In a small city like Pittsburgh, we rely closely on our neighbors in our tight-knit communities. Many of us have grown up together and as we grow older together we learn to work together and have respect for one another. We also rely on our neighbors to shovel the snow and ice off of their walkways during our long winters, properly maintain their properties, and respectfully manage their pets. Most of our neighbors perform these duties, but unfortunately that is not always the case. Premises liability injuries could stem from private property owners or commercial property owners (restaurants, grocers, businesses, venues, etc.)
Too often people suffer injuries as the result of a negligent neighbor or property owner. Most people will end up suffering for their injuries without ever making an attempt to hold the responsible party accountable.
Premises liability accidents – or, to be more specific, slip and fall accidents – account for more than 40 percent of all spinal injuries in the U.S., according to HG.org. By contrast, motor vehicle crashes account for about 35% of back injuries.
Statistically speaking, approximately one in ten of all lawsuits are related to premises liability, while nearly 98% of all such lawsuits are decided by a jury, which is why the importance of hiring a premises liability accident attorney in Pittsburgh or elsewhere in Pennsylvania cannot be overstated.
What is Involved in a Premises Liability Case?
In Pittsburgh, a typical premises liability accident lawsuit is settled within about 24 months, while the average settlement or award for such cases is about $100,000, but can be substantially higher when the plaintiff is represented by a premises liability accident lawyer in Pittsburgh or elsewhere in Pennsylvania.
Recovering damages in a premises liability case requires extensive knowledge of Pennsylvania premises liability law, as the victim needs to establish four elements in order to receive compensation for his or her injury sustained on someone else’s property:
- The owner of the property where the accident occurred owed the victim a duty of care. Whether or not the owner of the property where you were injured owed you a duty of care depends on your status as a visitor (more about it later).
- There was a dangerous or hazardous condition on the property. The condition should be one that the property owner knew or should have known about through the exercise of due diligence.
- The dangerous condition was a direct or proximate cause of the victim’s injury.
- The victim suffered damages as a result of the premises liability accident.
How to Identify Your Status as a Visitor on Someone Else’s Property
Your eligibility to seek compensation in a premises liability case depends on your status as a visitor on the property where you sustained your injury. There are three different categories of visitors under premises liability law:
- Invitee: If you were invited to enter the property for a lawful purpose, you are considered an invitee. The invitation can be either explicit or implied. For example, contractors are considered invitees.
- Licensee: If you have no contractual relationship with the owner of the property on which you were injured, you may be classified as a licensee. However, licensees still have express or implicit permission to enter the premises, and thus the property owner owes a duty of care to licensees.
- Trespasser: Trespassers are people who enter an owner’s property with neither express nor implicit permission to do so. However, as absurd as it may sound, even trespassers are owed a certain duty of care. For example, it is prohibited by law for property owners to set up dangerous conditions or traps intentionally to cause harm to trespassers.
Types of Injuries from Premises Liability Cases
Our accident attorneys work with many people who have suffered injuries from a slip and fall ranging from a sprained ankle to spinal cord damage to wrongful death. Many victims have required hospitalization and rehabilitation and have not been able to work or perform their usual daily functions due to broken bones, dislocated joints, brain injuries and other serious injuries.
Are You Eligible to File a Premises Liability Claim?
What types of accidents on someone else’s property entitle you to compensation under the legal theory of premises liability?
Premises liability claims can involve the following types of properties:
- Public building (any building that is accessible to the public and is funded from public sources)
- Private homes
- Private properties
- Nightclubs, bars, movie theaters, and other entertainment establishments
- Cafes, restaurants, fast food joints, and other food-serving properties
- Vacant land
- Apartment complexes
- Public areas
- Grocery stores
- Beauty salons, barbershops, hair and nail salons
- Gyms, SPAs, and fitness clubs
Proving Fault in Premises Liability Cases
Most premises liability cases are not the easiest to prove. The victim of the accident has to be able to demonstrate that the property owner was negligent and that the owner was aware of the danger on their property or should have been aware.
If you have access to a digital camera or have a camera on your mobile phone, a good first step in collecting evidence is to take photos or videos as soon as possible. Gathering the names and phone numbers of any witnesses is a good second step.
The Pittsburgh injury attorneys at SMT legal understand how frustrating and painful it is to be in a serious accident.
Pittsburgh Premises Liability Attorneys
If you have been injured and are wondering whether you should file a premises liability claim, please contact our law office for a free consultation. Our premises liability attorneys handle all types of accidents including:
- Slip and Fall Accidents
- Dog Bites and Animal Attacks
- Dangerous Sidewalks
- Unsafe Conditions / Properties (steps – railings – decks)
- Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
- Inadequate Security (poor lighting, security cameras)
- Swimming Pool Accidents
Slips and falls may be caused by any of the following: icy sidewalks or business entrances, loose railings, uneven surfaces or loose carpet/rugs, unsafe stairwells, poor lighting, loose electrical cords or other obstructions, unsafe balconies, or wet or slippery flooring. If you or a loved one were injured in a slip and fall, contact our personal injury attorneys.