Venango County property owners have a duty to keep their properties safe and well maintained in order to prevent visitors and guests from suffering injuries due to dangers on the property. When property owners breach that duty of care, they may be responsible for guests who are injured on their property due to dangerous conditions that owners failed to remediate. Depending on the scenario, Pennsylvania premises liability laws may apply to property owners, landlords, property managers, and renters.
People often think of premises liability claims as slip and falls on a neighbor’s icy sidewalk or something similar, but as premises liability attorneys know, there are many different types of accidents and injuries that fall under premises liability law and these claims are not restricted to someone else’s house. Premises liability claims may arise on just about any type of property such as amusement parks, hotels, retail stores, a neighbor’s house, public property including parks and playgrounds, schools, daycares, and churches.
Types of premises liability claims
Our attorneys represent clients in a variety of premises liability accidents and injuries including:
- Dog bites and dog attacks
- Swimming pool accidents
- Slip, trip, and falls caused by conditions such as spills, poor lighting, walkway obstructions, and uneven stairs
- Poor security leading to robberies and assaults
- Poor maintenance such as broken and cracked pavement, failure to remove ice from walkways, broken railings, and cracked or missing floor tiles
- Unsecured construction zones
- Unsafe and poorly maintained elevators
Defenses to premises liability claims
Common defenses to premises liability claims are described below.
- Trespassers are typically not owed a duty of care and will often not be successful in a premises liability claim. There are exceptions to this defense, however, and the facts should be discussed with a premises liability attorney before determining that an injured trespasser does not have a claim.
- Of course homeowners may claim that they did not know about the dangerous condition that caused the injury and that may actually be a solid defense in some cases, but not in all cases. For example, if a guest were injured on a broken step that the owner walked up and down every day, it would be hard for the homeowner to claim that he or she did not know that the step was broken.
- When homeowners do not deny knowledge of a dangerous condition on their property, their defense is often that they warned the guest of the dangerous condition. An obvious example of a warning is the yellow ‘Caution! Wet floor!’ signs that are frequently posted near freshly mopped floors in retail stores.
- Homeowners may argue that a dangerous condition was so open and obvious that no warning was necessary and that the guest’s own negligence caused the accident due to his or her failure to notice the dangerous condition or failure to avoid it.