You should not expect to come into harm’s way while visiting a retail store, public park, or someone else’s private residence. Unfortunately, not every property owner lives up to the standard of care he or she owes visitors, and their failure to maintain their land can sometimes lead to serious or even deadly injuries.
If you suffered harm on another person’s property, you may have grounds to file a civil lawsuit, and a State College premises liability lawyer could work with you to build a strong claim for recovery. Once retained, a qualified personal injury attorney could help you demonstrate civil liability, calculate all your recoverable damages, and seek fair compensation for them through an out of court settlement or at trial.
Property Owners’ Duty of Care
In certain cases, a property owner or manager may be strictly liable for any harm that befalls a legal visitor to that property. Specifically, any property that would be considered abnormally dangerous to a visitor, such as a yard with an aggressive guard dog that has bitten people in the past, may impose strict liability on a landowner in any ensuing civil case.
Otherwise, a plaintiff and his or her State College attorney must pursue compensation for an accident on another person’s property based on a theory of negligence. Any violation of a duty of care may qualify as negligence if it directly leads to a claimant’s injuries, but the particular duty of care that applies to a landowner depends on the status of the visitor.
Property owners owe the highest duty of care to invitees—people who visit land for reasons beneficial to the landowner, such as customers in a store—and must manage their property so that it is reasonably safe. This includes an affirmative requirement of conducting inspections. Licensees- such as social guests, neighborhood visitors, and unsolicited sales persons must be warned about any known dangers that may not be immediately apparent. Trespassers are those who enter the land of another without permission, and a landowner only has a duty to creating artificially dangerous conditions (such as traps) or from acting in a willful or wanton manner.
What Losses are Recoverable in a Dangerous Property Accident?
Various types of damages may be available in a typical property liability case. In an economic context, a plaintiff may be able to recover for medical expenses stemming from his or her injuries, lost wages from time he or she missed at work while recovering, any long-term loss of earning capacity from a permanent disability, and any damage suffered to his or her personal property. Recoverable non-economic damages typically involve physical pain and suffering, but they may also include other subjective harms like decreased quality of life and loss of consortium with a spouse.
Importantly, recovery may be limited in Pennsylvania if a plaintiff is found partially liable for his or her own injuries. According to 42 P.S. §7102, a court may reduce a claimant’s damage award by the same percentage of fault he or she is found to bear. If a plaintiff is more than 50 percent at fault, he or she will be unable to recover at all.
Furthermore, 42 P.S. §5524 sets a filing deadline of two years for anyone seeking damages for a personal injury to file suit. If a prospective claimant in State College fails to start his or her case, or have a qualified property liability lawyer do so for on his or her behalf before this deadline passes, his or her ability to recover compensation for that injury may be permanently lost.
Get in Touch with a State College Premises Liability Attorney Today
If you suffered harm due to a negligent property owner, knowledgeable legal guidance could help you hold the at-fault party accountable. A seasoned State College premises liability lawyer could guide you through every aspect of your case, and argue for fair compensation in either a court verdict or an out-of-court settlement. Take the first step towards civil recovery by calling today to set up your free consultation.