Premises Liability is an area of tort law which deals with a property owner’s responsibility to keep his or her property in a reasonably safe condition for the protection of others. If you are injured because of the dangerous or defective condition of another person’s property, you should speak with an experienced Philadelphia slip and fall lawyer who can help you determine your rights.
The most common type of premises liability claims are for injuries caused by “slip and fall” or “trip and fall” incidents. Slip and fall claims often occur because a property owner negligently maintains the property. For example, if a store owner fails to clear ice from the parking lot after a storm, and as a result, a customer slips and is injured, the owner may be liable for the injuries caused to the customer. Some other types of premises liability claims include inadequate security, deck collapse or building collapse, and fires or explosions which cause injury or wrongful death.
There are some things you should know about premises liability.
- The degree of responsibility owed may vary depending on your “guest status.” Although laws vary by state, the degree of care owed may be more or less depending on your guest status. For example, business owner will owe a higher degree of care to a customer than it does to a trespasser.
- You will need to prove negligence. A person is not entitled to compensation simply because they are injured on someone else’s property. Rather, an injured party must prove the four elements of negligence, which include: 1) a duty was owed, 2) the property owner breached a duty, 3) the claimant was harmed as a result of the breach of duty, and 4) the claimant suffered damages. A premises liability claim will only succeed if you cannot prove all four elements of negligence.
- Your claim may be reduced, or lost, if you are comparatively or contributorily negligent. Although laws vary from state to state, each state recognizes that an injured party may be partly or wholly responsible for their injuries. Thus, an award for damages may be reduced, or eliminated, depending on whether the claimant was comparative or contributory negligent.
- Did you waive your rights? Many businesses require a waiver of rights in order to use the premises. Waiver of rights are common at pools, ski resorts, gyms and other businesses which involve dangerous activities. If you signed a waiver of rights you should consult an attorney as to whether it is enforceable.
- How do I know what my claim is worth? The value of a claim is based on many factors. This includes the degree of fault of the property owner, whether causation is disputed, whether the claimant contributed to his injury, and the degree of damages or injuries sustained. Only an experienced personal injury lawyer, with knowledge of case values in your area, can help you determine the value of your claim.
Thanks to authors at The Wieand Law Firm LLC for their insight into Personal Injury law.