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Premises Liability Attorneys in Pittsburgh

Skilled Personal Injury Lawyers Represent Clients Injured in Premises Liability Cases in Allegheny County and Throughout Western Pennsylvania

Premises liability cases arise in situations where a property owner neglects the legal duty to keep a property in a reasonably safe condition for invited visitors and guests and, as a result, someone else is injured because of the hazard.  The theory is logical in that the person injured has no control over conditions on the property and, absent adequate warnings, would not even know that a danger existed until it was too late to prevent injury. As with other negligence cases, premises liability claims in Pennsylvania require that the injured party establish the property owner’s duty of care, show that the duty was breached, and then both prove the causal link between the breach and a specific injury that caused the injured party to suffer quantifiable damages.

Although the basic theory seems straightforward, premises liability claims are often complicated by evidentiary issues and various defenses that can be difficult to navigate on your own.  At Goodrich & Geist, P.C., our premises liability lawyers have a collective 50-plus years’ worth of experience successfully helping clients recover fair compensation in Western Pennsylvania premises liability cases.  We conduct a detailed investigation to gather the evidence needed to refute any defense strategies that the property owner may employ and will use our strong negotiation skills and knowledge of the legal system to fight for the compensation you deserve.

When Does Premises Liability Law Apply?

Broadly speaking, premises liability theories will apply anytime you are injured on property owned by someone else, whether by a business, friend or even the government.  Some common examples of premises liability claims include:

  • Slip and fall accidents.  Most slip and fall accidents occur because a property owner fails to properly maintain the property to ensure safety—such as by filling in potholes in a parking lot, removing snow and ice from walkways, cleaning up spills in a supermarket or fixing staircase railings.  Liability attaches here based on the idea that the property owner could have warned of the danger or corrected the problem, but failed to do so.
  • Falling objects.  These types of cases commonly begin when a retail store owner, construction site employer or factory owner fails to property store and secure items in the facility, which eventually fall and cause injuries to those below.
  • Fires Injuries sustained in a fire on someone else’s property can be serious and if the property owner failed to take reasonable steps to prevent the fire or injuries—for example, by maintaining fire alarms or ensuring that electrical wiring was up to code—it is that person who will be held responsible for the injuries. First responders are at high risk for fire injuries.
  • Negligent security In a negligent security case, the premise behind imposing liability is that the property owner must take reasonable steps to prevent criminal activity on the property.  The level of security that is reasonable will, of course, depend upon the safety of the neighborhood in general, but most business owners should at minimum install adequate lighting and security cameras in parking lots or garages.
  • Drowning accidents Property owners with swimming pools are required to take steps to keep the pool safe—and must even install barriers designed to keep children from wandering into a pool, even if it is private.

Seasoned Premises Liability Lawyers Goodrich & Geist Have the Experience Necessary to Get Results for Pittsburgh, PA Clients

At Goodrich & Geist, P.C., we take care of all legal aspects of your case while you focus on getting well physically.  The basic and essential steps to successfully establishing a claim for compensation based upon premises liability involve:

  • Showing that you were legally on the property (as a customer or invited guest, for example),
  • A dangerous condition existed on the property,
  • The property owner either knew of the condition or reasonably should have known of the condition (noting that business owners have a legal duty to conduct regular inspections to identify and warn of hazards),
  • The property owner did nothing to correct the problem or provide adequate warnings,
  • You were injured because of the dangerous condition, resulting in compensable damages in the form of medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and more.

Call Our Trusted Premises Liability Lawyers for a Free Consultation to Discuss Your Case Today

If you or a loved one sustained injuries on someone else’s property, those injuries can have consequences that you may not initially anticipate—in terms of ongoing medical care and lost wages.  Our experienced premises liability lawyers are here to help you get the compensation that is justly yours. To schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your case, call us today or fill out this online contact form.

Frequently Asked Questions About Pittsburgh Premises Liability Claims

When you visit a store or a friend’s home, the last thing you expect is to suffer serious injuries because of dangerous conditions on the property.  Property owners have a legal duty to warn visitors and customers about hazards on their property. Failure to do so can give you the right to financial compensation if you are harmed as a result.

If you or a loved one have been injured on someone else’s property in Pittsburgh or elsewhere in Western Pennsylvania, it is important to speak with an experienced premises liability lawyer as soon as possible.  Below are some answers to common questions about Pittsburgh-area premises liability claims. Call or contact the skilled premises liability lawyers at Goodrich & Geist, P.C. today to discuss your case in detail.

FAQ: What is premises liability?

Premises liability is a legal theory that requires property owners to keep their property reasonably safe for invited guests, customers and other authorized visitors. Some of the most common types of premises liability claims involve slip and fall accident claims and negligent security claims.

FAQ: What types of property owners can be held legally responsible under a premises liability theory?

Any property owner can be held legally responsible for injuries caused by unreasonably dangerous conditions on the property. This includes commercial business owners, small business owners, private homeowners, parties who are responsible for maintaining the premises and more.

FAQ: Can the reason why I was on the property impact the property owner’s duty to maintain the property?

