Slip & Fall Injury Attorney Portland, OR
“Slip and Fall” accidents are among the hardest claims to prove. This is because, unlike auto accidents where a rear-ended plaintiff cannot be held liable for the accident, in “premises liability” cases, the defense will always try to blame the plaintiff for “failing to maintain a proper lookout” or “assuming the risk” of the accident and the injury.
Fortunately, the law creates certain duties for “possessors” of property (leasers, owners, renters) depending upon the status of the person injured on their property. The two most important of these classifications are “licensees” and “invitees.”
A “licensee” is a person who, “with the [possessor’s] permission, comes upon a premises for the licensee’s own purposes, often social.”1In contrast, an “invitee” is a person who is invited to enter or remain on land for a purpose directly or indirectly connected with business or the financial gain of the possessor of the land.”2
This becomes important because if you were injured falling through the floor at your Aunt Mary’s house, you would be classified as a “licensee,” and Aunt Mary’s only responsibility was to protect you from hazards that she knows or has reason to know about.3
On the other hand, if you were shopping at Fred Meyer and you slipped on a grape in the produce section, your status would be that of an “invitee,” and Fred Meyer’s liability would have been to protect you from hazards they knew, or should have known about. So you see, because you were on the premises for Fred Meyer’s financial benefit, the store has a higher obligation to inspect and insurethat its premises are safe from dangers that are foreseeable, given the use of the premises.
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1. Nelsen v. Nelsen, 174 Or.App. 252, 256, 23 P.3d 424 (2001).
2. Restatement (Second) of Torts § 332(3) (1965); see also Cassidy v. Bonham, 196 Or.App. 481, 486, 102 P.3d 748 (2004) (applying that formulation).
3. Nelsen, 174 Or.App. at 258, 23 P.3d 424 (quoting with approval Restatement at § 342).
4. Mickel v. Haines Enterprises, Inc., 240 Or 369, 372 (1965).