If you are injured on another person’s property, you can bring a premises liability claim to recover compensation for your injuries and damages. North Carolina law places certain duties on landowners to ensure that different types of guests are protected from dangers on the property. The level of duty to warn or remedy a dangerous condition that a landowner owes to you depends on the reason that you are visiting the property. As such, premises liability cases can become complicated. The compassionate Charlotte premises liability lawyers at Maurer Law are available to discuss your potential case and how we can assist you.
Recently, the North Carolina Court of Appeal issued an opinion in a case involving a trip and fall injury. The plaintiff was attending a funeral at the defendant’s church. The defendant’s employees asked the plaintiff if he would be able to assist with carrying a casket as part of the ceremony. The plaintiff agreed. He followed the employees through the building, down a flight of steps, and out a back door. The plaintiff and three others carried the casket through the same doorway. The plaintiff was walking sideways to account for the casket when he tripped as he attempted to cross the threshold.
The trial court granted summary judgment for the defendant in the plaintiff’s lawsuit seeking damages. The trial court concluded that the nature of the danger, the steps leading in and out of the doorway, were open and obvious. It noted that the plaintiff had only moments before traveled through the same doorway when exiting the church to retrieve the casket. The plaintiff appealed and a divided panel of the Court of Appeals reversed. It concluded that there were genuine issues of fact regarding whether the nature of the steps leading into the building was an open and obvious danger.