Property owners have a responsibility to repair unsafe conditions or warn guests of those hazards. Consequently, if you suffer injuries due to a dangerous condition on someone else’s property, you may be able to recover compensation.
At Bordas & Bordas, we have succeeded in many premises liability cases, including Ankrom v. Walmart, in which we won a $16.9 million verdict for our client. A Pittsburgh premises liability lawyer may be able to get you compensation to cover all your losses after an accident. Working with a well-versed injury attorney could give you an edge in court or settlement negotiations.
Understanding Premises Liability
Premises liability falls under the purview of personal injury law, similar to car accidents, medical malpractice, and product liability. In premises liability cases, a guest generally suffers injuries due to a landowner or property owner’s failure to address hazards in the space.
When an unsafe environment or condition exists on the property that results in your injury, you may hold the landowner liable and recover damages. Some of the most common claims involve hazards such as wet floors, ice, broken or defective stairs, insecure carpeting or rugs, and improper cable management. These cases can also result from poor or inadequate building security for apartment tenants.
However, there are certain circumstances under which the property owner may not be liable. A knowledgeable attorney could help you understand the laws of premises liability.
Who is Eligible to Recover Damages After a Property Injury?
Property owners do not owe the same degree of care to everyone on their property. The level of responsibility a landowner has toward you depends on your visitor status. In a premises liability case, you may be classified as a trespasser, invitee, or licensee.
Trespassers, people who are on another person’s property without permission, generally cannot recover damages in a premises liability case. However, you could receive compensation for injuries suffered while trespassing if the landowner is considered guilty of “wanton or willful negligence or misconduct.”
In the 1998 case Rossino, et al. v. R.C. Titler Construction, Inc., et al., 553 Pa. 168, 718 A.2d 775, the court ruled that a trespasser may hold a property owner liable if they intentionally or knowingly created an unsafe environment that is likely to result in injury.
A licensee can be defined as someone who has the landowner’s consent to be present on the property. For example, if you are invited to a friend’s house to watch a game or play cards, you are a licensee.
In this instance, the homeowner has a responsibility to make a reasonable effort to make their home safe and sufficiently warn you of dangerous conditions you may be unaware of.
The second type of visitor is called an invitee. If you are on a property to conduct business with the owner, you are an invitee. The consent to enter the property in this scenario may be implied.
If you are an invitee, the property owner owes you the highest duty of care. A lawyer familiar with premises liability claims could help you determine your visitor status during an accident on someone else’s property.
Attractive Nuisance Laws in Pittsburgh
Premises liability cases involving injured minors operate differently than those involving injured adults. Pennsylvania used the Attractive Nuisance Doctrine (AND), which establishes that if the defendant knows or could foresee a child trespassing on the property, the defendant has a duty to exercise reasonable care to protect the child.
A classic example of AND is a property owner who owns a pool. It is foreseeable that a pool in an unfenced yard could attract a child and expose them to an easily avoidable risk. Therefore, the pool owner would be liable for the resulting injury if they failed to fail to put up any fencing or take safety precautions to minimize the risk. If your child suffered injuries due to an attractive nuisance on another person’s property, a premises liability attorney from our firm could help you file a claim.
A Pittsburgh Premises Liability Attorney Could Help You Seek Compensation
If you or your child suffered from injuries while on someone else’s property, you may be dealing with expensive medical bills and other financial losses. Allow one of our Pittsburgh premises liability lawyers to help you seek compensation while you focus on your recovery.
Our office is staffed with an experienced and compassionate staff ready to assist you throughout the legal system. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.