners and the friend.

In response to the complaint, the property owner defendants filed a motion for summary judgment, alleging that they did not owe the plaintiff a duty of care because they were not present during the activity or aware that it was taking place. They also cited case law precedent holding that there is no common law duty to control a third party’s conduct in premises liability situations. The plaintiff refuted this argument, stating that the property owner defendants leased a portion of the property to the friend, who kept livestock, a trailer, and various property items at the location, and that they allowed the friend and his acquaintances to use the area as a shooting gallery. In support of this argument, the plaintiff included his own deposition testimony in addition to the friend’s testimony and another individual’s testimony who was also present during the accident.

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