“Premises liability” is a common legal name for personal injury cases where you are hurt on someone else’s property. “Premises” is a helpful word for “property,” as in real estate, since it keeps it separate from “property” as in the physical things and items you own. “Liability” refers to the legal responsibility for an injury. It’s far easier to understand what premises liability is with examples of the types of accidents this covers. If you or a loved one was injured in an accident listed below, or a similar accident on someone else’s property, contact the Philadelphia premises liability lawyers at The Reiff Law Firm today.
How Does a Premises Liability Case Work in PA?
Being injured on someone else’s property can often justify suing them in court. However, there must first be some proof that the accident was the property owner’s fault. Proving “negligence” is enough to hold the property owner responsible – or “liable” – for your injuries. Proving negligence requires showing 4 factors in court:
- The property owner owed you a duty to keep you safe;
- The owner breached that duty;
- The breach caused your injuries; and
- You suffered injuries the court can compensate you for (“damages”).
Property owners usually owe guests to their property a very specific duty: the duty to warn of or repair hidden dangers. This means protecting guests from things like uneven staircases or rotten floorboards. The property owner must either repair the danger or warn guests about it. If they fail to do so, and you get hurt, courts will often hold them responsible for your injuries.
Examples of Premises Liability Cases
The typical examples that most people know for premises liability cases are slip and fall and trip and fall cases. Many attorneys even focus their practice on slip and fall cases, since they are so common. Especially in the winter months, it becomes more and more common for people to fail to shovel their sidewalks, salt wet surfaces, and help prevent slips on icy surfaces. If you are injured from a slip and fall, you may be entitled to sue the property owner for damages.
Trip and falls are also common accidents related to slip and falls. In many of these cases, temporary or permanent obstacles on the property create an unnecessary risk of snagging your foot and knocking you down. Protruding tree roots, loose audio-visual cables, or even the power cord for a vacuum cleaner can all easily cause someone to trip and fall.
Another common premises liability issue is poor upkeep for things like decks, porches, and other outdoor surfaces. Moisture and cold weather, plus the possible effects of termites and other pests, may damage the integrity of a wooden deck. If left untreated, unrepaired, and unmonitored, guests may suddenly find themselves in the middle of a deck collapse accident. With splintering or broken wood combined with the fall, these accidents can cause serious injuries.
Poor upkeep for staircases and hand railings can also cause issues. Many commercial buildings like concert venues, nightclubs, and restaurants may have multi-level designs with handrails, staircases, and other elevated platforms. If these stairs are poorly lit, unstable, or broken, guests can easily fall and suffer injury. Broken or loose handrails may collapse, and patrons can suffer catastrophic injuries after a long fall. Even simple staircases in apartments, homes, or office buildings can suffer structural damage after years of use. Poor lighting or uncleared debris and trash can also contribute to dangers of unsafe staircases.
Most household accidents happen in the kitchen. If you are injured in your kitchen, that may just be poor luck. However, if you are injured while you are a guest at someone else’s house, the property owner and their homeowner’s insurance may need to pay for your injuries. People often understand the quirks of their own kitchen, but they may not be aware of hidden dangers or unique issues in a friend’s kitchen. If the property owner fails to warn you or repair certain issues, and you are injured, you may need to file a lawsuit to cover your medical bills and pain and suffering.
These examples are by no means the only premises liability accidents. Any time you are injured on someone else’s property, whether it be a home or a business, you may be able to sue them for you injuries. If the accident was caused by the premises owner’s failure to warn of dangers or repair them, you may be entitled to damages for your injuries.
Philadelphia Premises Liability Lawyers
If you or a loved one was hurt on someone else’s property, talk to a premises liability attorney about your case. Especially if you fell and suffered serious injuries like broken bones, brain injuries, or back injuries, you may be entitled to significant compensation for your medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering. For a free consultation on your potential case, contact the Philadelphia personal injury lawyers at The Reiff Law Firm today at (215) 246-9000.