Most of us lead busy lives and the last thing we need to worry about when we go somewhere is getting hurt. Unfortunately, we know that there are times when property owners or their employees are negligent in their duties. Their negligence can cause major injuries.
At Soloff & Zervanos, P.C., we want to be your advocate. These cases can become incredibly complex and the property owner may even blame you for your own injury. We will work to secure the compensation you deserve when you need a Philadelphia premises liability attorney.
What Can Happen?
When you think of people getting injured on another person’s property, you probably think first of slip and fall incidents. In fact, slip and falls are the number one cause of premises liability cases, leading to over 1 million ER visits annually. These incidents are often preventable. Property owners and their staff need to ensure that all floors are kept dry and that wet areas are cordoned off and appropriate signs are posted.
Aside from slip and fall incidents, there are many other ways that people get hurt.
- Chemicals are used at just about any location, whether for cleaning purposes or as part of their business operations. It is important that all chemicals are used and stored appropriately to prevent unauthorized persons or guests from accessing them. On the same note, pool chemicals must be used properly. There are many cases of injuries and deaths each year due to chemicals like chlorine being used incorrectly.
- Parking lots are often neglected by property owners, sometimes seen as an afterthought. However, uneven surfaces and broken curbs can cause a person to trip and fall. A fall onto the concrete can cause serious injuries.
- Store shelves and displays need to be properly maintained and regularly inspected. If they are not, this can cause items to fall onto patrons.
- Restaurants should always store and cook the food appropriately in order to prevent illnesses. There are many state and federal regulations that restaurants must follow.
- Private residence owners are also responsible for the safety of their guests, much the same way that store owners are. All hazards should be taken care of or guests should be warned of potential danger.
*If you do not see your injury cause on this list, that is okay. Always speak with a qualified attorney before making any decisions.
Hurt On Someone Else’s Property?
When you go to the store or over to someone’s house, the last thing you should have to worry about are hazardous conditions. Unfortunately, we know that the negligence of property owners and the people who work for them often causes injuries.
At Soloff & Zervanos, P.C., we are going to have your back. Our qualified and experienced team will work diligently to secure compensation for the following:
- All of your medical expenses
- Lost income if you cannot work
- Pain and suffering damages
- Loss of enjoyment of life damages
- Possible punitive damages
You probably know a thing or two about Pennsylvania’s premises liability law even if you are not a legal expert. But how do our state laws apply to your particular case? Will you be able to hold a property owner liable for your injury? Do you have sufficient evidence to prove that the hazard was unreasonably unsafe? Do you really need legal help from a Philadelphia premises liability accident attorney?
Our skilled personal injury lawyers here at Soloff & Zervanos, P.C., will do our best to answer your questions in this section, but if you would like to get answers to other questions, schedule a free phone consultation.
What is an Unsafe (Hazardous) Condition on a Property?
As someone who has suffered a minor or serious injury on someone else’s property, you may be wondering what constitutes an unsafe, dangerous, or hazardous condition. Our Philadelphia premises liability accident lawyer says that, as you may know, under Pennsylvania law, property owners and those who control, manage, and rent properties have a legal obligation to keep their properties in a reasonably safe condition.
Failure to do so exposes them to litigation. But what is an “unsafe condition” under Pennsylvania law? Any condition on a property that exposes visitors and customers to an unreasonable, hidden, and non-obvious harm is considered hazardous and unsafe.
The determination of which condition can be considered unsafe and dangerous depends on the circumstances of your particular case. For example, if an employee forgot to place the “Warning! Wet floor!” sign after mopping the floor, and a visitor got injured as a result, the condition will most likely be considered unsafe and hazardous.
Can I Still Seek Compensation if I Noticed the Hazard Before the Accident?
Whether you still have a right to recover damages depends on the circumstances. Our Philadelphia premises liability accident attorney explains that a property owner cannot be held liable for injuries resulting from hazards that should have been noticed by visitors.
However, with a skilled lawyer by your side, you may be able to prove that the hazard was non-obvious or unavoidable even though you noticed it prior to the accident.
What to Do if the Property Owner Claims He Was Not Aware of the Hazard?
A common defense mounted by property owners in Pennsylvania to escape liability is claiming that they were not aware of the injury-causing hazardous condition and thus could not have been expected to remedy the hazard or warn visitors about it.
Our Philadelphia premises liability accident lawyer says that you could still collect compensation even if the property owner or occupier claims that they did not know about the unsafe condition on their property. An experienced lawyers might be able to prove that the property owner should have known about the dangerous condition by inspecting the premises more frequently.
Are Property Owners Liable for Third Parties’ Criminal Acts?
Yes, a property owner can be sued for criminal acts by third parties on their property unless the act was unforeseeable. Generally speaking, it can be proven that the criminal act would not have occurred had the property owner provided adequate security measures on the premises. For example, a lack of surveillance systems or inadequate lighting on the property may be considered “negligent security.”
FAQs for Philadelphia Premises Liability Lawyer
In Pennsylvania, the premises liability law seems quite straightforward: If you have been injured on another person’s or entity’s property, you can recover damages as long as your claim meets certain legal requirements.
