Q: I slipped on ice on someone else’s property. Are they liable for my injuries?
Whether a property is owned by a private homeowner, or a business, there are laws in place that require the properties be maintained in safe condition. If you were injured on someone’s property because of their negligence, like failure to remove ice and snow from walkways, they can be liable for your injuries, and for compensating you for your injuries. Businesses in particular have a duty to provide safe and well-maintained premises for their invited guests – prospective consumers like you.
Q: I fell in a public place, and I don’t know who owns it. Could I still have a claim against someone?
Yes. Many places that are publicly accessible are leased or owned by private entities, but even when they are not, you may still have a claim against the corporation or person who is responsible for maintaining the premises in proper working order. We can help you figure out who the responsible party is and represent your interests against them.
Q: I was texting while walking and tripped on a faulty sidewalk, or in a store where there was liquid on the floor, can I still recover for my injuries?
Well, the short, but complicated answer is: it depends. In Pennsylvania, there is a statute for comparative negligence, where you, the plaintiff, could have contributed to the fall by your own negligence- walking while distracted. However, PA law allows for you to still recover if the defendant’s negligence was more contributory to the incident than you were. In other words, if the defendant was 51% or more negligent to the factors that led to the injury, you can still recover, but your recovery could be diminished based on your contributed negligence. This means if you were distracted while walking, but there was a large oil spill in aisle four of your local grocery store that the store knew or should have known about, they could be found to be 85% negligent in this situation, where you would only be 15% negligent.
Q: I fell down the stairs at a restaurant and broke three bones, is the restaurant liable?
As a business, the restaurant does have a duty to take reasonable care to know the condition of the property and identify any defects on the property, or give warning and notice of the risk presented to someone like you, who is considered a business invitee. That means, if the handrail wasn’t attached properly, or the stair heights differed, or there was a gap between one stair and the next that caused you to miss a step, and there were no visible warning signs, then the owner could be liable.