Every property owner in Indiana, PA has an obligation to keep their land safe for visitors. As a result, many people believe that whenever they suffer an injury on another’s land that the property owner is liable to provide compensation, which is not always the case. True, people who suffer injuries while visiting another’s property may be able to collect compensation, but they must be able to show that a landowner was negligent in not providing proper protection.
A Western PA premises liability lawyer could help you establish that the landowner failed to take appropriate care under the circumstances. An experienced personal injury lawyer will work to gather evidence concerning the incident, apply that evidence to Pennsylvania’s premises liability laws, and pursue your claim for all appropriate compensation.
Examples of Premises Liability
A premises liability claim alleges that a defect in property causes a personal injury. A classic example is a slip and fall that happens when a landowner does not clear ice off of a sidewalk. Here, the landowner failed to keep their land safe for pedestrians who have a right to use that sidewalk.
Other premises liability cases allege that landowners are liable because they did not fix dangerous conditions on their land, including situations involving broken steps, defective hand railings, or even broken elevators.
Finally, landowners may be liable if they allow incidents to occur on their land because of poor security. Hotels should place locks on all doors, apartment complexes should limit access to residents, and even restaurants and bars should take steps to provide proper security measures. An Indiana, PA premises liability lawyer could help injured people to evaluate the actions of landowners to determine whether that landowner is responsible for an injury.
Proving Landowner Fault in a Premises Liability Case
Just because an injury occurs on the property of another party does not mean that that party is liable. Generally, injured plaintiffs must prove that a landowner knew or with a reasonable inspection should have known about the dangerous condition that caused the injury.
First, plaintiffs must establish their permission to enter the land in question. This can be either as a business patron or as a social guest on private property. In general, there is no duty on the part of landowners to protect trespassers. The only duty owed to a trespasser under Pennsylvania law is simply to warn of dangerous conditions on the property that the landowner knows about.
Second, a plaintiff must show that a landowner knew or should have known about a defective condition. This can include introducing evidence that a temporary hazard such as a spill remained on a floor for hours before a fall. Alternatively, a plaintiff may prevail if the landowner actively created the dangerous condition that caused the injury.
Finally, a plaintiff must demonstrate that a defendant did not take appropriate steps to remedy the situation. Examples can include not taking quick action to fix a temporary hazard, failing to place signs warning of a broken step, or failing to cordon off the affected area.
In all premise liability cases, a court must also examine the actions of the injured plaintiff. Because Indiana, PA is in a modified comparative negligence state, courts must utilize 42 Pa. C.S. §7102 to allocate negligence following an accident. If a court believes that a plaintiff is partially responsible for their own injuries, the court will reduce that plaintiff’s award by their percentage of fault. An Indiana, PA premises liability lawyer will help to prove the defendant landowner was at fault and protect plaintiffs from allegations of contributory negligence.
A Western PA Premises Liability Attorney Could Help You Following an Injury
Injuries that result from visiting another party’s property are surprisingly common. A landowner’s failure to shovel their sidewalks every morning, or to fix a broken stair in an entryway may cause severe injuries that throw your life into chaos. Even if you make a full recovery, your damages may be significant.
A Western PA premises liability lawyer could take the lead in your case to pursue just compensation. Contact us at Marcus & Mack today to schedule a free consultation with one of our skilled attorneys.