Assertive Injury Representation Throughout West Virginia
Farmer, Cline & Campbell, PLLC
Dedicated Service. Passionate Representation. A History Of Success.
Click Here TO Call Now Free Consults 866-587-0167 Injury Throughout West Virginia
Main Menu

WV lawmakers restore premises liability rule favoring property owners

Here in West Virginia, 2015 has apparently been a productive year so far in terms of tort reform. One of the important changes lawmakers made was to restore the "open and obvious" doctrine, a previously abolished rule of premises liability law which held that a property owner may not be sued by if someone on their property is injured by an obvious hazard.

The open and obvious doctrine was established at common law, which is the body of case law recognized by state courts. For those unfamiliar with the term, common law is built up by means of legal precedents, or legal rules embedded in court cases which are binding in subsequent cases involving the same fact patterns. 

When the open and obvious doctrine was abolished by the West Virginia Supreme Court in 2013, the new rule was that those who were injured by an obvious hazard had the ability to sue the property owner for damages. Juries were allowed to consider the obviousness of the hazard for purposes of calculating comparative negligence, which allowed for the possibility that the plaintiff could recover an amount of damages appropriate to the case.

The restoration of the open and obvious doctrine does away with that possibility and means that property owners have less to worry about, at least from a legal perspective, if an individual is harmed by an obviously dangerous condition on their property. As long as the property owner can prove than a reasonable person would have or could have known about the dangerous condition, the injured party is not allowed to seek damages from the property owner.

For businesses and owners of property which is routinely entered upon, there may technically not be a legal requirement to correct open and obvious hazards, but it is still a wise move to take steps to do so. In any premises liability case, but especially in cases involving hazardous conditions, it is important for the injured party to work closely with an experienced attorney to ensure their rights are protected.

Source: State Journal, "Tort reforms seen as mixed bag by some, historic by others," Linda Harris, Mar. 21, 2015.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Tell Us About Your Legal Issue

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information
disclaimer.

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.

close

Privacy Policy

Three Convenient Office Locations

Charleston Office
746 Myrtle Road
Charleston, WV 25314

Toll Free: 866-587-0167
Phone: 304-881-0637
Charleston Law Office Map

Beckley Office
101 North Kanawha Street, Suite 101
Beckley, WV 25801

Toll Free: 866-587-0167
Phone: 304-881-0637
Beckley Law Office Map

Morgantown Office
453 Suncrest Towne Centre Drive, Suite 300
Morgantown, WV 26505

Toll Free: 866-587-0167
Phone: 304-881-0637
Morgantown Law Office Map

Connect With Our Attorneys

Distinguished ™ AV ® LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Rated for Ethical Standards and Legal Ability 2015 Litigator Awards | Ranked Top 1% of Lawyers Super Lawyers Chambers and Partners Bar Register Preeminent Lawyers| 2017 Martindale-Hubbell The Best Lawyers in America American Association for Justice Million Dollar  Advocates Forum MultiMillion Dollar Advocates Forum

Privacy Policy | Business Development Solutions by FindLaw, part of Thomson Reuters.