Articles Posted in Premises Liability

Property owners and occupiers may be liable for the injuries incurred by other people who enter the property, depending on the parties’ relationship and the circumstances of the case. Under Arizona premises liability law, a party who owns or controls property has a duty of reasonable care in maintaining the property to invitees who come onto the property. An invitee is a person who enters the property for a purpose connected with the owner’s business or for an activity permitted by the owner on the premises. However, owners and occupiers of property are not insurers of other peoples’ safety on their property. In general, in an Arizona premises liability case, a plaintiff must show that a condition posed an unreasonable risk of harm, the defendant knew or should have known that the condition posed an unreasonable risk of harm, the defendant should have anticipated that people would not recognize the danger or would not be protected from the danger, the defendant acted negligently, the plaintiff suffered an injury, and the condition caused the plaintiff’s injury.

In a recent Arizona premises liability case, the court considered whether two subletters on a commercial lease were liable for an individual’s injuries after he fell through the skylight of the building. The owner of the commercial building leased the building to another company, which was responsible for repairing and maintaining the building. The lessee then subleased portions of the building to two other companies. A manager handled the maintenance of the building for the lessee and hired one of the sublessees to perform repairs. Complicating matters further, according to the facts in the opinion, the other sublessee was responsible for maintaining the roof over its section of the warehouse it was subleasing.

The plaintiff was a friend of the manager of one of the sublessees, who would visit the property. On the day of the injury, based on the evidence presented, repairs were being done on the roof, and the plaintiff went on the roof, apparently to help monitor the situation. When he was on the roof, he stepped onto a skylight and fell through it, causing severe injuries. The plaintiff filed a claim against the owner, lessee, and two sublessees. The plaintiff argued in part that the sublessees were possessors of the roof and had a duty to maintain the roof in a safe condition.

The state law of Arizona allows someone injured on someone else’s property to file a civil negligence suit against the owner to recover for their injuries. These suits are referred to as premises liability suits. However, some individuals are granted immunity from these suits through Arizona’s recreational use statute, A.R.S. section 33-1551. This statute provides that “a public or private owner, easement holder, lessee, tenant, manager or occupant of premises is not liable to a recreational or educational user except on a showing that [they were] guilty of wilful, malicious or grossly negligent conduct that was a direct cause of the injury to the recreational or educational user.” This statute has been used by defendants in premises liability suits to get the suit against them dismissed. However, it is not totally clear who the statute applies to, and sometimes courts must determine whether a defendant falls into one of the groups granted immunity.

The Arizona Supreme Court recently considered the meaning of the term “manager” under the statute in a case brought against an amusement park operator. According to the court’s written opinion, the defendant had an agreement with the City of Phoenix to operate an amusement park known as Enchanted Island. Under this agreement, they also were allowed to use an unfenced area adjacent to Enchanted Island known as the “piñata area,” which they were responsible for maintaining. The plaintiff paid the defendant to host her child’s birthday party at Enchanted Island and brought a piñata to said party. The defendant directed her to the piñata area, but while walking through it, the plaintiff fell, breaking her ankle and injuring her arm. According to her, she fell because she stepped on a covered sprinkler-head divot, and the plaintiff then sued the defendant for premises liability. The defendant moved for summary judgment, claiming that A.R.S. section 33-1551 granted them recreational immunity. Both the trial court and the appellate court agreed, but the plaintiff appealed all the way to the Arizona Supreme Court.

In front of the Arizona Supreme Court, the case came down to whether or not the defendant was a “manager” of the piñata area at the time the plaintiff fell. The defendant asserted that because they maintained the area they were indeed a manager, but the court disagreed. Instead, the court found that in order to be a manager of an area, one has to be able to control the public’s access to the land. Because the defendant could not do so, but was only allowed to use it and in charge of maintaining it, they could not be considered a manager. As such, the court reversed the grant of summary judgment, allowing the plaintiff to move forward in her suit against the defendant.

If you are looking for a new hobby in Arizona, you might want to think about one that takes place outdoors. With the vastness of the state, the variety in the landscape found here, and the outdoor opportunities already in place, enjoying nature in and around Phoenix may be just the thing for you.

Many businesses have come to this realization in recent years and have capitalized on the adventurous spirit of those who live in Arizona by crafting new and exciting ways to enjoy the scenery. Among them, the zipline industry seems to have popped up overnight with multiple locations and types of ziplining crisscrossing the state.

Perhaps you have been thinking about ziplining one of these weekends or maybe your kids are dying to go with their friends. If you have given any though to ziplining, have you considered the safety implications that go with the activity?

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Personal injury lawyers face similar questions every day because most people are unaware of Arizona laws and how those laws affect them. What happens if they are injured? What if the injury occurred at someone’s home instead of in a car accident or in a public setting? Can that victim still obtain relief?

