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Premises liability decision granted in favor of injured tenant

Slip-and-fall cases in New Hampshire are part of the general category of personal injury claims that are referred to as premises liability claims. These cases generally relate to an owner's negligence over a dangerous condition that exists on the property, which results in personal injury to someone who is properly on the property. Sometimes, premises liability pertains to not providing sufficient security for business visitors who are on the property to shop or do business. A claim arises when that visitor suffers personal injury from the tortious and/or criminal actions of unauthorized third parties.

One simple example of a slip-and-fall case was consummated in another state just recently. An 84-year-old female sued the landlord of her apartment complex after she fell on an icy walkway after a freezing rainfall. She slipped on the glaze of ice that had formed after several big snowstorms.   

The case turned on the issue of whether the landlord should have reasonably known to maintain the walkway due to the accumulation of dangerous weather conditions. There was also an issue of whether there was sufficient time for the landlord to find and maintain the problem area. The plaintiff contended that the freezing rain had stopped at the time she fell, and therefore the salting and maintenance crews should have been out working, considering the conditions that existed.

After a trial, the jury entered a verdict of liability against the landlord and in favor of the injured plaintiff. The legal issue regarding premises liability was likely resolved by a finding that the dangerous condition was reasonably foreseeable, and that the landlord was careless in not timely fixing the problem. The case settled prior to a second phase of the trial that had been scheduled to determine damages. New Hampshire procedure allows such bifurcated trials in appropriate instances determined by the trial judge's discretion.

Source: brooklyneagle.com, "SKETCHES OF COURT: Plaintiff granted settlement for slip and fall at Starrett City", Alba Acevedo, May 17, 2017

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