Pennsylvania property owners and managers must maintain the safety of their visitors by keeping their properties free from potential or apparent hazards. This applies to all types of properties, including businesses, residences, residential complexes, and public places. If the establishment welcomes guests, those guests have a legal right to assume their safety will be protected.
If you suffered injuries or lost a loved one because of preventable dangers on a property you rightfully visited, an Altoona premises liability lawyer can help you determine if you can hold the owner accountable for your damages. Contact Berger and Green today at (412) 661-1400 to discuss the details of your case with our legal team.
How Premises Liability Works in Pennsylvania
Each state has its own system for handling premises liability cases. In Pennsylvania, how a case is managed depends on its circumstances, such as if the danger was evident and if the claimant and the property owner share responsibility for the incident. Our lawyers will investigate your case so that we can take the appropriate steps in seeking financial recovery for you.
For a free legal consultation with a premises liability lawyer serving Altoona, call (412) 661-1400
As the Legal Information Institute (LII) notes, strict liability exists when a person is liable for an action, even if they did not willfully intend for it to happen. This concept applies in cases where the hazard was imminent and created a high risk for harm even if the victim exercised reasonable care to avoid it. In cases involving strict liability, victims often can recover compensation for their injuries from the property owner.
Altoona Premises Liability Lawyer Near Me (412) 661-1400
Another determination of the liability of the property owner involved proving that they acted negligently. Pennsylvania uses a comparative negligence law in premises liability cases, in which the court determines the percentage of fault of each of the parties involved.
If the property owner has a higher share of liability, the victim may be eligible for compensation. However, that amount may be reduced if the victim shares a portion of the fault. For example, if the victim is found 10% liable for the accident, they may receive up to 90% of the award amount.
If the victim has a higher percentage of liability for the injury than the property owner, they cannot pursue financial awards for their damages. An Altoona premises liability lawyer can calculate liability in your case to determine your eligibility for financial recovery.
Components of Premises Liability
Lawsuits based on negligence require the victim or their family to prove that the property owner’s actions meet the elements of premises liability, which constitute negligence. They include:
- A duty of care to the victim
- A breach of the duty of care
- Injuries resulting from the breach of duty
- Significant damages resulting from an injury or injuries
However, to hold property owners liable in their premises liability cases, victims must be deemed a licensee, which refers to a person who was allowed to enter the property by consent of the owner, or an invitee, which refers to someone who is welcome either as a member of the public or as a customer at a business. Victims who are found to have trespassed on the property at the time of their injury cannot seek financial awards from the owner.
Proving negligence in premises liability cases can be challenging, especially when you have to deal with insurance companies and their legal teams. Call Berger and Green today at (412) 661-1400 to talk to our legal team about how our lawyers may be able to handle your case for you.
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Potential Injuries in Premises Liability Cases
Victims of injuries in premises liability cases often suffer debilitating conditions that have a lasting impact on their ability to work, care for themselves, and complete daily tasks, such as:
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
- Broken bones
- Spinal injuries
- Illness due to exposure to toxins or chemicals
For example, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), falls account for nearly half of all TBIs annually, which can cause temporary loss of consciousness to permanent disability or death. Falls also account for 87% of all bone fractures, particularly in people aged 65 or older.
Financial Recovery for Damages in Premises Liability Cases
Without adequate warnings or signage of hazards, visitors to public or private properties can obtain serious injuries for which the property owner may hold liability. Each premises liability case varies, so the types of financial awards victims and their families could recover depend on their case’s details.
Compensation for premises liability cases may include recovery for medical care, including emergency room bills, follow-up treatments, and medical equipment. Some victims and their families may also receive payment for lost wages or loss of future income, as well as funeral and burial expenses for victims of fatal injuries. An Altoona premises liability lawyer can evaluate the extent of your damages and seek financial recovery on your behalf.
Statutes of Limitations on Premises Liability Claims in Pennsylvania
If you suffered injuries or lost a family member in a premises liability case, you have a limited time to file a civil action against the liable party. 42 Pa CS §5524 holds that most victims have up to two years from the date of the incident to file a personal injury lawsuit. Personal representatives of victims typically have up to two years from the date of their loved one’s death to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault property owner.
If you are interested in filing a personal injury lawsuit, you should consider doing so as soon as possible to avoid missing the statute of limitations deadline. If you file it too late, it may not be considered, and you could lose your opportunity to seek financial recovery.
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Pennsylvania holds property owners of all kinds responsible for maintaining the safety of any premises onto which they invite visitors or guests. If you suffered injuries due to a property owner’s or manager’s failure to do so, you might have the option to seek financial awards for your damages. Call Berger and Green today at (412) 661-1400 to speak with our team about your premises liability case.