Claims that arise from injuries that you sustain in accidents can be categorized under the general umbrella of “personal injury.” However, there are more specific types of claims depending on now that injury occurred. For example, cases against doctors who cause injuries are called “medical malpractice” claims and cases against companies that sold dangerous products are called “products liability” claims. One common type of personal injury case is called “premises liability” and it involves a claim against a property owner whose negligence caused your injury.
Types of Accidents that can Lead to Premises Liability Claims
Many different accidents can happen on another party’s property, whether that property is commercial or residential. Some examples of accidents at the heart of premises liability claims include the following:
- Slips, trips, and falls
- Falls down stairs
- Falls from landings, balconies, or other heights
- Getting hit by falling objects
- Swimming pool or spa accidents
- Construction site accidents
- Toxic exposure
- Blasting or explosion accidents
- Assaults or robberies
Such accidents can happen in many different locations, including grocery stores, schools, retail stores, apartment or condo complexes, bars and restaurants, hotels and resorts, workplaces, and much more.
Any of these accidents can result in serious and often life-changing injuries for victims. Injuries can range from broken bones to brain or spinal cord injuries1 to severe burns, among many others. Victims are often left wondering who they can hold responsible for their extensive medical bills, pain and suffering, and other injury-related losses.
Negligence in Premises Liability Cases
When a party is negligent and causes injury, they can be held liable for the losses of the injured victim. This is no different in premises liability cases as negligent property owners can be ordered to compensate victims for their losses stemming from the accident. In order to be deemed negligent, property owners must have breached their legal duty to maintain their premises and keep it in reasonably safe condition for customers, visitors, and other guests.
Some examples of negligence that can lead to premises liability can include:
- Having worn or slippery flooring or carpets
- Allowing wet spills to stay on floors
- Not cleaning up debris from walkways
- Having dangerous stairways or broken railings
- Having unfinished or faulty electrical systems or wires
- Not having adequate security measures to protect guests
- Having unstable shelving
- Allowing any other defects or hazards to persist on the property
Note that a property owner may not defend against a premises liability lawsuit by simply claiming ignorance of the hazard or dangerous condition. Part of a property owner’s duty is to regularly inspect the property so that any potential risks can be identified and addressed. This includes performing routine maintenance and performing repairs on defects. If a property owner simply ignores the premises, it will not relieve them of liability if an injury occurs.
Instead, in this situation, the injured victims must demonstrate that the property owner should have known about the hazard if they had taken reasonable care. For example, imagine that a jar fell in a grocery store and spilled liquid all over the floor. You subsequently slipped on the liquid and fell, suffering a serious back injury. You would have to show that a reasonable store owner or manager would have discovered the spill in the time before you fell and would have cleaned it up or warned visitors of the possible fall hazard.
Statute of Limitations in PA
Pennsylvania law2 does not give you an indefinite period of time to file a claim against a property owner for premises liability. Instead, you only have two years from the date of the injury to file your lawsuit. In this time, you must gather evidence of the property owner’s negligence and of your losses, as well as prepare your complaint to file with the court. Because time is limited, you should discuss your case with an experienced lawyer as soon as possible.
Consult with a Philadelphia Premises Liability Attorney Regarding Your Case
Premises liability cases can be significantly different than a case involving other types of accidents. You need to have an attorney handling your case who specifically understands how to prove negligence in a premises liability claim and who can help you hold business and property owners fully liable for the injuries you suffered and losses you incurred. At The Levin Firm in Philadelphia, we have the resources needed to take on claims against businesses large and small and we are committed to fighting for your rights. Please call our premises liability lawyer at 215-825-5183 today to learn more about our services for free.