Can You Sue Bars and Restaurants for Premises Liability in Philadelphia?
Bars and restaurants can be held liable if you are injured while on their property. Property owners are required to keep their premises free from any hazardous conditions that can cause a visitor to suffer an injury. Under some circumstances, a restaurant owner could even be liable for injuries a trespasser suffered while on their property. If you or a family member was injured at a bar or restaurant, you should consult with an experienced Philadelphia premises liability lawyer. At The Reiff Law Firm, our lawyers can help you file a lawsuit against a negligent property owner that injured you. Our lawyers explain whether you can sue bars and restaurants for injury in Philadelphia.
What is Premises Liability?
Premises liability refers to an area of law involving the duty property owners owe visitors and, sometimes, trespassers. As mentioned, property owners have a duty to correct dangerous conditions on their property that could injure guests. Failing to correct dangerous conditions may leave the property owner open to a premises liability lawsuit.
There are three types of guests that can be present on a landowner’s property:
- Invitees – Invitees are people who enter a landowner’s property to bestow a financial benefit upon the landowner, e.g., a customer or client.
- Licensees – Licensees are individuals brought onto a property solely for the licensee’s benefit, not the invitee’s benefit, e.g., an overnight house guest.
- Trespassers – Trespassers are people who enter a landowner’s property without their knowledge or consent, e.g., a burglar.
Most people who enter a bar or restaurant are there to drink, dine, or both, and they will be thought of as invitees.
Owners of a bar or restaurant will have the highest duty of care to invitees. This means that the property owner must actively search their premises for hazardous conditions and correct them to avoid injuring an invitee. If a restaurant owner cannot currently correct the dangerous condition, they must warn an invitee of the danger and exercise reasonable care to avoid injuring an invitee.
An example of using reasonable care would be placing a wet floor sign over an area of the bar where one or several drinks were spilled to prevent a slip and fall injury. This would likely suffice to tell bar patrons that they should avoid that area of the bar. There are few circumstances where a property owner can claim they were unaware of a dangerous condition or that it was unforeseeable that the dangerous condition would occur.
If you were trespassing at the restaurant or bar when you were injured, you might still be able to recover compensation for your injuries. Property owners do not have liability for what happens to a trespasser on their property unless the property owner exhibited “willful negligence,” also known as “recklessness.” For example, if a restaurant owner ignored broken glass left on the floor at the end of the night and a trespasser cut themselves on the glass, the restaurant owner may be liable for the trespasser’s injuries.
If you need to know more about how premises liability claims are triggered, an experienced Philadelphia personal injury attorney can help you with your claim.
How to Prove a Restaurant Owner is Liable for Your Injuries
Knowing what your status is when you are on another person’s property will help determine what you need to prove to show they were liable for your injuries. There are different duties the property owner owed you, depending on the status you possessed when you were injured at a restaurant.
As mentioned, individuals who visit a bar or restaurant to utilize their services will be considered invitees. To prove a restaurant owner is liable for injuries caused on their property, an invitee must show:
- The restaurant owner knew or should have known about the hazardous condition on their property.
- The restaurant owner was negligent for not correcting the hazardous condition or at least warning patrons of the condition.
- You suffered an injury because the hazardous condition was not corrected, or you were not warned about it.
Trespassers do not possess many rights when they enter a restaurant owner’s property without consent. The restaurant owner only needs to avoid recklessly injuring the trespasser.
Our Philadelphia Personal Injury Attorneys Can Help You File a Claim Against a Negligent Bar Owner
If you or a family member was injured while visiting a bar or restaurant, you should speak with an experienced Philadelphia personal injury attorney. At The Reiff Law Firm, our diligent attorneys are prepared to help you build your case against a negligent property owner. It is better to file your personal injury lawsuit as soon as possible to ensure evidence is not lost or destroyed or before an important witness’s memory begins to fade. To schedule a free consultation for your case, call us at (215) 246-9000.