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Category: Premises Liability

May 18, 2022 - Personal Injury

Who Is Most At Risk for a Slip and Fall?

Slips and falls are among the most common causes of traumatic brain injuries (TBI), bone fractures, soft tissue damage and other physical injuries. While anyone can slip and fall, some individuals are at greater risk than others. Unfortunately, while knowing your (or a family member’s) level of risk can help you mitigate this risk in some cases, there are still many factors that will be beyond your control. 5 Categories of Individuals Who are At Greater Risk for Slips and Falls So, who is most at risk of being injured in a slip-and-fall accident? Some of the most at-risk populations include: 1. Children Children face increased risks for two main reasons. First, children are more likely to engage in activities that are likely to result in falls. Whether playing on the playground or running down the steps, children face fall risks in many, if not most, of their day-to-day activities. Second, since children are still growing, their bodies—and their bones in particular—are more susceptible to trauma than those of young and middle-aged adults. For example, greenstick fractures are particularly common among children, and these injuries occur because children’s bones have not yet developed their full strength. 2. Older Adults As we age, our bodies begin to deteriorate, and this increases our risk of injury in the event of a slip and fall. Loss of muscle strength, bone density and coordination also increases older adults’ risk of falling. For those who live in nursing homes, inadequate care, support and facility maintenance […]

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May 21, 2021 - Articles

IS YOUR POOL SAFE? 5 Tips for Homeowners

  The month of May is both National Water Safety Month and the typical start of pool season. In 2020, installing a swimming pool was a popular home addition, as many families opted for “stay-cations” during these COVID quarantine times. Unfortunately, drowning remains the number one cause of accidental death for children ages 1 -4. Additionally, according to government statistics, there were on average an estimated 6,700 pool or spa-related ER visits for non-fatal injuries from 2015- 2017 for children younger than 15. Listed below are five tips to keep your pool safe.

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Oct 17, 2019 - Premises Liability

Common Defenses in Slip and Fall Lawsuits

In Pennsylvania, and elsewhere, slip and fall injury claims come under the umbrella of premises liability, which gives those who sustain injuries on another’s property the opportunity to sue and recover damages if their injury was caused by the defendant’s failure to maintain their property in a reasonably safe condition. Suppose, for example, that you are walking through the defendant’s store, and a defective tile suddenly breaks loose, causing you to slip and fall, injuring yourself.  Given these circumstances, you would very likely be entitled to bring an action against the defendant for damages. Though you may feel that you have a strong claim, it’s important not to underestimate the defendant in a slip and fall lawsuit.  Pennsylvania law affords slip and fall defendants a number of strategic defenses that can be used to avoid or minimize their liability.  In order to successfully recover damages, you’ll therefore have to understand how to circumvent or otherwise undermine these defenses. For clarity, let’s explore three of the most commonly encountered defenses in Pennsylvania slip and fall injury lawsuits. Open and Obvious Condition All premises liability claims — including slip and fall injury claims — require that the dangerous condition at issue is non-obvious.  In other words, if the dangerous slip and fall condition would be hidden and unobservable by the average person (in similar circumstances to the plaintiff), then liability may attach.  If the defendant can show that you were aware of the dangerous condition, or that it was sufficiently obvious that […]

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Apr 30, 2019 - Premises Liability

What Qualifies as a Dangerous Condition of Property?

Slip and Fall Lawyer in Allentown, PA If you have sustained injuries in a slip and fall accident, then you may be entitled to compensation under Pennsylvania law (through litigation against the at-fault property owner or possessor).  Though slip and fall accidents come under the larger umbrella of personal injury litigation, they involve unique elements and challenges that are worth consideration, particularly as you begin the claims evaluation process. Let’s take a closer look. Slip and Fall Basics In Pennsylvania, and elsewhere, slip and fall liability is imposed when a property owner or possessor creates a dangerous condition (i.e., a hazard), or negligently fails to correct a known dangerous condition, and thereby exposes the premises entrant to an unreasonable risk of harm. It’s worth noting that the defendant is not always liable for damages caused by a dangerous condition — if the owner did not know about the existence of the dangerous condition, and could not reasonably have known about it, then they cannot be held liable for damages.  Further, if the premises entrant (the injured plaintiff) knew about the dangerous condition, or if the condition was obvious, then they are not entitled to compensation for their injuries. Critically, success in a slip and fall lawsuit often turns on whether the condition at issue was actually “dangerous.” Understanding “Dangerous” Conditions A dangerous condition of the property — in other words, a hazard — is that which exposes others to an unreasonable risk of harm given the circumstances.  The risk must […]