Fortunately for those who reside in the Phoenix area, victims are protected and are guaranteed protections under local and state laws. Those who are injured at a private residence, like the home of a friend or family member, may be able to seek and obtain relief for their injuries and for the suffering they endure. The facts surrounding any incident that led to harm are important as they will determine whether a legal claim is viable and if so, who is responsible for the harm done to a victim.
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It is the duty of every building owner to make sure that the premises, both inside and out, are safe and do not present an unreasonable threat of harm to those people who may encounter them. This can mean erecting a safe building initially, performing regular inspections to ensure that nothing has deteriorated, and making repairs and improvements when necessary. Failing to keep a building in a safe and reasonable manner may lead to liability on the part of a building owner, the operator of an establishment, or someone who rents the premises, depending on the facts of a particular incident.

If a victim is hurt in a premises liability accident in Phoenix, that victim must seek his or her own relief within the time period specified by Arizona law. Failing to do so will prevent the victim from obtaining any compensation or other damages to which the victim may be entitled. Speaking with a personal injury lawyer in Phoenix may help you understand if you have a valid claim, and if so, who may be liable for the damages you suffered.

An investigation is ongoing into an incident that occurred Sunday at the Mesa Arts Center that left a 61-year-old woman seriously injured. According to witnesses, the woman, a tourist from Germany, was at the center with several other people when she stepped upon a metal grate in a corner of the floor. For reasons that are not clear, part of the grate collapsed and gave way, causing the woman to fall below it and land on a subfloor.

Officials report that the victim fell approximately 25 feet before landing, during which time she sustained a broken leg and injuries to her head. It is unclear whether she sustained any other damages or what her prognosis is at this time, but emergency crews responded to the incident and transported the victim to an area hospital for treatment.

Authorities at the Mesa Arts Center reportedly are unsure of what caused the portion of the grate to fall but they have indicated that repairs will be made as soon as possible.
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On Wednesday morning, a construction accident occurred in Mesa as crews worked on the new State Route 24 Gateway Freeway. The incident left one worker dead and another seriously injured and in the hospital.

Four men were working on a bridge for the freeway which will connect the Loop 202 with Ellsworth Road. At about 5:45 a.m. and while they were removing some cribbing, some bridge supports collapsed on two workers. One, a 43-year-old Peoria resident, died while a 20-year-old man suffered serious injuries. The other two workers were not hurt and did not require medical treatment.

The men worked for a contractor out of Utah on the project and were removing temporary restraining walls, known as cribbing, on Wednesday. The use of cribbing is common in concrete construction and holds the concrete in place while it dries. Once the concrete has hardened, the cribbing is removed and discarded. The supports are separate from the concrete itself so in this case, though the supports collapsed, the ramp and bridge were not damaged.

Construction is one of the most dangerous professions and unfortunately one of the jobs with the highest number of fatalities. Though rules and regulations governing construction sites exist and are designed to promote safety, accidents still happen and people still get hurt. These injuries can be severe as construction sites routinely have heavy equipment, large excavated areas, overhead product and material, and any number of employers and companies.

When injured in a construction accident, it can be difficult to determine who is at fault and whether you have a claim for your injuries. This is one reason it is a good idea to speak with a professional and to learn about your legal rights.
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A 17-month-old child drowned in a Glendale pool after he used a doggie door to crawl outside of a relative’s house, according to local police. The child was found floating face down in the water and estimates put him there for about 15 minutes. Though rescue efforts, including CPR, were attempted, the boy died of his injuries.A similar incident happened recently in Mesa where another child crawled through a doggie door and got access to a backyard pool. That child also died, leaving experts to alert parents to the dangers doggie doors may pose to small children.

Our hearts go out to the victims’ families in both tragic cases.

Children are often drawn to pools and other bodies of water which is why most states have laws regarding safety requirements for public and private pools. Arizona is all too familiar with pool drownings since the states sees the second most drownings each year. This is due to a combination of reasons, including the high number of pools per capital, the extended length of outdoor pool season due to the weather, the number of year-round pools, and general negligence on the part of pool owners, operators, and those supervising small children.

Swimming pool deaths are avoidable and can be prevented with proper safety procedures including a fence that cannot be breached by young children. As these recent drownings illustrate, though, a fence that uses a house or other building as one wall may not be sufficient if a child can find another route to access the pool.

The average doggie door is big enough to allow a child to pass through as easily as a dog. If a home has a doggie door that leads to a pool or to an area that provides access to a pool, officials now caution parents and others to lock the doggie door when children are home. If kids cannot access a pool, they will not be able to be harmed by the water.

