Whenever a person enters another person’s property, he or she reasonably expects that the premises will be free of hazards. However, when a landowner fails to remove certain dangers, visitors can suffer a serious fall, resulting in devastating injuries.
A Blair County slip and fall lawyer could help you if you were harmed in a falling incident. A well-practiced personal injury attorney could establish your protections under the law, evaluate the actions of property owners, and demand appropriate compensation for all your losses.
Slips and falls are perhaps the most common way that people suffer injuries while visiting another person’s property. A careless mistake by a landowner could allow a dangerous situation to arise that places all guests in danger. Most slips and falls occur in one of two ways.
A serious fall may be the result of a temporary hazard. A common example is a property owner who fails to clear snow and ice from a sidewalk. Blair County winters are harsh, and landowners must remain vigilant to clear sidewalks after any snowfall or overnight freeze. Other temporary hazards can include standing water, loose carpeting, or overly slick floors.
The other cause of trips and falls are structural defects. Landowners must take proper care to ensure that all areas accessible to guests are safe. Potholes in parking lots, broken stairs, or loose hand railings can all cause severe injuries to unsuspecting visitors. An experienced attorney in Blair County could investigate the cause of the slip and fall to determine if the landowner is liable.
These injuries are considered premises liability claims. In Blair County, a claimant and their lawyer must prove the property owner failed to prevent hazards that could result in a slip and fall. However, a landowner owes different levels of protection to different types of guests. Pennsylvania law identifies three classes of visitors:
Invitees enter a property for the benefit of the landowner, such as customers at a store. Landowners must actively inspect their land for any dangerous conditions, and exercise reasonable care to prevent injury. Liability can be established by showing that the landowner knew of the problem, or reasonably would have discovered it during an inspection, and failed to take steps to address the defect.
Licensees are people who receive an invitation to enter land for an express purpose, such as social guests and delivery personnel. Property owners have a duty to warn licensees about defects of which the property owners have actual knowledge. However, there is no requirement to conduct affirmative inspections, as with the duty to invitees.
Trespassers enter land without the permission of the owner, or enter upon portions of the property beyond that which is permitted. Trespassers can only collect payments if the injury was the result of wanton or willful misconduct by the landowner.
Landowners may argue that they did not owe a visitor any duty of protection, or that the claimant contributed to his or her accident. If the plaintiff was distracted by a cell phone, was not wearing appropriate shoes, or disregarded a warning sign, this may impact his or her claim. Under 42 P.S. § 7102, courts must reduce a plaintiff’s award by his or her percentage of blame. If the plaintiff is more than 50 percent at fault, no damages will be awarded.
Every landowner in Blair County owes certain duties to people who enter the land. However, the level of this protection changes based on the visitor’s status. In some situations, proof of an intent to cause harm will satisfy the court, while in others require proving negligence.
A Blair County slip and fall lawyer could help you pursue claims for appropriate payments following a falling accident. Whether these incidents were the result of a temporary hazard, a structural defect, or an intentional trap, a knowledgeable attorney could protect your rights. Contact the office of Marcus & Mack today to schedule a consultation.
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