However, once you begin to dig deeper into the issue, you get confused about your rights and the property owner’s duties. To successfully litigate your premises liability claim, get assistance from a Philadelphia premises liability lawyer with a proven track record.
Here at Soloff & Zervanos, P.C., our legal victories and testimonials speak for themselves. Let our skilled attorneys review your situation and help you hold the negligent property owner or occupier accountable for your injury.
Am I Still Entitled to Seek Compensation if I Noticed the Hazard?
If you noticed the dangerous condition shortly before your slip and fall accident on someone else’s property, you might be wondering if this automatically causes you to lose your right to sue.
Well, not necessarily. Whether or not you are still entitled to recover damages depends on many circumstances.
If the hazard is hidden or non-obvious and another reasonably prudent visitor would not have noticed the dangerous condition, then the property owner could be held liable for your injury resulting from the hazard in question.
However, if the hazard was “open and obvious,” you will most likely be barred from compensation regardless of whether you actually noticed the condition prior to getting injured.
What to Do if the Property Owner Says He Was Not Aware of the Hazard?
First of all, just because the property owner says that he or she was not aware of the hazard that caused your injury does not necessarily mean that the owner is telling the truth.
A Philadelphia premises liability attorney will help you determine whether the property owner, occupier, landlord, manager or another liable party was aware or should have been aware of the injury-causing condition on their premises.
In many cases, property owners are held liable for injuries resulting from their failure to inspect the premises in a timely manner to detect and remedy hazards before they cause harm to their visitors and guests.
An Example of a Philadelphia Premises Liability Case
The best way to determine if you have grounds to file a claim or lawsuit against a negligent property owner after you have been injured is to review your case with a qualified Philadelphia premises liability attorney. It can be difficult to understand whether you have justification to take legal action in the circumstances. By going over the details of your case with a Philadelphia personal injury lawyer who specializes in premises liability claims and lawsuits, you can better understand whether it is worth your time to seek compensation for your medical bills and related losses.
Studying an example of a potential premises liability case can help you more thoroughly appreciate why it is not always easy for a victim to determine on their own if they have a right to file a claim. Consider the following scenario: you are shopping at the grocery store. Unbeknownst to you, there is a spill on the floor just around the corner from the aisle in which you are currently shopping.
You turn the corner and slip over the spill. As a result, you sustain injuries. You are now seeking compensation for your medical bills and other such losses resulting from your injuries.
Are you likely to arrive at a settlement? That depends.
At a grocery store or other such location, employees essentially serve as extensions or representatives of ownership and management in regard to premises liability. Retailers are expected to train their employees to monitor their properties for hazards and address them promptly.
You may be able to justify seeking compensation after your accident by arguing that an employee should have noticed the spill and cleaned it up by the time your slip and fall occurred. However, the store owner’s insurer may attempt to deny your claim by suggesting that the amount of time that passed between when the spill formed and when you slipped over it was quite short. Therefore, it might be unreasonable to expect that an employee would have been able to spot the hazard and eliminate it before you were injured.
If you do not have experience negotiating with insurance companies and building strong premises liability cases, you might find it very challenging to counter an insurance carrier’s arguments. This highlights one of the many reasons it is important to coordinate with the experts at a reputable Philadelphia premises liability law firm when seeking compensation.
Insurance companies will generally try to minimize how much they pay out to claimants. As this example demonstrates, if an insurer can find a reason to deny a claim, they will. You thus need representation from an attorney who can conduct a thorough investigation to gather evidence showing that you deserve to be compensated for your losses.
A skilled lawyer can also account for all your compensable losses and damages to determine what would constitute an appropriate settlement. Although it is unethical for a lawyer to promise or guarantee that you will recover a specific amount of money, research consistently indicates that personal injury claimants who hire lawyers tend to recover more money than those who do not.
What Does an ‘Unsafe Condition’ Mean?
An unsafe condition is any hazard that exists on the premises and exposes visitors and guests to an unreasonable risk of harm. Depending on whether the hazard was obvious or non-obvious, the injured visitor may have a right to pursue compensation
Unsafe conditions include poor lighting conditions, inadequate security measures, malfunctioning equipment, negligent safety procedures, broken stairs, wet or icy surfaces, and failure to utilize necessary safety equipment, among others.
You may want to speak to an experienced lawyer to determine whether or not the hazard constitutes an unreasonable risk of harm in your particular case.
What Damages Can Be Recovered Through a Premises Liability Claim?
Generally speaking, your premises liability compensation is divided into economic and non-economic damages and losses. The exact types of recoverable damages depend on the extent of your injury and other circumstances.
Economic damages include medical expenses, loss of income, and loss of future earning capacity, among others. Non-economic losses include mental anguish, pain and suffering, diminished quality of life, emotional distress, and other damages that are subjectively evaluated by the jury.
What to Expect from Your Insurance Company?
First and foremost, do not expect your insurance company to be your friend or reliable advisor. Your insurance adjuster may seem friendly, but do keep in mind that insurance companies are businesses that make money at the expense of their customers.
Unfortunately, they minimize payouts and deny claims to maximize their profits. That is why you should not expect anything good from your insurance company. Do not give recorded statements. Do not accept a settlement offer before your Philadelphia premises liability lawyer evaluates your economic and non-economic losses.