Yes. Property owners owe a duty of care to all people on their property, but the scope of that duty can vary depending upon why you were there. For example, business owners owe a heightened duty because people enter their property so that the owner can make a profit. They have the duty to both keep the property safe and inspect for any hidden dangers to keep customers (or “invitees”) safe. Private homeowners have a duty to keep visitors (known as “licensees”) to their property safe by warning of any known dangers and/or fixing any hazards. However, if you were on the property without permission, as a trespasser, property owners only have the duty to avoid intentionally harming you.

FAQ: What happens if the property owner claims to have had no knowledge that the hazard existed? Can I still establish a valid premises liability claim?

Yes. Actually, in most cases, it will be unnecessary to establish actual knowledge of the hazard—the fact that the owner reasonably should have known of the hazard if he or she had exercised reasonable caution is sufficient. In many cases, witness testimony or video surveillance can be useful in establishing that the hazard had existed for a sufficient amount of time so that the property owner should have discovered it and placed warnings to prevent injuries in the time period between discovery and correction.

FAQ: What happens if the property owner claims to have had no knowledge that the hazard existed? Can I still establish a valid premises liability claim?

Yes. Actually, in most cases, it will be unnecessary to establish actual knowledge of the hazard—the fact that the owner reasonably should have known of the hazard if he or she had exercised reasonable caution is sufficient. In many cases, witness testimony or video surveillance can be useful in establishing that the hazard had existed for a sufficient amount of time so that the property owner should have discovered it and placed warnings to prevent injuries in the time period between discovery and correction.

FAQ: The property owner is claiming that I am responsible for my own injuries because I didn’t see the hazard. Can I proceed with a premises liability claim?

Under Pennsylvania’s comparative negligence law, you can still recover compensation if you were less than 50 percent responsible for the accident that caused your injuries—meaning that you can pursue a premises liability claim even if you were partially at fault, as long as the property owner is considered to be mostly at fault. Our skilled lawyers will work with the evidence at hand to build a strong case arguing that you were not at fault for the accident.

FAQ: The property owner says that my injury wasn’t caused by a danger on the property. How can I prove that it was?

Your lawyer will investigate to gather additional evidence in your case to help prove your premises liability claim. Relevant evidence may include:

– Photos and videos of the dangerous condition on the property,
– Eyewitness testimony,
– Testimony of employees working on the property,
– Your medical records,
– Testimony offered by safety experts.

FAQ: What should I do if I was injured on someone else’s property?

You should seek medical attention as soon as possible. If you are able, it is also especially important to document the dangerous condition that caused your accident—whether by taking photos or videos of the scene or having someone else do so. In a premises liability claim, establishing the dangerous condition on the property is key to winning fair compensation. Often, the property owner will fix the problem as soon as they are notified that an accident has happened.

FAQ: Shouldn’t I automatically be entitled to compensation under premises liability law if I was injured because of something that happened on someone else’s property?

No. We will also have to work to establish that the dangerous condition was unreasonably dangerous. It is also important to prove that the hazard was not so obvious that a reasonable person could have avoided the accident.

FAQ: What types of compensation can I recover in a premises liability case?

Your compensation award will vary depending upon the extent of your injuries. Available compensation may include:

– Past and future medical expenses,
– Past and future lost wages,
– Pain and suffering,
– The cost of any rehabilitative care and ongoing need for care,
– Emotional distress,
– Disfigurement,

Punitive damages to punish the property owner in rare cases where the owner’s actions were especially shocking.

FAQ: What if my child wandered onto someone else’s property and was injured. Might I have a valid premises liability claim?

You might. An exception exists to the rule that a property owner owes no duty to warn trespassers of dangers. This exception is often called “the attractive nuisance doctrine”. While trespassers are usually presumed to be in the wrong, in some cases, children are too young to act negligently. Property owners have a duty to keep their property safe from situations where a child might be attracted onto their property by an “attractive nuisance”. For example, property owners have a duty to install safety measures around a swimming pool to prevent children from harm.

FAQ: I was harmed by a criminal action outside of a store. Can the property owner be held responsible under premises liability law?

The property owner could possibly be responsible. In situations where the property owner should reasonably know that their property is located in a dangerous area, the property owner might be held responsible for installing adequate security. Failure to install proper lighting, security cameras, fencing or even security guards might give rise to a valid premises liability claim. This subset of premises liability law is known as “negligent security” and can give you the right to compensation even though the property owner did not commit any criminal act themselves.

FAQ: The property owner’s insurance company says there is no need to bring a lawyer into the situation. If they are willing to settle, why do I need a premises liability lawyer?

The insurance company may be willing to settle, that is true. However, it’s very likely that they will try to settle for a much lower compensation award than you deserve. Accepting an initial settlement offer could mean that you will run out of money to pay your future medical bills or cover your future lost wages. An experienced premises liability lawyer will fight to make sure you get a compensation award that fully covers your costs and fairly accounts for the suffering and inconvenience that the injury has caused.

Schedule Your Free Initial Consultation with Our Top-Rated Pittsburgh Premises Liability Lawyers Today

If you or a loved one have sustained injuries on someone else’s property in Western Pennsylvania, call our premises liability lawyers today to learn about your legal right to financial compensation.  You can schedule a free case review by calling our office or contacting us online.

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