Articles Posted in Slip and Fall / Premises

caution-1189824.jpgIf you’ve been injured on another person’s property, such as in a slip-and-fall case, you are likely eager to more fully understand premises liability cases and how legal responsibility is determined. Many premises liability cases occur when a person is harmed by a hazardous condition on the property. At its most general level, a hazardous condition is anything that could lead to harm to another person. To find out more about hazardous conditions and how they can impact your Mississippi premises liability case, keep reading.

Permanent hazardous condition

A permanent hazardous condition refers to some danger that has long existed or is a fundamental component of the property. Good examples include things like a loose stair or a hidden hole in someone’s yard. In both cases, these issues have been around for some time and, as a result, in many premises liability cases, property owners will be found legally responsible for the injuries that result from these permanent hazardous conditions. The reason for this is that property owners with permanent hazardous conditions are seen as having been aware of the danger and having had an opportunity to fix the problem or mitigate the risk of harm. Should the property owner fail to take steps to address the hazardous condition, he or she will be liable for any harm it creates.

Post #4 image.jpgPeople know a lot about certain kinds of personal injury cases just from listening to the news. Car wrecks, medical malpractice, even products liability cases are frequently discussed. A practice area not so widely known, but important nonetheless, is premises liability. To learn more about premises liability law and how it works in Mississippi, keep reading.

What is premises liability law?

Premises liability law is best viewed as a subspecies of the broader personal injury realm. The difference is that in personal injury cases, the plaintiff who suffered harm sues a defendant. In a premises liability case, the injured plaintiff sues a property owner. Premises liability cases are based on the idea that property owners have a legal duty to those who enter their property, a responsibility to keep them safe or warn them of obvious dangers. If a property owner should fail in this duty, they can be sued and held financially responsible by the injured plaintiff.

Post #1 image. 2013-01-03.jpgMississippi’s Governor Phil Bryant has been trumpeting the state’s tort reform laws as a major economic development according to papers filed in federal court. The governor made the claims in a filing before the court that will decide the constitutionality of the state’s $1 million cap on non-economic damages.

The case, which began in 2006, will decide whether the state’s cap on damages is unjust. The cap was put into place years ago after legislators complained that verdicts in the state had gotten too large, too fast and led to unfairly large awards for plaintiffs. The updated brief on the part of Governor Bryant filed in support of the measure was meant to inject life into the case after the 5th Circuit told attorneys for both sides that briefs needed to be updated.

The case is not expected to be resolved until sometime later this year. Attorneys have said the complexity of the case and possible further oral arguments may drag the matter out well into the New Year. It’s also possible that the 5th Circuit will ask for additional briefs on certain specific legal issues.

The case was started in 2006 after a Mississippi woman was injured in an accident with a Sears truck near Philadelphia, MS. A jury in 2008 found that Sears was liable and awarded the woman $4 million in damages, though the verdict never identified which damages were noneconomic. It was later decided that $2.2 million of the overall verdict was noneconomic; a number that was later reduced by a federal judge to $1 million to align with Mississippi’s law.
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Post #4 image. 2012-10-08.jpgPratt v. Gulfport-Biloxi Regional Airport Authority

The Mississippi Supreme Court released an unfortunate decision recently when it yet again sided with a defendant in a personal injury case. The Court reversed an intermediate state appellate court’s reversal of a summary judgment issued in a slip and fall case.

The slip and fall incident occurred at the Gulfport-Biloxi Regional Airport. The plaintiff is a decorated Air Force doctor who sued the airport after he slipped and fell down a wet set of aluminum steps. This was one case where simply saying “slip and fall” fails to do the situation justice. The Air Force doctor actually slipped and fell down two stories worth of steps.

The airport where the injury occurred sought summary judgment under the Mississippi Tort Claims Act. Their argument was as follows: First, they claimed that the airport had immunity under the MTCA because the dangerous condition the plaintiff alleged was open and obvious to all those exercising due care. Second, the airport claimed it was immune from suit because the acts or omissions were discretionary functions.
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