Premises Liability Attorney in Philadelphia
Premises Liability Lawyers
In an unfortunate aspect of day-to-day life, it is entirely possible that you may be injured when visiting someone else’s business or residence. Property owners or occupiers may be held legally liable for accidents on the premises due to their negligence.
The responsible party generally has a duty to keep their property free from unreasonably dangerous or hazardous conditions. A premises liability claim comes into play when an owner fails to maintain their property a reasonably safe condition.
If you have been harmed on someone else’s property in Philadelphia or elsewhere in Pennsylvania or New Jersey, you deserve to have experienced, dedicated, results-focused legal representation on your side to help you pursue the compensation you need and deserve for your injuries.
Contact The Levin Firm today to set up a free consultation with one of our Philadelphia premises liability lawyers to find out how we can help you.
What Do You Have to Prove in a Premises Liability Claim?
Premises liability claims generally fall under the negligence category. Therefore, in a premises liability claim, it is usually necessary to prove that the property owner or occupier owed a duty of care to visitors, customers, and others who come onto the property, and then breached that duty.
The duty that a property owner or occupier owes an individual who enters upon their property depends on the status of that individual. The law recognizes three types of visitors:
- Invitees include those, such as customers, who enter the property with the permission of the owner or occupier for the owner’s benefit. A property owner or operator owes an invitee a legal duty to maintain the property in a reasonably safe condition at all times.
- Licensees includes those who enter property with the permission of the owner or occupier, but for the visitor’s benefit. Examples of licensees include social guests, maintenance workers, or door-to-door salespersons. To them, a property owner or occupier owes a duty to warn of dangerous conditions that create unreasonable risks of harm. Legal liability assumes that the condition is known or should be known to the owner and the licensee is unlikely to discover the condition.
- Trespassers includes those who enter property without permission, with the exception of children, who are owed a higher duty of care. An owner or occupier of property generally owes a trespasser no duty of care except to refrain from intentionally, willfully, or wantonly inflicting injury, such as placing traps to injure unauthorized individuals.
In most premises liability cases, you must prove that the property owner or occupier breached their duty of care because they knew or should have known of the dangerous or hazardous, injury-causing condition, and therefore failed to maintain the property in reasonably safe condition. Failure to warn you about the condition is also an element of negligence liability.
For example, in a supermarket slip-and-fall case, it is typically necessary to prove that the supermarket failed to maintain the store in a reasonably safe condition because, for example, they knew of a wet floor and failed to clean it up. Another kind of liability occurs when a property owner should have known of a hazard on the premises and failed to reasonably investigate, inspect, or monitor the premises for hazards.
Common Types of Premises Liability Cases We Handle
The premises liability attorneys at The Levin Firm have helped injured clients in the Philadelphia area and throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey pursue their personal injury claims to obtain the financial recovery that they need and deserve. Some of the common types of premises liability claims that our firm handles include:
- Slip and fall accidents
- Trip and fall accidents
- Snow and ice accidents
- Dog bites
- Construction site accidents
- Elevator and escalator accidents
- Inadequate security
- Swimming pool accidents
- Amusement and recreational park accidents
- Exposure to diseases or toxic fumes or substances
No matter how you were injured on someone else’s property, our dedicated premises liability attorneys can help you pursue a claim for financial compensation and get the recovery you need and are entitled to.
How Can a Premises Liability Attorney Help?
If you are injured on someone else’s property due to their negligence, seeking compensation for your injuries can be a complicated and time-consuming process. The responsible party or parties may try to deny responsibility, or there may be various parties and insurance companies that may be available to pay you compensation, but are pointing the finger at each other.
Our premises liability attorneys can help you navigate the process of seeking compensation for your injuries.
A premises liability attorney can assist by first collecting the evidence necessary to pursue your claim. An attorney can contact the property owner or business operator to ensure that critical evidence, such as photographs, surveillance video, or accident/incident reports are preserved.
After thoroughly investigating your accident and building your case, an attorney can determine who may be liable for your injuries. An attorney can then begin the process of negotiating with these parties to try to reach a settlement of your claim.
Many premises liability claims are resolved in fair out-of-court settlements. If a settlement is not possible, however, our attorneys will be prepared to pursue your claim in court. This ensures that your lawsuit is timely filed while complying with all court deadlines and related technical procedures that can make or break a case. If your claim does go to trial, our attorneys will be ready to professionally argue your case to the judge or jury to seek a verdict and judgment in your favor.
Compensation Available for Injury Victims in Premises Liability Cases
If you have been injured in an accident on someone else’s property, you may be entitled to certain forms of compensation for your injuries. Personal injury compensation generally falls into one of two categories – economic damages and non-economic damages.
Economic damages compensate you for specific financial losses, particularly those that are easily determined by adding up medical bills, invoices, pay stubs, etc. Non-economic damages are intended to compensate an injured party for more subjective losses that cannot be calculated by referencing financial data alone.
Economic damages include:
- Past and future medical costs such as surgeries, hospital stays, doctor office visits, physical and occupational therapy, prescription medication, and durable medical equipment.
