In March of 2019, a woman was injured in a popular big box store. The woman had entered the store to purchase a number of items, including medication for her son and storage containers. As she bent down to retrieve a storage container, a large bin from the top shelf fell and struck her on the back of the head. The bin fell with such force, it shattered to pieces when it fell to the floor. As the woman bent down to retrieve one of the pieces, another container fell and struck her once again on the head.
The woman filed a premises liability lawsuit against the store in September of 2020, and that suit has just been resolved in a settlement. She was able to recover damages for her medical expenses, lost income, and more. Unfortunately, not all premises liability lawsuits are successful. If you have been hurt and want to file a claim, below are three important aspects about these lawsuits you should know to see the same kind of success.
Negligence vs. Strict Liability
There are two ways to recover financial compensation in a premises liability lawsuit. You can claim strict liability in the event that your injuries were caused by a condition that was inherently or abnormally dangerous. For example, if there was a particularly dangerous animal in one’s house and you became injured after entering it, you can sue using strict liability.
You can also claim negligence within your lawsuit, as was the case in the most recent big box store example. When claiming negligence, you must prove:
- The property owner owed you a duty of care,
- The property owner knew, or should have known, about the dangerous condition on the premises,
- After learning of the dangerous condition, or failing to inspect it, the owner did not take any steps to correct the hazardous condition, and
- The act of negligence, or refusal to correct, directly caused your injuries
Comparative Negligence in Premises Liability Claims
Comparative negligence is a common defense used in premises liability claims. Pennsylvania follows a comparative negligence model in civil cases, meaning victims can only pursue damages if they did not contribute to the accident to a greater degree than the defendant.
If it is found that you were 51 percent or more at fault, you cannot recover any damages at all. On the other hand, if you are found partly at fault but your degree of fault is less than 51 percent, you can claim financial compensation. Any damages you receive will be reduced by your same percentage of fault.
The Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations, or time limit, on premises liability claims is two years from the date of the accident. If you do not file your claim within this time, the insurance company and the court will dismiss your claim and you will not recover any financial compensation at all.
Our Premises Liability Lawyer in Philadelphia Can Help with Your Claim
Premises liability claims can become complicated very quickly. If you have been hurt on someone else’s property, our Philadelphia premises liability lawyer can overcome the challenges involved. At van der Veen, Hartshorn and Levin, our skilled attorney knows how to prove these cases and defend against claims that you were at fault, so you recover the fair settlement you deserve. Call us today at 215-515-6892 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.