After a slip and fall accident or another type of premises liability accident in Pittsburgh, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and losses. But if the dangerous condition was open and obvious, your ability to recover compensation may be significantly diminished.
However, that does not mean you cannot recover your damages. Pennsylvania’s modified comparative negligence laws mean that you may qualify to seek reduced damages.
Pennsylvania Premises Liability Laws
Under Pennsylvania law, property owners have a duty to maintain the safety of their premises for invited guests. This means anytime they fail to maintain the integrity of the property, they can potentially be found liable for any injuries the victim sustains.
There are many types of premises liability accidents, but some common incidents include:
- Slip and fall accidents
- Swimming pool accidents
- Trampoline accidents
- Dog bites
- Inadequate or negligent security
- Improper maintenance
- Defective conditions on the premises
- Elevator, escalator, ladder, and stair accidents
Many other incidents not listed above may fall under the premises liability umbrella. If the property owner was negligent in their maintenance of the premises, they may be held accountable for your injuries. Some cases are more clear cut than others. There are scenarios in which the dangerous conditions may be open and obvious which can be a little confusing to injury victims.
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What Is an “Open and Obvious” Hazard?
When conditions on a property are considered “open and obvious”, property owners may be able to reduce or deny their liability for a slip and fall victim’s injuries. This standard means that in situations where a hazardous condition would have been obvious to another reasonable person, property owners may not be held accountable for the victim’s damages.
For example, if you were visiting a store, and someone spilled a liquid on the floor, an employee would likely bring out a wet floor sign to place near the spill. This wet floor sign is usually very noticeable, and a reasonable person should see it and avoid the area.
Therefore, the store’s representative can argue that they are not responsible for any injuries that may stem from the wet floor in question. Someone who did not see the hazard in question may find it more challenging to obtain the compensation they may have otherwise been entitled to.
You May Still Receive Damages in a Pennsylvania Slip and Fall Case
Although the open and obvious rule may allow property owners to avoid liability, Pennsylvania also operates under a modified comparative negligence system with a 51% bar rule under 42 PA Cons Stat § 7102.
This means you can share up to 50 percent of the fault for your injuries and still recover compensation for your injuries when someone else is also at fault. This is good news because you could still collect compensation for your damages, even if the dangerous condition was obvious to some.
How Pennsylvania’s Modified Comparative Negligence Works
If you were injured by an obvious hazard, and modified comparative negligence applies, your injury settlement will be reduced in proportion to your percentage of blame.
For example, if you receive $100,000 after your premises liability accident, but the judge found you 40% liable for your injuries, your $100,000 injury settlement would be reduced by $40,000, and you would come away with a final premises liability settlement of $60,000.
What Damages Can You Recover in A Pittsburgh Premises Liability Claim?
After your premises liability accident, you may be wondering how much you could receive. After all, after you have suffered serious injuries, if you are going to take the time and energy to pursue your case, you want to be sure that you receive a fair settlement or award.
In the majority of premises liability claims, you have the right to seek damages for your emotional, physical, and financial losses. This means you can pursue any of the following economic or non-economic damages:
- Lost wages
- Diminished earning potential
- Lost quality of life
- Physical pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Medical expenses and equipment
If a loved one passed away from their injuries after a slip and fall, we can help you pursue justice on their behalf. No amount of money can undo the loss of a loved one, but it can help you deal with the financial difficulties associated with their passing.
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Reach Out to a Premises Liability Lawyer in Pittsburgh for Help Today
Open and obvious hazards could make it more difficult for you to recover maximum compensation for your damages. But that does not mean you cannot recover the compensation you are entitled to, despite sharing fault for your injuries.
Discuss your possible injury case when you contact a Pittsburgh premises liability lawyer at Berger and Green. Schedule your no-cost, risk-free consultation when you call our office at (412) 661-1400.
Call or text 412-661-1400 or complete a Free Case Evaluation form