A toddler was recently injured at a popular houseware store after she hit her head on a sink in the public washroom and cut her head. The father is now pursuing a premises liability claim against the company. Within the lawsuit, he alleges that the sink had sharp angled corners, and that it stood at the exact height of his daughter’s forehead. He also accuses the company of not having a family washroom, forcing him to allow his daughter to use the restroom by herself, unsupervised.
The lawsuit is an interesting one, as it shows that you can file a personal injury claim after being hurt on someone else’s property. These claims though, are largely misunderstood. Below, our Philadelphia premises liability lawyer explains the most frequently asked questions about these claims, and the answers to them.
What are Dangerous Conditions on a Property?
A dangerous condition is any unsafe condition that poses an unreasonable harm to others that enter the property. What is considered unreasonable harm usually depends on the specific situation. For example, if the stairs to the front entrance of a restaurant are poorly lit, that could constitute a dangerous condition. Visitors to the restaurant may not be familiar with the lighting conditions, and elders and those with disabilities may not be able to see the steps.
Can I Collect Damages if I Knew of the Dangerous Condition?
Again, it depends on the specific situation. Generally, when a dangerous condition is obvious and visitors to the property should notice them, they cannot hold the property owner liable for it. In some circumstances though, dangerous conditions cannot be avoided, even if they are noticed. In this case, a visitor could still collect damages if they were harmed by the unavoidable hazard.
Can I Collect Damages if the Owner Denies Knowledge of the Danger?
In most cases, yes. Property owners are required by law to regularly inspect their property and fix any dangerous conditions. When they fail to do this, they are considered negligent and can be held liable for any injuries the danger causes. The court will determine if the property owner should have known of the danger and if so, hold them liable for paying damages.
What are the Common Causes of Accidents on a Property?
Any dangerous condition can form the basis of a premises liability claim, but there are some that are more common than others. These include:
- Inadequate or negligent inspection of the property
- Negligent security
- Inadequate lighting
- Failure to warn
- Improper signage
- Failure to install safety devices, such as locks or smoke alarms
- Objects that cause slip and falls, such as torn carpets, loose wiring, and debris left in walkways
Unfortunately, the above are just a few of the most common hazards that cause accidents. Any time you are hurt on someone else’s property, it is important to speak to a lawyer about a potential claim.
Do I Need to Work with a Premises Liability Lawyer in Philadelphia?
You do not have to work with a Philadelphia premises liability lawyer when filing a claim, but you will likely recover more in damages if you do. At van der Veen, Hartshorn and Levin, our skilled attorneys can help you through the personal injury process and give you the best chance of a positive outcome. Call us today at (215) 486-0123 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.