What is the “Open and Obvious” Doctrine in Nevada

A business owner may be liable for an injury suffered from a slip and fall, even where the danger is open and obvious. In Nevada, slip and fall injuries commonly result in lawsuits filed against businesses with a premises liability lawyer.

What is the “Open and Obvious” Doctrine?

According to legal terms, the “open and obvious” doctrine is a defense often used by a premises liability lawyer in a premises liability lawsuit. The general rule is that the owner of a premises owes a duty of reasonable care to protect individuals from harm while on the premises. According to the open and obvious doctrine, an owner is only protected from liability if the danger on his/her property is open and obvious. The foundation for this rule is that the open and obvious danger serves as a warning to the person on the property, and the person is expected to recognize the potential danger and to protect himself or herself again harm. However, rules also state that if a situation on the property poses unreasonable danger, the owner of the premises must take precautions to protect people on the property, even if the danger is open and obvious.

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Premises Liability Infographic, Open and Obvious

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Slip and Fall Cases in Nevada

In a recent slip and fall case in Nevada, the Nevada Supreme Court clarified the open and obvious doctrine for Nevada business owners. In a recent case that involved slip and fall injuries, the business owner claimed a defense under the open and obvious doctrine. The plaintiff’s case was originally dismissed based on the application of the open and obvious danger rule.

On appeal, the Nevada Supreme Court reviewed the open and obvious doctrine and concluded that Nevada business owners are not free from liability based solely on the open and obvious danger rule, a common defense used by a premises liability lawyer. The Nevada Supreme Court focused on the newly adopted provisions found in the Restatement of Torts: Physical and Emotional Harm which states that a business owner owes a duty of reasonable care to people on the premises with regard to:

  • Conduct by the premises owner that creates risks to people on the property
  • Artificial conditions on the premises that pose risks to people on the property
  • Natural conditions on the premises that pose risks to people on the property
  • Other risks to people on the property that pose risks of harm

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