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Jun 22, 2018 - Premises Liability

Property Owners Must Fix Tripping Hazards As Soon As Possible

If you have been injured in a trip-and-fall or slip-and-fall accident in Pennsylvania, you may be entitled to damages pursuant to a premises liability claim.  Premises liability claims are not as straightforward as they might initially appear, however.  Even in cases where the court may agree that there was a hazard on the property, and that the defendant had a duty to correct the hazard, there may be issues involving “timeliness” that could influence liability (and thus, your recovery). Let’s begin with some of the basics. Basic Elements of Premises Liability In Pennsylvania, and throughout the country, those who possess property have a duty to ensure that the property is maintained in a reasonably safe condition.  This requires that: The defendant (possessor of property) know about hazards on the property; and The defendant failed to repair the hazard, or warn visitors about its existence (i.e., through signs or other warnings). In many premises liability cases, the issue of what constitutes a “hazard” lies at the heart of litigation.  Generally speaking, anything which exposes visitors to an unreasonable risk of harm will be considered a hazard. It’s also worth noting that not all hazards will be known to the defendant.  Lack of knowledge does not shield the defendant from liability, however.  If the defendant “should have known” about the existence of the hazard at-issue, then they could still be found liable for failing to correct the hazard (or warn others about it). Timeliness Timeliness is a challenging concept in premises liability, […]

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Feb 19, 2018 - Premises Liability

Understanding Slip and Fall Liability

In Pennsylvania, and elsewhere, those who possess or otherwise control a given property can be held liable for their failure to exercise reasonable care in maintaining the premises in a safe condition for those entering upon such premises.  Premises liability governs a category of claims that include a range of accident scenarios, such as slip-and-fall, and attaches liability to those who are negligent in their maintenance of property, thus exposing entrants to a significant and unreasonable risk of injury. Unfortunately, many injured persons are not aware of their right to recover — under Pennsylvania law — with regard to slip-and-fall accidents.  For the sake of clarity, let’s explore the basics of premises liability in Pennsylvania, first. Premises Liability Basics Pennsylvania law imposes substantially different duties on the possessor of land depending on the “type” of visitor that is injured on the premises at-issue.  For example, a trespasser is owed the lowest standard of care under the law, where the possessor of land will only be held liable for injuries if he has engaged in willful or wanton misconduct.  By contrast, a standard business invitee — a customer at a retail store, for example — is owed the highest standard of care under the law.  Given the enormous range of premises liability law, there are unsurprisingly diverse consequences. Generally speaking, however, most injury claimants will fall under the category of licensee or invitee.  Both licensees and invitees have the consent of the possessor of land to enter and remain upon the […]

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Jan 13, 2017 - Personal Injury

Snow, Ice and Customer Safety

Slips and falls can lead to serious and sometimes permanent injuries and even death.  Contact us online or call Drake, Hileman & Davis, PC at 888-777-7098 if you have been hurt in a slip and fall.  We have the experience to help you get a medical evaluation you can trust and identify the party responsible for your injuries. We will work with you through the entire legal process. Slip and Fall Facts The National Floor Safety Institute (NFSI) has complied the following facts about slips and falls: Slip and falls account for over 8 million hospital emergency room visits and slip and falls are the leading cause of visits (21.3% of all visits are attributed to slip and falls). Fractures are the most likely serious consequence of slip and falls (they occur in 5% of all people who experience a fall). Such falls are the primary cause of days not worked. Each year in the United States, one of every three persons over the age of 65 will experience a fall (1.8 million people over the age of 65 were treated annually in an emergency room because of a fall). The cost of all these falls is staggering.  The NFSI reports that compensation and medical costs associated with slip and fall accidents is approximately $70 billion annually.  These costs include medical expenses, lost wages and reduced productivity. If you have been injured in a slip and fall while visiting a business, contact us so we can help you get the […]

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May 13, 2016 - Premises Liability

WHO IS RESPONSIBLE FOR INJURIES ON A CRACKED SIDEWALK?

