Property owners have a duty to ensure that their premises are safe. To do this, they need to eliminate unreasonably dangerous conditions and maintain their property so that people stay safe when they visit.
If you recently sustained serious injuries while on another person’s property, you may be eligible to seek legal recourse from the careless property owner with the help of a seasoned personal injury attorney. A Cambria County premises liability lawyer could review your case and advise you on the best way to proceed for your unique circumstances.
What Kinds of Accidents Fall Under Premises Liability Law?
People have the right to expect that the homes or businesses that they visit will be safe. Property owners must remove unsafe conditions from their land, home, or business. Premises liability laws address instances where people incur injuries on another person’s property due to the negligence of the landowner, business owner, or landlord. Premises liability cases can involve commercial or residential property.
Some of the most common premises liability suits involve:
- Icy or snow-covered sidewalks and entrances
- Slip and falls from wet or slippery surfaces
- Electrical fires
- Poor lighting or safety measures
- Unfenced pools or other attractive nuisances
- Broken stairs or elevators
- Dangerous dogs
It is important to enlist the services of a local attorney who is experienced in a variety of premises liability cases. Depending on what caused the accident, different evidence would need to be collected and specific elements proved to establish negligence.
Proving Cambria County Property Owner Negligence
In a premises liability suit, an injured claimant would need to prove that the landowner was negligent. As with any other negligence claim, this requires a plaintiff to establish the four elements of negligence: (1) that the defendant owed the claimant a duty of care – which depends upon the claimant’s status as an invitee, licensee, or trespasser, (2) that the defendant breached that duty, (3) that the breach directly injured the claimant, and (4) that the claimant suffered compensable damages.
Property owners, or those who operate a business on another’s property, have a duty to keep their premise reasonably safe so that visitors, guests, tenants, licensees, and invitees, are not harmed. If they fail to keep their property safe, they breach the duty of care. If a claimant can prove that he or she was injured due to an unsafe condition on the defendant’s property, he or she may be able to recover damages.
Constructive and Actual Notice of a Hazard
The duty that a landowner owes to those upon the land depends on the status of the visitor. A business invitee is owed the highest duty of care, and a landowner has an affirmative obligation to conduct inspections of the property for the purpose of discovering any dangerous conditions. For instance, customers in a store are considered invitees, whether or not any purchases are made.
Licensees are those who enter upon the land of another, with permission, but not for financial reasons. This includes social guests. A landowner has a duty to warn licensees of any dangers of which the landowner has actual knowledge. The biggest distinction from the duties owed to invitees is the lack of a duty of inspection.
Trespassers are those who are upon another’s land without permission. This would include hunters traversing a property without first consulting the landowner. A landowner only has a duty to refrain from affirmatively creating hazards which could injure the trespasser.
A local lawyer could help by discussing your legal status as an occupant upon the land, and by taking a close look at the property where the accident occurred to check for any hazardous conditions. A skilled attorney could then determine if the property owner or store operator knew or should have known about the hazard, either through actual notice or constructive notice.
A property owner has actual notice of an unsafe condition when he or she was aware of the danger. Premises owners have constructive notice of a defect if a reasonable owner, who operates their property with ordinary care, would have known of it. If the unsafe condition is obvious, such as a broken front railing, then a property owner should fix it within a reasonable period of time. A Cambria Count attorney could interview witnesses and gather information to determine how long that unsafe condition had existed on the property, and if a reasonable property owner likely would have removed it before the injury occurred.
Contact a Cambria County Premises Liability Attorney Today
Premises liability cases often involve complex issues of causation and fault. It is essential to work with a team of dedicated attorneys who could stand up for your rights either in settlement negotiations or trial. If you believe that a property owner’s negligence caused your injuries, reach out to Cambria County premises liability lawyer. Call the office of Marcus & Mack to schedule your free case consultation.