Premises Liability

Property owners are responsible for ensuring that their property is safe for the public. For instance, property owners cannot leave ice that has built up on a sidewalk, keep leaky equipment in use as water puddles on the floor, or fail to repair broken parking lot pavements. When someone is injured because a commercial or private property owner has not fulfilled their important responsibility, the attorneys of Raynes Lawn Hehmeyer are here to help.

Many people are injured each year while they are visiting the property of others. Each state has its own laws and regulations which determine a property owner’s liability. Pennsylvania, like most states, requires businesses and private property owners to maintain their properties in relatively hazard-free and safe conditions. When they fail to do so, they may be liable under a legal theory called premises liability. Premises liability lawsuits are pursued in cases in which an injury is directly or proximately caused by a defective or unsafe condition on the property of
someone else.

For over 50 years our firm has represented individuals who have suffered severe injuries from an owner’s failure to keep his or her property safe. Depending upon the case, we call upon experts in accident reconstruction, biomechanics, zoning and building codes, metallurgy, and building maintenance and design to illustrate how a property owner failed to keep their property safe.

Contact Raynes Lawn Hehmeyer

We have successfully prosecuted cases involving escalator and elevator accidents, building and walkway collapses, the tipping over of stoves and furniture in rental units, electrical safety accidents, unsafe swimming pools and campgrounds. If you or a loved one has been injured because of the unsafe condition of a property, you should contact Raynes Lawn Hehmeyer promptly so evidence can be preserved and witnesses located. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation by calling 800.535.1797.

Like most other personal injury lawsuits, premises liability cases are based on negligence – that the owner did something wrong. To be successful in this type of lawsuit, the injured victim must prove that the property owner was negligent in the maintenance and ownership of the property. This means that the property owner violated the duty to exercise reasonable care of the property.

It must be understood that a property owner is not negligent just because an unsafe condition existed on the property that caused an injury. Rather, an individual must be able to prove that the property owner knew about the hazardous condition or reasonably should have known about it and failed to take steps to correct it or to warn of its existence. At Raynes Lawn Hehmeyer, we can evaluate your incident and provide you with an honest assessment of your premises liability
case.

Types Of Cases Involving Premises Liability

There are several types of premises liability claims, including the following:

  • Slip and fall accidents
  • Inadequate maintenance of a property
  • Inadequate security that leads to assaults or injuries
  • Defective conditions that cause injuries
  • Escalator and elevator accidents
  • Bicycle accidents
  • Fires
  • Dog bites
  • Amusement park accidents
  • Swimming pool accidents
  • Toxic chemicals and fumes
  • Flooding and leaks

While premises liability covers each of these scenarios, there is a commonality: an unsafe or dangerous condition on the property of someone else that is the direct or proximate cause of the victim’s injuries and accident.

What Is The Duty Of Care Of The Property Owner?

Pennsylvania law defines the duty that property owners owe to individuals on their premises by the status of the visitor.  There are three different types of visitors recognized under Pennsylvania law: (1) trespassers; (2) licensees; and (3) invitees.

Trespassers are persons entering the property of another without an invitation, permission of the owner, or a legal privilege to use the land.  Because their presence on the property of another is unlawful, trespassers are owed the most minimal duty of care.  In general, property owners do not owe trespassers a duty of care.  Nonetheless, property owners cannot intentionally set traps to injure trespassers.  Children who trespass are owed a higher duty of care even though they are unlawfully on a property.  Thus, property owners must take steps to prevent children from being injured by conditions on their properties that could attract children.  A common example is placing fencing around a swimming pool.

Licensees are visitors who enter a property with the permission of the landowner.  These are individuals who visit a property for their own benefit (as opposed to the benefit of the landowner).  Generally, guests of a property owner are considered licensees as are people who come to a property for their own business purposes, such as salespeople, utility workers, and others.  Property owners owe licensees a duty of care to warn about dangerous conditions that they know about or should reasonably know about.  This includes conditions that are not reasonably likely to be discovered by visitors.

The highest duty of care for property owners is owed to invitees.  Invitees are people who are invited onto the premises by the property owner for the owner’s benefit.  Some examples of invitees include customers and individuals who visit a property for a reason related to the business, such as delivery personnel.  The business’s owner or operator must maintain their premises in a reasonably safe condition for invitees.

Premises Liability Case Examples

Slip and fall accidents happen when individuals slip and fall while they are on the property of someone else.  These accidents can be caused by the following types of conditions on the property:

  • Slippery floors
  • Spills
  • Dark stairwells
  • Broken handrails or steps on staircases
  • Accumulated snow or ice in parking lots
  • Unsecured carpets or rugs
  • Hidden extension cords
  • Broken or loose floors or sidewalks

Cases involving inadequate security typically arise in offices, apartment buildings, or hotels.  The building owners must reasonably secure access to them, which is why large buildings usually have security guards and doormen.  Small apartment buildings typically require the tenants to keep the doors to the building locked.  If someone enters into a building by walking in through an unlocked door and injures someone inside, the victim may be able to file a premises liability claim against the building’s owner if the owner did not take adequate steps to ensure that the building was secured.

Most swimming pool accident claims involve children who are injured or drown after entering an unsecured or unsupervised pool.  Because many children are attracted to pools, most cities and states require property owners who have swimming pools to install fences with locking gates around their pools.  City ordinances and state laws may specify the height of the fences and other features that should be included around the swimming pool.  If a person or business leaves a pool unsupervised and unsecured, the person or business may be liable to pay damages in a premises liability claim.

Get Help From The Attorneys At Raynes Lawn Hehmeyer.

If you have been injured or have lost a loved one because of a dangerous condition on the property of an individual or business, you may have a legal right to monetary compensation.  Premises liability claims can be complex and require a strong knowledge of the laws and regulations that apply.  The attorneys at Raynes Lawn Hehmeyer have substantial experience with handling premises liability claims for our clients.  Contact us today at 1-800-535-1797 to schedule a free consultation about your incident.

If you or a loved one has been critically injured do to someone else’s negligence, please click here to fill out the contact form, or call 1-800-535-1797 and someone from our team will be ready to help.

For the general public:  This Blog/Website is made available by the law firm publisher, Raynes Lawn Hehmeyer, for educational purposes. It provides general information and a general understanding of the law but does not provide specific legal advice. By using this site, commenting on posts, or sending inquiries through the site or contact email, you confirm that there is no attorney-client relationship between you and the Blog/Website publisher. The Blog/Website should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney in your jurisdiction.

For attorneys:  This Blog/Website is informational in nature and is not a substitute for legal research or a consultation on specific matters pertaining to your clients.  Due to the dynamic nature of legal doctrines, what might be accurate one day may be inaccurate the next. As such, the contents of this blog must not be relied upon as a basis for arguments to a court or for your advice to clients without, again, further research or a consultation with our professionals.

You are a client, not a case, at Raynes Lawn Hehmeyer.

For a free and confidential consultation complete the form below, or call us at 1-800-535-1797.

Don’t like forms?

Please feel free to call our office manager Mary Glenn at 215-568-6190

Philadelphia Office

1845 Walnut Street • 20th Floor
Philadelphia PA 19103
Phone: 1-215-568-6190
Toll-Free: 1-800-535-1797
Fax: 1-215-988-0618

Get Directions

New Jersey Office

10,000 Lincoln Drive E •
One Greentree Ctr, Ste 201
Marlton, NJ 08053-1536
Phone: -854-1556
Toll-Free: 1-800-535-1797
Fax: 1-215-988-0618

Get Directions