There is more than one type of premises liability, the legal principle that requires property owners to maintain safe conditions to avoid causing harm to those who visit. While most commonly we think of premises liability in terms of slips and falls resulting from obstacles or slippery conditions, another type of premises liability involves claims against a property owner whose malfunctioning equipment causes a visitor serious harm.
If you have been injured by malfunctioning equipment due to the negligence of another person at a construction site, gym, private residence, or public building, you may well be a victim of the latter type of premises liability. If so, and you live in Philadelphia or the surrounding area, the capable personal injury attorneys of Cooper Schall & Levy are eager to help you recover the damages you deserve.
Malfunctioning Equipment vs. Product Liability
It’s essential to distinguish between premises liability concerning malfunctioning equipment and product liability. Premises liability implicates the property owner for not maintaining the equipment correctly, failing to warn visitors about its danger, or using it incorrectly or dangerously.
Product liability, on the other hand, involves defects in the manufacturing or design process
of the product itself. In most cases, product liability occurs in products that are relatively new since defects in manufacture and design are usually picked up early on. Premises liability malfunctions, however, may occur after many years of use because the property owner has not maintained, repaired, or replaced a worn or damaged piece of equipment.
Types of Equipment That Frequently Malfunction and May Cause Injuries
With the wide range of devices and machines commonly in use, there are a great many kinds of equipment that can cause harm. These include:
- Lawn mowers
- Leaf blowers
- Power tools
- Construction equipment (e.g. cranes, scaffolding)
- Children’s toys
- Portable heaters
- Household appliances (e.g. microwaves, blenders, portable heaters)
- Swimming pools, spa equipment
- Indoor or outdoor grills
- Gym equipment (e.g. treadmills, weight-lifting equipment)
- Heating, cooling, and ventilation equipment
- Smoke or carbon monoxide detectors
As previously noted, equipment malfunction as a type of premises liability can result from several factors: improper use by the operator, poor maintenance, or overuse.
Even in cases in which a plaintiff shares some portion of the blame for what happened, a successful claim for damages is still possible. If the plaintiff is deemed by the court to share responsibility for the accident, however, the damages awarded will be proportionately reduced.
Pennsylvania adheres to the principle of modified comparative negligence in which the claimant is entitled to compensation as long as they are not found to be more than 50 percent responsible-
ble for their injury. So, if the court finds that you ignored a posted warning sign or misused the equipment in question, your damages will be reduced by your percentage of fault. This means that If you are deemed 20 percent at fault for the accident and your court award is $100,000, you will receive $80,000.
Malfunctioning Equipment Injuries Range From Minor to Catastrophic
These injuries may include:
- Head injuries, e.g. concussions, TBIs
- Nerve damage (sensory or motor)
- Organ damage or loss
- Electrical shocks
Damages We Will Fight to Recover
Depending on your particular circumstances, you may be entitled to damages for some or all of the following losses:
- Medical and rehabilitation costs
- Loss of income, present and future
- Replacement services
- Property damage
- Pain and Suffering
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Permanent disability or disfigurement
- Wrongful death of a loved one
In addition to the above compensatory damages, if the defendant’s negligence is found to have been especially egregious, our attorneys may persuade the court to award you punitive damages as well. Punitive damages are designed to punish the defendant as well as to discourage others from behaving in a similarly reckless manner.
Why Cooper Schall & Levy Is the Wise Choice
Our premises liability attorneys are compassionate as well as highly capable. We have a fine track record of successful outcomes, both in and out of the courtroom. You can rely on us to:
- Thoroughly investigate police records, medical reports, and onsite evidence
- Identify and interview witnesses for corroboration of your account of the accident
- Investigate any history of previous negligence on the part of the defendant
- Consult with experts in related fields who can testify on your behalf
- Handle all communications with opposing counsel and insurance adjusters
- Prepare a strong litigation strategy, whether or not a trial becomes necessary
- Negotiate a maximum settlement or court award
Contact Our Experienced Malfunctioning Equipment Premises Liability Lawyers Today
At Cooper Schall & Levy, we are always on your side, well-prepared to protect your right to compensation if you are the victim of another’s negligence. If you have suffered harm due to malfunctioning equipment at another person’s home, a gym or healthcare facility, a public swimming pool, or an amusement park, contact our attorneys to discuss your best options.
We will provide you with outstanding legal representation and strong moral support and will charge you no attorneys’ fees until we win your case.