The Catch 22 of Speed Bumps in a Premise Liability Case
The speed bumps installed by many resorts, apartment complexes, and parking lots to slow down traffic and improve safety can, ironically, pose a safety risk themselves. Legally speaking, property owners are required to exercise care to keep their properties free from dangerous conditions, and one of the most commonly known dangerous conditions is—according to case law—an uneven floor level, curb level, or pavement level. Speed bumps that are improperly installed or painted can be classified as such, as they frequently cause people to trip and fall. Our Philadelphia premises liability attorneys explain:
In the last three decades, we have received a number of calls from pedestrians who stepped off a sidewalk or onto a roadway and slipped and fell on a speed bump, causing them to break an arm or leg. Of course, whether or not liability exists depends on the unique circumstances of each case, and whether or not the condition is ultimately deemed dangerous and the proximate cause of the accident.
How Speed Bumps Control Traffic and Ensure Customer Safety
If a speed bump is not clearly visible to a pedestrian, liability may exist. This would be the case, for example, if a pedestrian were to slip and fall on a dark rainy night because a speed bump was not painted in an appropriately bright color and was improperly lit. If the speed bump blends in with the surrounding pavement and a pedestrian is injured by a fall, the property owner can be deemed responsible.
Speed bumps in the foreseeable path of pedestrians must comply with applicable codes and design standards and must be marked with safety color coding in order to contrast with the surroundings. In addition, they must be slip resistant. Oftentimes, speed bumps are not permanently affixed but are nailed or temporarily affixed to the asphalt in areas where pedestrians are prone to walk. This, too, would be considered a dangerous condition.
A victim or plaintiff who enters a premise owned, occupied, or operated by a business can be classified as a business invitee. A business invitee who enters the premises of another, at the expressed or implied invitation of the owner or occupier, is owed the highest duty of care to be protected against dangerous conditions that create an unreasonable risk of harm. If the owner or occupier knew or should have known about a safety hazard and did not exercise reasonable care, he or she may be liable.
A premise liability claim can succeed if the following conditions are met: 1) the owner or occupier had actual or constructive knowledge of a condition on the premises, 2) the condition posed an unreasonable risk of harm, (3) the owner or occupier did not exercise reasonable care to reduce or eliminate the risk, and (4) the owner or occupier’s failure to use such care proximally caused the victim’s injuries. Generally, in order to prevail on a premise liability claim, the plaintiff or victim must prove that the defendant possessed, owned, occupied, or controlled the premise where the injury occurred.
Contact the Philadelphia Premises Liability Lawyers of The Reiff Law Firm
The premises liability attorneys at The Reiff Law Firm have been recognized by their peers as having the highest possible rating in both legal abilities and ethical standards. They are consistently recognized as Pennsylvania Super Lawyers and are members of the National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Trial Attorneys.