Accidents caused by property hazards can lead to surprisingly complex civil cases. The laws that govern these claims differ slightly from standard personal injury law. Depending on the reason you were on the other person’s property, you may not have the same right to recover compensation as another visitor.
If you are thinking of filing a claim after you fell and were injured on someone else’s property, an Allentown premises liability lawyer can help you determine the best legal strategy for recovering compensation. Founding Partner Jon Ostroff and his team have spent over 30 years handling these types of cases.
In one recent case, our team represented a contractor who suffered severe injuries to his spine and both shoulders when he fell through a trapdoor in a home he was remodeling. We successfully recovered $380,000 on his behalf. Ostroff Godshall Injury and Accident Lawyers can help you win compensation from the at-fault property owner.
What is Premises Liability Law in Pennsylvania?
The fact that you suffered an injury on someone else’s property does not automatically make the property owner financially liable for your injury. To obtain compensation for your injuries and damages, you must show that the owner or property manager owed you a “duty of care” and directly caused your injuries by violating that duty. However, your right to file a claim depends on whether you were an “invitee”, “licensee”, or “trespasser” at the time of the accident.
Landowners in Pennsylvania owe the highest duty of care to “invitees.” These are people visiting a public or private property for the landowner’s benefit, for example, the delivery of a package, a person (such as a handyman) hired to do repairs on the property, or the intention to buy something from the property owner, such as a retail business. Property owners must inspect their property regularly for dangerous hazards and maintain it in a reasonably safe condition to protect invitees from foreseeable harm.
Property owners also have an obligation to “licensees”—people visiting for their own purposes, like houseguests at a private party. Owners must warn these guests of known hazards that the licensee is not likely to become aware of on their own. However, landowners are not responsible for injuries to licensees caused by hazards that the owner wasn’t reasonably aware of, because it wasn’t readily visible and it wasn’t something that with due care, they should have seen.
Property owners also owe a duty of care to “trespassers”—people who are on their land without permission and/or lawful authority. While this duty is more limited than the other two, if the landowner failed to repair a dangerous condition that he or she was aware of, they could be liable for an injury sustained by a trespasser. A seasoned property injury lawyer can determine whether you were injured while you were a invitee, a licensee or a trespasser.
The Possible Impact of Comparative Fault
Even if a property owner is liable for your injuries, you may be unable to recover full compensation if you are partly to blame for the accident. Under 42 Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes §7102, a jury can assign a percentage of total fault for an accident and reduce the damages award by that percentage.
If fault exceeds 50%, the court will bar a recovery of any compensation. An experienced attorney in Allentown can be crucial to successfully overcoming allegations of comparative fault in a premises liability case.
Get in Touch with an Allentown Premises Liability Attorney Today
Dangerous property conditions can cause debilitating, permanent injuries. Property owners and managers who allow hazardous conditions to exist are legally responsible for the harm they cause to others. Holding a landowner liable through a legal case can be complicated, especially if you try to manage it alone.
Allow our Allentown premises liability lawyers from Ostroff Godshall Injury and Accident Lawyers to help you seek justice. Contact us today for your free consultation.