- Past and future lost wages and income for work that for missed work while you were at home recuperating from your injuries. It can also include the difference in income or earning potential if injuries prevent you from returning to your pre-accident job and you are forced to accept less-demanding work at a lower salary.
Non-economic damages include:
- Pain and suffering such as physical and emotional/mental anguish or distress caused by injuries.
- Loss of quality of life such as the inability to perform daily tasks or participate in activities enjoyed prior to the injury.
- Loss of consortium/companionship from a spouse or other family members.
What to Do If You’ve Been Hurt on Someone Else’s Property
When you are hurt due to a dangerous or hazardous condition on someone else’s property, consider these steps to protect your legal rights and to put yourself in the best position possible to receive maximum compensation.
- You should immediately contact the property or business owner to report the accident. If you are injured on a business’s property, particularly a medium or large corporation, completing a formal accident or incident report to document the accident is standard.
- You should also obtain the contact information of the property owner or operator, along with the contact information for their insurance company and their risk management officer or company, if they have one. If you are injured in an area with surveillance video, request that the people in charge preserve that footage. You or your attorney should also follow up soon after with a written request to safeguard all evidence relating to the accident, such as surveillance video and any written reports.
- It is advisable to take photos of the area where you were injured. In particular, try to take pictures of whatever negligent condition that caused the accident and injury, such as a patch of ice, a wet spot on the ground, or broken tile or pavement. You should also photograph the surrounding area to document whether any warning signs were present or whether there was anything that was obstructing your view of the hazard that caused the accident. You should also take pictures of lighting and weather conditions at the time of your accident.
- You should seek medical attention as soon as possible after the accident. Even if you do not feel at first like you were injured seriously, internal or soft tissue injuries can take days, weeks, or even months to manifest symptoms but may still be identifiable through medical examination. A timely diagnosis and treatment could make all the difference in your health and the outcome of your claim. Obviously, upon suffering a serious injury, calling 911 or heading to the emergency room for immediate care should be your first priority.
- You should consult an experienced premises liability attorney to help you pursue your claim. Proving fault in a premises liability claim can be a complex, fact-intensive effort. A knowledgeable, assertive attorney can make the process much smoother. They will know what evidence to collect and how to present it in a persuasive claim to pursue financial compensation for your injuries and losses.
Tips for Dealing with Insurance Companies After a Premises Liability Accident
Although a property owner or occupier may be legally responsible for premises liability claims, an insurance company will likely take over the defense and negotiations for settlement of your claims. As a result, you should be mindful of important facts in dealing with insurance companies after an accident on someone else’s property.
Even if the insurance company is offering to pay you money for your injuries, the insurance company is not on your side. Instead, it may be in the insurer’s best interests to offer a quick, low-ball settlement to make your case go away at minimal cost.
As leverage, the insurance company may try to use the fact that you have medical bills piling up or that you are out of work. Against that stressful backdrop, the first settlement offer is seldom the maximum amount of compensation that the insurance company is actually willing to pay.
For this reason, you should review any initial officer with an experienced premises liability attorney. A skilled legal professional can advise you as to what your claim is really worth and whether the proposed settlement represents a fair measure of compensation for your injuries.
An insurance adjuster may ask you to provide a recorded or written statement about how the accident happened. Don’t do it without the advice of your attorney. The insurance company is looking for information they can twist and use against you.
Time Limit on Premises Liability Claims
If you’ve been injured on someone else’s property and have a premises liability claim, you have a limited period in which to file a lawsuit to pursue your claim. This period is called the statute of limitations.
In both Pennsylvania and New Jersey, the statute of limitations for personal injuries arising from a premises liability claim is two years from the date of injury. If you fail to file your lawsuit in court before the statute of limitations runs out, your claim will almost certainly be rejected, and the courthouse doors will be permanently closed to you.
There are certain limited and technical circumstances in which the statute of limitations can be paused or “tolled.” For example, under Pennsylvania law, if a minor is the injury victim, the statute of limitations is tolled and only beings to run when the minor turns 18 years old.
The discovery rule is another potential reason for tolling the statute of limitations. In this scenario, the limitations period does not begin to run until a claimant knows or reasonably should know of the facts and circumstances giving rise to his or her claim.
It can be problematic to wait until the last minute to sit down with a premises liability attorney. Instead, seek legal counsel as soon as possible after your injury. Remember, these cases take time to investigate and prepare to give you the best chance at full compensation.
If your injury occurred on government property, be aware that there is a separate time limit for providing the appropriate government agency with formal notice of your claim and intent to sue. In Pennsylvania, this notice is required within six months of the date of your injury.
Talk to a Philadelphia Premises Liability Lawyer Today
If you have been injured while visiting someone else’s property, you may be entitled to seek compensation through a premises liability claim. Reach out to one of our premises liability lawyers at The Levin Firm today by scheduling a free consultation at our Philadelphia office to discuss your premises liability claim.
Contact us now to learn more about how our attorneys can help you seek the compensation and financial recovery you need and deserve. There are no legal fees unless we win your case.