The owner of a pool is responsible with making it a safe and secure area that is not able to be accessed by others, including small children. If an owner fails to keep a pool secure or allows a child unauthorized or unintended access to the water, the owner may be liable for any injuries the child sustains. This can include medical and rehabilitative bills in the case of an injury or damages for loss of the life of a child who drowns in the water.
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In what is being labeled as a freak accident, a 30-year-old man lost his life at an indoor trampoline park after suffering spinal cord injuries in Phoenix.

According to The Arizona Republic, the man broke his neck after falling into a foam pit inside one of the half-dozen trampoline parks that have emerged in the Phoenix area in recent years. The sites have been a magnet for recreation-seekers of all ages, but have also, according to the newspaper, been the site for a number of injuries – everything from strained muscles to fractured bones.

While both the trampoline park is conducting its own investigation into what happened, the park remains open.

Our Phoenix injury lawyers want everyone to keep in mind that government oversight of these type of facilities is minimal, as this is a somewhat new genre. Many of these parks have not only trampolines, but dodge ball, Velcro walls and basketball hoops. City and county officials don’t inspect for much more than fire hazards or the safety of the actual structure. Inspectors are not looking at whether the equipment is safe for play, according to the newspaper article.

The centers have cropped up across the state, with two in Phoenix, one in Peoria, one in Scottsdale, one in Glendale and three in Chandler. In the last two years, some of these centers have had more than 30 calls for an emergency ambulance.

Unlike gymnastics centers, these trampoline parks might not require their staff to acquire any sort of safety certification.

Patrons are often required to sign a waiver, freeing the park of any liability if you get hurt. There is at least one case, though, in which The Republic is reporting the parents of a 17-year-old are suing, saying someone other than the teen’s legal guardian signed the paperwork to play in the park. That teen ended up with a broken ankle.

Additionally, the parents of a 16-year-old are suing one of the parks for negligence after she broke her leg.

In another case, the mother of a 10-year-old boy told a reporter her son may need more than $50,000 worth of dental work over the course of his life, after suffering an injury at one of these parks.

In the fatal fall suffered by the 30-year-old man, the victim reportedly broke his neck, and later died, after falling into a pile of foam cubes after jumping on a trampoline.

Spinal cord injuries in Phoenix aren’t always fatal, but they can be devastating and require years of intense physical therapy. A person may permanently lose certain capabilities, such as the ability to walk or use arms and hands. This type of injury can be especially painful for someone who was previously very active and full of vitality.

People who do survive an injury to the spinal cord will often have to cope with medical complications, such as bladder and bowel problems, chronic pain and increased chances of heart and respiratory problems.
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Arizona slip and fall attorney Gary Annes has settled a case on behalf of a woman who slipped and fell on a sheet of ice in the south suburbs of Chicago, Illinois. The incident occurred after a man hosed down his back porch in an attempt to clean up dog poop. He did this in freezing conditions which caused a sheet of ice to form. He then allowed the plaintiff to go out on the back porch to throw away some garbage and failed to advise her of the dangerous condition. She slipped and fell on the ice, landing on her right hand and for head.

Gary Annes settled the case
for the homeowner’s $100,000 insurance policy limits. The case was resolved without having to file a lawsuit, saving our client the cost of litigation.

Shortly after the accident, the defendant told our client he had been using his gated patio behind his townhouse as a small dog run. He admitted that the day before he had sprayed down the concrete slab patio to try to clean up dog excrement. Due to freezing temperatures the water turned to ice, and the ice was then hidden by a light snow. The homeowner also stated he intended to salt the area and forgot to do so.

After falling, our client had extreme right wrist pain and head pain. She was transported immediately after the accident to an emergency room. At the ER, she was examined and x-rays were taken. In addition to her wrist and head pain, she was dizzy and nauseous. Emergency room doctors noted a large contusion on her forehead and a deformity on her right wrist with tenderness.

X-rays showed she sustained a severely fractured wrist. She was also diagnosed with a closed head injury and post concussion syndrome. Doctors put her wrist in an immobilizer and she was prescribed medications for pain, and referred to a surgeon.

The next day she went to treatment at an orthopedic group where a physician reviewed her x-rays and examined her wrist. The surgeon observed a wrist deformity and significant swelling, and sent her back to the hospital for a CT scan.

Based on the CT results, an open reduction internal fixation surgical procedure was recommended. The surgery took place short time later at a different area hospital. A plate and screws were used to secure the fracture during surgery.

After the surgery, the plaintiff followed up with her physician on a regular basis for several months. A month after surgery her cast and staples were taken out and she was put into a splint.

She had limitations under doctors orders for a period of time, such as no heavy lifting. Her surgeon instructed her to do a home program that included exercises and stretching.

Even after she was done treating with her doctors, she still had pain in her wrist. The plaintiff’s pain is very noticeable when the weather changes, like when it is damp or cold, and she also experiences pain when lifting objects.

Due to the accident our client had in the area of $30,000 in medical bills, and she also has a scar on her right wrist.
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