Generally, a contractor is not liable for injuries to third persons that occur after the work has been turned over to the owner (such as in a slip and fall, trip and fall injury, or other premises liability case) particularly where the defect was open and obvious – otherwise known as a patent defect. In order for the rule to apply so as to relieve the defect’s creator of liability, the defective or dangerous condition causing injury must be one your injury lawyer proves the business owner is chargeable with knowledge. A defect is considered patent if the one who accepts a contractor’s work (owner) knew about the defect or would have discovered the defect had the owner completed a reasonable inspection. When your personal injury lawyer can prove that a business owner accepted work with knowledge that the work has not been done according to the contract, or where the defects that caused injuries were discoverable by reasonable inspection, the owner’s acceptance works as a waiver of defective performance. The slip and fall or trip and fall lawyer, then can only seek a claim against the business owner instead of the contractor.
However, where the completed building includes a defect that is not discoverable by inspection, or otherwise would not be obvious to the owner (known as a latent defect), then the contractor may also be responsible after completion.
This principle is known as the Slavin Doctrine after the Florida Supreme Court Case of: Slavin v. Kay, 108 So. 2d 462 (Fla. 1958).