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When Do I Have a Premises Liability Case?

Understanding When You Have a Right to Legal Action

From defective stair handrails to poor lighting, properties can have countless safety hazards that may not pose an obvious threat to visitors and residents. Because people don’t always realize that property owners are responsible for maintaining all areas of their properties, however, injury victims may not know when they have the right to take legal action.

At Davis Levin Livingston, we’ve represented both Hawaii residents and tourists in a variety of complex premises liability claims. If you’re unsure whether you’re eligible to pursue a lawsuit, we can carefully review your case, applying years of experience to help you understand all your options.

In this post, we’ll touch on some “hidden hazards” that property owners tend to miss and offer an example from one of our current cases.

Hidden Property Hazards

While most people associate premises liability with high-profile slip and fall accidents, several other personal injuries can occur as a result of negligence on the part of a tenant or a property owner. Everyone has a right to expect they are safe when visiting any location: In Hawaii, due in large part to a robust tourism industry, accidents involving premises liability tend to be even more common than they are in other areas.

When a property is poorly maintained, there is increased potential for injury from hidden hazards such as:

  • Missing or broken handrails – Property owners are responsible to ensure that handrails are safe. This includes making sure handrails are available, and that they are properly installed and secured.
  • Broken or damaged stairs – Few things are more frightening than walking down an unsafe staircase. Injuries like sprained ankles, broken legs, and paralyzing spinal cord injuries may be the result of poorly-maintained stairs.
  • Poor or inadequate lighting – Parking garages, stairways, and buildings that are open in the evening all require proper lighting to keep visitors safe. Failure to have adequate lighting can result in falls or in some cases, visitors being criminally assaulted or robbed.
  • Merchandise problems – Store owners have a responsibility to ensure when shelves are stocked that items cannot topple off the shelves. Falling merchandise can cause serious head injuries and spilled liquids can result in falls.

Of course, property owners and managers may not always be immediately aware of hazards on their property, especially when the property is expansive. However, even seemingly minor safety problems – such as a broken step – must be brought to the attention of visitors, and owners are responsible for taking action to remove these hazards. Hawaii law states that managers and owners must ensure their premises are free of dangerous conditions, as long as it is reasonable for them to have found these conditions. They must also implement adequate security measures to protect visitors from criminal assaults and other preventable acts.

Case Study: Window Fall Lawsuit Against Maui Condo

Hawaii attracts varied visitors from across the world, thanks to the beauty of our natural landscapes and pristine beaches. These tourists are entitled to the same safety protections as any resident of the Hawaiian Islands – but unfortunately for one 12-year-old girl, the property owners and managers of a Kauhale Makai condo failed to protect her from suffering serious injuries and becoming paralyzed after falling through a window that had no safety devices install to prevent falls.

Our attorneys Mark Davis and Mali Fenton are currently representing the girl and her family in this serious matter and seeking fair compensation on their behalf.

Do you need to speak with a premises liability lawyer about your case? Contact Davis Levin Livingston today at (808) 740-0633 to get started with a free consultation.


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