Our law firm handles thousands of premises liability injury cases each year. In fact, premises liability cases are one of the most common types of personal injury cases. Why? The short answer is because people often do not take care of their property.
This lack of care leads to someone getting hurt through no fault of their own. A Philadelphia premises liability lawyer knows that you may have some questions regarding the laws in Pennsylvania and how they protect your rights.
What Does Premises Liability Mean?
The term “premises liability” refers to a legal concept that applies to personal injury cases involving accidents that occurred on someone else’s property. Premises liability laws state that property owners must maintain safe and hazard-free conditions on their property at all times.
If someone is injured because of a failure to fulfill this legal obligation, the property owner could be held liable for the victim’s injuries in a premises liability claim.
What Are the Most Common Types of Premises Liability Claims in Philadelphia?
A premises liability claim can arise in a number of different ways. Some of the most common types of claims involve:
- Slip and Fall: This is the most common type of premises liability case. A slip and fall occur when someone loses their footing and falls.
- Trip and Fall: A trip and fall is often caused by something sticking out where it shouldn’t be. No reasonable person would have anticipated the condition on the property – think defective staircase, broken or uneven stairwells.
- Lack of Security: This accident often involves situations where criminal activity, i.e., assault, rape or other terrible situations occur. These situations could have been avoided should there have been proper security was put in place.
- Negligent Security: Negligent security is seen a lot at casinos, bars, concerts, and other public events. The organizers and/or owners of the property hosting the event need to have proper security in place. Even when there is adequate security, they also need to have the personnel trained properly.
- Fire: Property owners and property managers need to have proper fire safety equipment installed (i.e., alarm systems, fire extinguishers that work, etc.). Fire premises liability cases have some of the worst injuries and sometimes even fatalities.
- Swimming Pool Accidents: If you have a pool you need proper safety equipment, fencing, and trained lifeguards in place. Additionally, the proper homeowners’ insurance needs to be purchased if you own a house with a swimming pool.
- Dog Bites: These are not often thought of as a premises liability case, but that’s what a dog bit case is. Keep in mind if you rent a property out to a tenant with a dog you may have liability for a dog bite accident.
- Elevator and Escalator Accidents: Records of all inspections and maintenance need to be reviewed by a lawyer in these types of accident cases.
Proving Negligence in Premises Liability Cases
A property owner is not automatically held liable for every injury that is sustained on his property. It is up to the plaintiff–with the help of an attorney–to prove that the property owner was negligent and therefore should be held liable for the victim’s injuries.
To prove negligence, the plaintiff must show that the property owner knew or should have known about the dangerous condition on his property. An attorney can use various types of evidence to build a case against the property owner, including photos from the scene, witness testimony, and surveillance footage.
Do You Need An Aggressive Personal Injury Lawyer For A Premises Liability Claim?
It’s strongly recommended that you hire an experienced personal injury attorney to handle your premises liability claim. Why? Recovering compensation is never guaranteed, and these particular cases are known for their complexity.
The defendant will more than likely have a team of attorneys on their side, and you should not face them alone. You need a Philadelphia premises liability attorney who has a track record of securing large settlements and verdicts in premises liability claims.
Do I Need a Philadelphia Premise Liability Lawyer If I Get Injured at Walmart or a Similar Big Box Store?
Yes, we recommend hiring a premise liability attorney early in your injury case to help you with your claim against big box stores. If you go up against these large entities, you will most likely struggle to get paid fairly, or at all, on your injury claim.
If you are seriously injured at a big box or name-brand store like Walmart, Home Depot, Target, or Bed Bath and Beyond, it is important to know these big stores will hire companies such as Sedgwick CMS or Claims Management Inc. (CMI), which are called third-party administrators or “TPA’s”. Sedgwick CMS and CMI act as insurance adjusters and process insurance claims on behalf of stores and businesses.
If you go up against these large entities, you will most likely struggle to get paid fairly, or at all, on your injury claim. We have heard horror stories from clients who stated that they were not able to reach the adjuster handling their claim for months, leaving countless messages with no calls back. If you are fortunate enough to get in touch with an adjuster and they do offer a settlement, it is almost always an offer far below the fair value of what it is truly worth. They are notorious for making low-ball offers, also called nuisance value, just so you go away. The Sedgwick adjuster may appear to be acting on your behalf, remember, their sole purpose for being is to save their client’s money.
Sedgwick, and similar companies like it, will do the same work as an in house insurance adjuster would, including things like: collecting evidence like incident reports and photographs, taking statements of the injured person and witnesses, collecting medical records and medical bills of the claimant and in short trying to minimize the risk to the company that they are working on behalf of. The TPA works at the direction of and according to the wishes of the store or business you are presenting a claim with.
Sedgwick’s and CMI’s real purpose is to help Big Stores avoid liability for your accident.
Companies like Sedgwick and CMI were established to help big stores figure out how not to pay your injury claim. The tactics they use have been expertly developed to use every effort to avoid fault for your accident. If they cannot come up with a way to try and avoid liability, they will make every effort to minimize your injury.
Can I Handle My Injury Claim Myself?
You can certainly try to negotiate your claim with Sedgwick or CMI, but expect to get a very small offer, if anything at all. Personally, our law firm has settled slip and fall cases for 10 times the value of the first offer our client received from Sedgwick before we were hired. Remember, Sedgwick has the expertise and is paid to minimize payouts for their clients, and they do this on a daily basis. If you go up against them alone, you will be facing a huge company that would like nothing more than to hold on to every dollar and cent, and has the manpower and resources to do just that. In order to level the playing field, you need to hire a strong personal injury law firm to act on your behalf. If our firm takes your case, we have the power of filing a lawsuit on your behalf and will fight with the expertise you need to put you in the position of maximizing your injury claim.
Schedule A Free Consultation With An Award-Winning Premises Liability Law Firm In Philadelphia, PA Today
If you’ve been injured due to negligence while on someone else’s property, you most likely have several questions that you need to be answered. If you’ve got questions, we’ve got answers.
Our premises liability attorneys have recovered millions of dollars for our clients. We’ve helped locals get the compensation they need time and time again.
Contact a Philadelphia premises liability lawyer today for a free consultation to learn more about your legal options. You can reach us by calling or filling out the form on our website.