In this article, you will learn…
- The types of accidents that fall under the category of premise liability.
- What information is critical to collect for a premise liability claim.
- The possible damages that can be recovered in a Pennsylvania premise liability claim.
What Accidents Or Incidents Fall Under The Category Of Premises Liability In Pennsylvania?
Premises Liability claims could be triggered by an injury caused by one of the following:
- Slip and fall
- Trip and fall
- Hanging item falling on you
- Any injury preventable by the exercise of reasonable care
- And more…
We had a case years ago where a church youth group rented an inflatable obstacle course for kids, but they did not put mats around it. The mats were to be placed around the inflatable as protection in the event that a child fell out of the bouncy house. The lack of mats created an unsafe condition that resulted in a child suffering a permanent traumatic brain injury due to falling on his head onto the hard floor.
We filed a lawsuit against both the lessor of the inflatable obstacle course and the lessee. The lessee was at fault because they failed to create a safe condition for the participants and invitees who were at the premises to use the inflatable rides.
What Are Common Causes Of Slip And Fall Or Trip And Fall Accidents?
The most common causes of slip and fall accidents include:
- And others…
The most common causes of trip and fall accidents include:
- Uneven curbs
- Uneven sidewalks
- And others…
What Are Common Injuries That Result From Slip And Fall Or Trip And Fall Accidents?
Some common injuries resulting from slip and falls or trip and falls include:
- Broken bones
- Back injuries
- Head injuries
- And more…
What Information Is Critical To Gather For A Premise Liability Claim?
One of the most critical pieces of information you can gather for a premise liability claim is photographs of the condition of the property at the time of the accident. If you are unable to take a photograph due to the severity of your injury or because you do not have a phone, ask somebody who is present to take some photos.
They could also record a video for you. Photos and videos will preserve the scene for you and prevent the business from fixing an issue and denying it ever existed.
Sometimes when a person trips or slips and falls, they feel embarrassed and don’t want to say anything about it. When aches and pains start a day later and they go back to say what happened, they don’t have an incident report to document the incident.
It’s important to report your fall to the business when it happens so that they will do an incident report and document what happened. If it is a business that has video surveillance, such as a gas station, retail store, or hotel, you should ask them to preserve the footage of the incident as well.
What Damages Can Be Recovered In A Premise Liability Case?
If you are injured in a premises liability case, you may be entitled to recover…
- Medical expenses, both past and future
- Future wage loss
- Lost earning capacity
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of consortium for spouse
- And more…
What Factors Determine Whether Or Not The Property Owner Will Be Held Liable For My Slip And Fall Or Premise Liability?
Some factors that will determine whether or not the property owner will be held liable for your premise liability could include:
- What the premises looked like at the time of the accident
- What conditions existed at the time of the accident
- What the injured party was doing at the time of the injury
- What, if any, warnings were posted
- Whether there was a duty to warn
- Whether the premises owner should have known about the issue
- If reasonable care was exercised
- And more…
Who Is Potentially Liable If An Injury Occurs On A Rental Property In Pennsylvania?
The person or entity that rents the property and is in possession of the property at the time of the accident is generally the responsible party. A landlord is typically not at fault if they are out of possession of the property where an injury occurred.
If somebody has an issue in their rental property that they fail to tell the landlord about and that issue results in an injury, the landlord is not liable. However, if a tenant makes the landlord aware that there is an issue with the property and the landlord fails to resolve that issue, then the landlord could be held liable if the issue results in injury.
Determining liability for injuries at a rental property will be based on the factors of the specific incident, including what the landlord knew and what the landlord was responsible for doing in the situation. The landlord is given a certain amount of immunity if they are not in possession of the property, but they do still have certain responsibilities to keep the property safe.
If it is determined that the landlord is not liable and the injury happened to a guest of the tenant, the tenant could be held liable. For this reason, you should always communicate dangerous conditions to property owners.
What Duties Do Businesses and Hotel Property Owners Have Regarding Sidewalks And Parking Lot Conditions In Pennsylvania?
When there is snow or ice, business and hotel property owners have a reasonable amount of time to make the premises safe, which means:
- Clearing pathways or parking lots
- Salting pathways or parking lots
- Providing a safe walkway
- And more…
Business owners are not required to inspect their parking lots and sidewalks 24/7 to make sure there is not a drop of snow or ice. However, they are held to a reasonable standard to protect those on the property from harm.
What Steps Should I Take While On The Property If I Was Injured At My Hotel?
If you have been severely injured at a hotel, the steps you should take will include:
- Seek medical attention
- Report the incident to the business to create a report
- Collect photographs of the existing condition of the premises
- Call an attorney
- Ask the business to preserve security footage, if available
- And more…
If you are unable to take pictures due to your injury, it’s a good idea to have someone else take pictures for you. You also want to ensure that you have notified the business as soon as possible to create a report. Involving your attorney is also the best way to ensure you are preserving evidence for your premises liability case.
We are currently handling a case where a guest fell down a flight of steps at a hotel. She called an ambulance, which made a report documenting her injury on their premises, and had her sister take photographs of the staircase.
When she reached out to us, we were able to send in an expert to evaluate the condition of the stairs to determine if they were consistent with code or regulations. We also reached out to the property owner to request their security tape, which they failed to do.
The property owner’s failure to preserve the security footage will ultimately hurt their case if it ends up going to trial. The presumption will be that the security footage would have been harmful to their case. Even though we didn’t get the footage, having a record of requesting it and not obtaining it is still valuable evidence.
For more information on Premises Liability Injury Claims Across PA, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (717) 832-9824 today.