Many Hawaii residents are not fully aware of the responsibilities that business owners hold toward the individuals who frequent their establishments. Owners and operators are expected to maintain a safe and secure environment for all those who are present at that place of business. These responsibilities may take a different form depending on the type of business, but the core remains the same. When these duties are not properly met, premises liability offers an avenue of legal recourse that extends far beyond simple accidents such as shopping center and balcony falls.
An example of a premises liability case can be found in the recent news story of a 68-year-old woman who was injured while on a zip line course in Kualoa Ranch. The woman was part of a small group of ranch employees and their relatives who were testing a new section of line. The injury took place when the woman crashed into a man who had become stuck on part of the zip line.
The new section of zip line stretches for miles, and is designed to take more than two hours to complete. A man became stuck on the line after failing to achieve sufficient speed to reach the end. An employee was sent out to retrieve the man, and other employees prepared to communicate that fact. However, the batteries on one of their radios were dead, leaving them to use hand signals to try and communicate. As a result, one employee sent the woman out onto the line with no knowledge that there was another individual still on that stretch of cable.
The collision left the Hawaii woman with a serious hip injury that required emergency medical treatment. There is no word on whether the man who was struck was also injured. The case offers a prime example of a company that failed to properly ensure the safety of it’s guests. Not only did the management allow guests to test a newly built section of cable, the employees overseeing the activity did not have the proper communications equipment. The resulting accident demonstrates that premises liability cases can focus on many things other than simple slips, trips and balcony falls.
Source: Honolulu Star-Advertiser, “Zipline collision at Kualoa Ranch injures woman, 68”, Leila Fujimori, Dec. 18, 2014