injury victim filling out personal injury claim

What You Need to Know About Premises Liability Claims

Property owners have a duty to keep their property reasonably free of hazards in order to keep those who come on to their property safe. This is how premises liability claims came to be. When a property owner fails to uphold this duty and someone is injured as a result, the injured party can bring a premises liability claim seeking compensation for the harm they have suffered as a result of that failed duty.

What You Need to Know About Premises Liability Claims

Premises liability claims fall under the purview of personal injury law and, like the majority of personal injury claims, they are based on a legal theory of negligence. In order to prove negligence, a claimant must show that they were owed a duty of care, that the party who owed them a duty of care failed to uphold the duty, and that they suffered harm that was caused by this failure. Thus, injury resulting from a property owner’s negligence can be the basis of a premises liability claim.

It is worth emphasizing, however, that being injured on the property of another will not, in and of itself, mean you have a viable premises liability claim on your hands. The simple fact that there was an unsafe property condition on their property does not necessarily mean you have a viable premises liability claim on your hands. The property owner must have known or should reasonably have known about the hazardous condition and taken reasonable steps to neutralize the danger it posed.

Slip and fall cases are perhaps the most common or the most well-known type of premises liability claim. In a slip and fall case, a fall is caused by a dangerous property condition on the property of another. Dangerous property conditions that lead to such falls often include:

  • Staircase defect
  • Ice or snow
  • Wet or slick floors
  • Walkways in disrepair
  • Unsecured rugs

Dog bite cases are another common type of premises liability claim. Property owners that have dogs have a duty to keep their dog properly restrained. This is especially true if the property owner is aware that the dog has a tendency to be aggressive. If a dog is not properly secured by a leash, fencing, or something else, and that dog injures a person, then the dog owner can be held responsible for the resulting harm suffered by that person.

When a person brings a premises liability claim, they can seek compensatory damages. Compensatory damages are indeed intended to compensate a claimant for harm they have suffered. A premises liability claimant can seek damages such as:

  • Cost of medical care
  • Cost of future medical care
  • Lost wages
  • Loss of future earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering

In certain cases that prove particularly egregious, a claimant may be able to seek punitive damages. Unlike compensatory damages, punitive damages seek to punish the at-fault party and deter others from engaging in such behavior.

Philadelphia Personal Injury Attorneys

If you have been injured on someone else’s property, do not hesitate to get in touch with the trusted personal injury team at Cooper, Schall & Levy to discuss your options for bringing a premises liability claim. Contact us today.

Couple meeting attorney to discuss negligent security claim.

What Is a Negligent Security Claim?

If a person is injured because this duty has been violated, then he or she may be able to seek compensation from the person tasked with maintaining the property. This category of personal injury claims is referred to as “premises liability.” One of the most common kinds of premises liability claims involve slip and falls. Another type of premises liability is a negligent security claim.

Understanding a Negligent Security Claim

A negligent security claim is a form of civil redress for harm suffered due to criminal acts. Part of a property owner’s duty to maintain safe property conditions is providing reasonable security measures in order to protect visitors from foreseeable crimes perpetrated by third parties. If a person has been the victim of a crime that may have been prevented had the property owner put proper security measures in place, the injured person may seek compensation from the property owner for his or her injuries. Premises liability claims often arise from crimes such as robbery, assault, battery, and rape.

In order to bring a successful negligent security claim, the plaintiff, the injured party, will need to be able to prove that the property owner failed to uphold the duty to exercise reasonable care in providing adequate security measures on the property. The plaintiff will need to prove that he or she was lawfully present on the defendant’s property, was injured by a criminal act on the property that was reasonably foreseeable to the defendant, and that he or she would not have been the victim of this criminal activity had the defendant upheld the requisite duty of care. The plaintiff must also show that he or she sustained actual damages.

The really critical issues in negligent security claims include the foreseeability of the crime and whether sufficient, reasonable security measures were taken to prevent the foreseeable crime from being committed. A crime may be considered reasonable foreseeable if there were other, similar crimes previously committed in the area. If law enforcement were often called to the property, this may also be evidence of foreseeability of the criminal activity. Whether the property owner took reasonable measures to keep visitors safe will depend on the foreseeability of the crime. A property owner may take the following steps to prevent crime from occurring in the property:

  • Posting warning signs
  • Having adequate safety lighting (such as motion sensor lighting and floodlights)
  • Using motion sensor alarms
  • Posting security guards
  • Installing locks
  • Training staff on how to respond to suspicious people
  • Installing security cameras.

Pennsylvania Premises Liability Attorneys

If you have been the victim of a crime that took place on the property of another, you may be able to seek compensation for the harm you endured because of the crime. The team of dedicated premises liability attorneys at Cooper Schall & Levy are here to fight for you. Contact us today.

Cooper Schall & Levy gives an overview of a notice requirement in premises liability cases.

What Is the Notice Requirement in Premises Liability Cases?

If you have injured yourself on the property of another person or on a business’s property, you may be able to bring a premises liability claim seeking compensation for your injuries and other losses. To successfully bring a premises liability claim, you must be prepared to establish that the defendant, the person you are bringing a claim against, owed you a duty to exercise due care. You must also show that the defendant breached this duty. Finally, you must prove that the breach of the legal duty was the proximate cause of your injuries. A landowner is not going to be responsible for every injury that occurs on their property. 

The Notice Requirement in Premises Liability Cases

Many people are not aware that a property owner must know or have reason to know of a dangerous condition on the property before being held responsible for injuries caused by the dangerous condition. This is what is referred to as the “notice requirement” in a premises liability claim because it refers to the fact that the property owner must have been put on notice that the dangerous condition existed. 

Landowners have an affirmative duty to exercise ordinary and reasonable care to protect the safety of people expected to be on the property. This includes protecting against risks associated with dangerous conditions and means that the owner must do things like make regular inspections of the property or take other affirmative steps to be aware of property conditions. However, you must still be able to prove that the owner knew or should have known that a dangerous condition existed.

As the party bringing the claim, you have the burden of proving that the owner had either actual or constructive notice of the dangerous condition and failed to remedy the situation before you got hurt. Knowledge of the dangerous condition may have been actual or implied. Actual knowledge refers to when a property owner knew about the condition because he or she actually saw the condition or someone told him or her of the condition prior to the accident. Implied knowledge, also referred to as “constructive knowledge,” relies on the fact that the owner should have known of the dangerous condition because either it was something like an obvious hazard or the dangerous condition had been around for a period of time where the owner had ample opportunity, considering a property owner’s affirmative duty to inspect the property for hazards, to see the dangerous condition and also to remedy the situation.

Premises Liability Attorneys

Proving all necessary elements of a premises liability case as well as fulfilling the notice requirement can be an uphill battle. At Cooper Schall & Levy, our attorneys are well versed in the area of premises liability claims and know what it takes to be successful. We are here to fight for you and your right to compensation for your injuries. Contact us today.