Most hold two common assumptions regarding the matter of liability: that property owners are responsible for what happens on their properties, and that individuals are responsible for their own actions. Yet what about when the two concepts merge? If you are injured by a person whose is an employee or agent of the owner of the property in Missoula the incident occurred on, who then would be responsible? Many have come to us here at Terrazas Henkel PC with this very question. Unfortunately, there may not be an easy answer to it.
As a state, Montana is known for its many fun and exciting recreational opportunities. Some of these opportunities may bring with them certain inherent risks. These risks may be due to the physical features or attractions involved, or the nature of the opportunities themselves. To help shield themselves from liability concerns, the providers of said opportunities may ask you (and other participants) to sign a waiver prior to your participation. Are such waivers enforceable?
When accidents occur on private property in Missoula, the common assumption is that the property owner is liable. That is what many of those that we here at Terrazas Henkel, P.C. have worked with come to us believing. If you share the same assumption, then you should know that your status on another's property plays a significant role in determining the duty of care that a property owner owes to you.
In the spring of 2018, Montana State Parks released a statement announcing the "temporary emergency closure for Smith River State Park due to unsafe floating conditions." The notice went on to explain how ice continued to jam some areas of the Smith River, creating an extreme hazard for anyone on the water.
As winter gives way to spring in Missoula, kids will no doubt take to the outdoors en masse to resume the many activities they miss out on during the colder months. Parents, of course, hope that their kids have good enough judgment to avoid playing in or around areas that might be dangerous, yet in many cases, that expectation may be unrealistic. Children (for the most part) simply do not have the same level of discernment adults do. Therefore, the responsibility to protect them from dangerous places falls to the parents and (somewhat surprisingly) property owners.
Determining damages in a slip-and-fall lawsuit can be difficult. When one is injured in such a case in Missoula, the impact that it can have may as small as having to miss a couple of days of work to as extensive as having the quality of his or her life affected. Then, of course, there is the emotional pain and suffering that must be considered. Deciding how much a plaintiff may be entitled to could potentially be more difficult then assigning negligence.