When you’re injured as a result of unsafe or defective conditions on another party’s property, you have the right as a Pennsylvania citizen to hold that party accountable for their negligence. The Philadelphia premises liability lawyers at Shrager & Sachs understand the legal responsibilities business and property owners have to the general public. We strive to help victims obtain full and fair compensation for the individual acts of negligence committed by the property owner.
In order to navigate the complexities of premises liability litigation, you’ll want a dedicated legal team backing you. You’ll also want to have some general knowledge of your rights, so you can make the best decision for you and your family. In order to understand the related laws in Pennsylvania, let’s start by examining the most common type of property accident – slips-and-falls.
According to the National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI), eight million visits are made every year to emergency rooms for injuries related to falls. Slip and fall-specific accidents account for 12 percent of all falls.
Causes for slip-and-fall accidents related to premises liability often involve surface conditions and environmental conditions. Surface conditions include uneven surfaces with no warning signs, loose floorboards or rugs – especially on stairs, spilled liquids or splashed grease on floors, unsalted sidewalks in winter, and potholes in parking lots. Environmental conditions include debris on the floor, improper lighting, cords across walkways, and improperly transitioned flooring.
If you find yourself the victim of a slip-and-fall accident there are steps you should take to begin building your strongest legal case.
- Seek medical treatment as soon as possible. You’ll want to have official documentation of your injuries, especially if you decide to seek compensation for them.
- Report the accident to the owner of the premises. Have a report written up and request a copy to give to your lawyer.
- Document everything regarding your accident, no matter how insignificant it may seem. You’ll want to record contact information for potential witnesses, the date, time, and location of your accident, your injuries, and photographs of the hazard that caused your fall.
- Avoid providing insurance companies with any statements until you’ve spoken with a lawyer. Do not post any of the details of your accident on social media.
- Contact one of our lawyers. Slip-and-fall cases can be incredibly complex. We have the knowledge and experience needed to successfully represent you.
Additional Premises Liability Claims
In addition to slip-and-fall accidents, there are a number of other reasons someone may choose to file a premises liability claim. The most common premises liability cases include:
- Swimming pool accidents
- Poor property maintenance
- Ice and snow accidents
- Dog bite injuries
- Elevator or escalator accidents
- Inadequate building security
- Amusement park accidents
- Restaurant accidents
- Casino accidents
- Construction accidents
- Exposure to toxic chemicals or fumes
Essentially, a property owner can be legally held accountable for your injury if your attorney can prove negligence. Proving negligence is a four-step process. It must be shown that the property owner has a duty to keep you safe, the owner breached that duty, the breach lead to your injuries, and your injuries are compensable.
Pennsylvania’s Property Owner Laws
In Pennsylvania, property owners are legally required to ensure their property is safe for visitors. This is called a duty of care. According to the state’s law, property owners are obligated to protect three types of visitors: invitees, licensees, and trespassers.
Invitees. When someone has implied or expressed permission to enter a residence for business or social reasons, they are owed the highest duty of care by property owners. With invitees, property owners must correct known and unknown hazards.
Licensees. A licensee is anyone who enters a property under the authority of the law. This includes law enforcement, firefighters, emergency medical responders, etc. The obligation on the part of the property owner exists only for known hazards with this group of visitors.
Trespassers. Trespassers are individuals who have not been invited to visit a property. While there is no legal obligation to protector this group of visitors from known or unknown harm, property owners are not allowed to purposely cause harm or injury to a trespasser. In the event of children trespassers, property owners are supposed to ensure their property is safe.
Philadelphia’s Property Code
In addition to Pennsylvania’s property laws, the city of Philadelphia has their own Property Maintenance Code. This code protects the public with requirements for existing structures and lands. Property owners are responsible for the maintenance of the following conditions:
- Protection from natural elements
- Protection from fire and other hazards
While you, as an individual, have a right to take action against a property owner guilty of violating the city’s code, towns, cities, and counties also have the legal right to penalize the offending owner.
Understanding Your Rights with a Premises Liability Lawyer in Philadelphia
Premises liability accidents are only proven after extensive investigation and fact gathering, and when the broken laws have been determined. We’re prepared to put the necessary work in to prove your injury could have been prevented. We’ll be sure to handle all the complex paperwork, meet the required deadlines, and treat you the way you deserve to be treated.
At Shrager & Sachs, we’ve been assisting our clients with their legal matters since 1978. We serve clients in the following counties and the surrounding areas: Berks, Delaware, Elk, Lycoming, Montgomery, and Philadelphia. If you are interested in pursuing a premises liability case or have questions about your accident, contact us to schedule a free case evaluation.