On behalf of Peter Hileman of Drake, Hileman & Davis, P.C. posted inPremises Liability on Friday, May 13, 2016. If the sidewalk outside of someone’s home is cracked and in poor repair, it may be slightly annoying. However, it may not be something he or she is really interested in fixing. The repair job may be too expensive, the person may be planning on moving — and therefore hesitant to make long-term repairs — or he or she may just not feel like putting in the time and effort. The homeowner may believe that it’s up to the city to make the repairs. The thing that people need to remember, though, is that repairing the sidewalk may subject them to liability if someone is injured on it If maintenance is not done, those who are injured may be able to seek compensation through a premises liability case. There is significant precedent for this in Pennsylvania. Back in 1998, a woman was walking along a cracked sidewalk when she tripped and fell. She hurt her shoulder and her wrist, and four of her teeth were knocked out. Considering these substantial injuries and the monetary costs that went along with them, she decided to sue the people who owned the adjacent house. The case was finally decided in 2004, and she won. The court ruled that the three family members who owned the house were primarily liable. If you’ve been injured because someone else did not take proper care of their property […]

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Mar 17, 2016 - Premises Liability

ROOT CAUSES CAN DETERMINE FAULT IN ACCIDENTS

On behalf of Peter Hileman of Drake, Hileman & Davis, P.C. posted in Premises Liability on Thursday, March 17, 2016. When an accident happens, to determine whether or not there is a premises liability case for those who are injured, it’s important to break things down and look at the root causes of the accident. Only by doing this can fault be determined in specific situations. A popular example of this is the tragedy that happened at the Kansas City Hyatt-Regency Hotel back in the 1980s. There was a dance contest at the hotel, people grouped up to watch it from pedestrian walkways, and the walkway on the fourth floor collapsed. It then hit the one below it and they both fell all the way to the ground floor. Over 200 people were injured and 114 perished. When looking for the root cause, what was found was that a longitudinal weld did not have the strength needed to support the walkway. That weld gave out as people stood on the walkway in groups, giving it more weight than usual, when people just walked across it. When the weld failed, a support rod from the walkway then tore through the box beam. That’s what made the walkway collapse, and the second one was destroyed by the impact with the first. Root causes can go even further when establishing fault. There were clearly design issues with the walkways, and it was later discovered that project management errors made it so that these issues […]

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Dec 10, 2015 - Premises Liability

HOW FAST DO PROPERTY OWNERS NEED TO REMOVE SNOW?

On behalf of Peter Hileman of Drake, Hileman & Davis, P.C. posted in Premises Liability on Thursday, December 10, 2015. If a property owner makes no effort to remove snow and ice from his or her property and then someone slips and is injured as a result, the injured party can start a premises liability lawsuit. This lawsuit can be used to force the owner to pay for the injuries since he or she neglected the snow and allowed the area to become dangerous. There are specific ways this has to be done. The legal code in Philadelphia, for instance, says that the person must create a path that is at least 36 inches wide. That goes for any sidewalks on the property. A big question, then, is how soon these sidewalks have to be cleared. How long does it take for the property owner to be neglectful? Again, the code in Philly can be consulted, and it says that the person has six hours. These begin when the snow stops falling. Obviously, this can be a bit hard to track, but it generally means that the person does have some time after a storm hits. The law is written this way to avoid punishing property owners who couldn’t have done anything differently. For example, what if the owner has to work an eight-hour shift and it snows in the middle of the day? He or she may not even get back and see the accumulation for four hours. People who […]

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