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Premises Liability

When you leave your property to be on someone else’s property, you have reason to expect you’ll spend your time safely and leave with no injuries - particularly if you are the guest of someone, you’re shopping at a retail store or have arrived at someone’s office for business. However, not everyone keeps their property in safe condition.

If you’ve been injured while on someone else’s property, you may have a claim to get compensated for your damages.

Philadelphia Premises Liability Lawyer

An aggressive Philadelphia premises liability lawyer can help you recover for the medical bills, lost wages and other damages you have suffered as a result of a property owner not sufficiently maintaining their grounds. Our personal injury attorneys at Alva Foster & Moscow, LLC fight for their clients’ right to be compensated after accidents that occur on other people’s property, whether they involve wet floors, cracks or holes in the floor or ground, swimming pools or other dangerous conditions.

If you’ve been injured on another person’s property, call us today at (215) 665-1695 to schedule a consultation. We represent clients in and around Philadelphia, including Bucks County , Delaware County, Montgomery County and Chester County, and throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Pennsylvania Premises Liability Information Center

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Duties to Guests in Pennsylvania

Most premises liability claims are based on the legal theory of negligence, Negligence has four elements: duty, breach, causation and damages. To determine whether any of the latter three may have occurred, it must first be determined what kind of duty the landowner had to the person on the premises.

Invitee: The landowner owes the highest duty to invitees, specifically, business invitees. A business invitee is a person that has been invited on the premises for the purpose of conducting a business the landowner is in, like a customer at a store. There are also public invitees who are people invited onto the property for purposes for which the property is available to the public.

An invitee has a duty to make a reasonable inspections for potential dangers on the property. Upon finding them, the property owner must make a reasonable effort to either fix the danger or warn of the danger.

For instance, a bottle of oil falls and breaks at a grocery store. The store manager should be checking for such dangers on a regular basis throughout the day. Upon finding it, the store should at least put up a sign warning customers of the spill until cleaning it up. If the store manager fails, and there is a slip and fall, the store may be liable for the customer’s injuries.

Licensee: A licensee is a person who has implied or express permission to be on a landowner’s property. While a person who has been invited to dinner or a party at a house may seem like an invitee, they are actually licensees. Implied permission means the person is engaging in conduct they would reasonably believe would allow them on the property, like a delivery person.

A property owner has the duty to warn licensees of dangers he or she knows about or should know about. For instance, if a property owner is hosting a party and knows there is a hole in the ground that guest could trip over, he or she has a duty to warn guests.

Trespasser: A trespasser is a person who has no permission to be on the premises, and is there for their own purposes. A landowner has no duty to a trespasser other than to not harm them intentionally, and to warn them of dangers once discovered.

The exception is if the trespasser is a child, and the property owner has something on the property that he or she knows or should know will interest children. This is called an “attractive nuisance.” The property owner then has a duty to secure the nuisance. For example, if the owner has a swimming pool that is visible from the street, he or she should fence it in, lest children wander up to it and fall in.

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Damages Incurred On Philadelphia Premises

The damages you suffer depends greatly on the type of accident you have, and could vary widely. For example, there are a variety of accidents that may occur in a retail store. In a retail store accident you could suffer broken bones from falling, be burned by chemicals or get hurt by a criminal who would not be there but for negligent security.

Damages to compensate you fall under two categories, though:

  1. Economic damages are for the measurable damages you suffer that you can prove with bills, paychecks and other hard evidence, like medical bills and lost wages; and
  2. Noneconomic damages, which are not as easily measured but are very real, like pain and suffering, loss of life’s pleasures and humiliation and embarrassment.

Under limited circumstances, punitive damages may also be awarded.

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Dealing with Pennsylvania Insurance Companies

Most commercial properties and many homeowners will have liability policies, and if injured on the property, you will most likely be seeking a claim from the policy. Insurance companies may try to settle, but they will likely offer a low figure far below the actual extent of your damages. They may also try to tell you you don’t have a claim.

Don’t believe insurance companies, and don’t accept their settlement offer. The insurance company’s only goal is get away paying as little as possible.

A Philadelphia personal injury lawyer can negotiate to get the best settlement. You have final say over whether the settlement is sufficient. If you are not satisfied, the attorneys at Alva Foster & Moscow, LLC have no problem taking the insurance company to court.

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Alva Foster & Moscow, LLC | Philadelphia Attorney for Property Accidents

We are tough negotiators and tough trial lawyers at Alva Foster & Moscow, LLC. We can deal with the insurance company if you’ve been hurt on someone else’s property. Whether it was a slip and fall, swimming pool accident, elevator or escalator accident or anything else, a Philadelphia premises liability lawyer can represent you. Call us today at (215) 665-1695 for a consultation.