When a person is injured on a property because the property has not been properly maintained and managed, the owner or operator of the property may be responsible for compensating the injured person.
In Pennsylvania and New Jersey, property owners are expected to keep the land and the buildings that are on the land safe for invited visitors. Beyond just slip and falls, premises liability cases can arise from a number of situations, including collapsed ceilings, collapsed buildings, lack of security; defective walkways; building code violations; work place injuries, harmful toxins, and construction site injuries to name a few. If you have been injured and would like a free and confidential evaluation from an experienced local personal injury lawyer, call GSGB at (215) 563-6067 today.
At GSGB, our personal injury attorneys have over forty years of experience representing people injured in premises liability cases. Whenever the person responsible for maintaining a property fails to ensure it is safe for people authorized to be on the property, and someone gets injured, a premises liability lawsuit may arise. There are many types of premises liability injury cases including:
Regardless of the type of case, a good personal injury lawyer knows how important a thorough investigation is. In order to prove negligence in a premises liability injury case, it must be proven that the victim was injured due to a dangerous condition and that the land owner knew about the dangerous condition and did not do anything about it, or should have known about the dangerous condition.
The first step is proving that it was a dangerous condition that caused the personal injury. The best evidence for proving a dangerous condition is photographs taken as close to the time of the incident as possible. As time passes after the incident, many things change preventing the opportunity to capture the area as it was when the injury occurred. Understandably, someone severely injured by a collapsed ceiling or icy parking lot may not think to take photographs right away, which is why a good personal injury lawyer will make sure a thorough investigation of the scene is done as soon as possible and photographs are taken and preserved.
Along with scene investigation, codes and ordinances can help establish whether or not the slip and fall or trip and fall was caused by a dangerous condition. Local codes often will regulate how buildings are expected to be built and maintained or how wide and tall curbs, sidewalks and walkways should be.
Next, it must be proven that the land owner either knew of the dangerous condition and did not do anything about it or should have known about it and did not. In plain English, this means that the land owner is responsible for reasonably inspecting the property to make sure it is safe.
If a slip and fall injury occurs because of a wet floor in a grocery store, a personal liability injury attorney must find out how the floor got wet, how long the floor was wet, who knew about it, and what was done to warn the public. Using this example, If the water was spilled by a shopper just seconds before another shopper slipped and fell, without any chance for an employee to do anything about it, then the supermarket is not liable. But if the spilled water sat on the floor in the aisle for a long enough time that employees should have noticed and done something about it, then the supermarket is much more likely liable.
Rarely are premises liability injury cases as simple as the above example and the circumstances vary from case to case. If you have sustained a premises liability injury, contact a personal injury attorney at GSGB today for a free and confidential case evaluation.
Often, there are many parties beyond the land owner or shop owner that may be liable for premises liability injuries. The question is who was responsible for maintaining the property at the time of the incident? Without any agreements or contracts, this is usually the land owner, but in many cases leases or other agreements dictate who is responsible, in addition or in place of the land owner, for maintenance of the area where the premises liability injury occurred. In a multi-unit commercial property, like a trip mall, many land owners are out of possession. In this case, absent any agreements stating otherwise, the land owner is generally responsible for maintaining the common areas of the property, like the parking lots and hallways, while the tenant is responsible for maintaining the specific unit they are leasing.
In many cases, land owners contract with other companies to maintain the property. In this case, the language in the contract is important in determining who was responsible for ensuring the premises were safe for individuals to enter upon.
Disclaimer: This website is for informational purposes only. It is not legal advice and nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual care or situation. GSGB has offices in Philadelphia, Wayne and Voorhees and serves clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.