In Pennsylvania, as in other states, the owner of residential or commercial property has a duty to maintain the premises in such a way as to minimize the risk of injury to anyone legally on the property. That duty can also extend to anyone who maintains control of property, from a property manager to a landlord or tenant. The duty requires reasonable monitoring to discover and remedy any potentially dangerous conditions.
There are a couple other issues that you should be aware of, if you have sustained an injury on someone else’s property:
- The Statute of Limitations—Under the laws of the state, there’s a time limit for filing a lawsuit to recover any losses sustained as a result of a slip and fall. In Pennsylvania, that period of time is two years, typically measured from the date of the injury, or from the date you learned of the injury. There’s good reason for this rule—memories fade and evidence gets lost, so the sooner you file, the better the chance of a fair trial for everyone. In addition, the law considers it unreasonable that a person should have a potential lawsuit hanging out there for an extended period of time.
- The Principle of Comparative Negligence—In a personal injury case based on negligence, the jury typically requires the at-fault party to pay for losses suffered by the injured party. If the injured party was negligent in any way and that negligence caused or contributed to the accident, the injured party may have some responsibility. Under Pennsylvania law, if the jury determines that the injured party was more than 50% responsible for the accident, the injured party cannot recover any compensation. For example, if you went into an area that was blocked off by tape or cones, or if you were on a device or otherwise engaged in distracted behavior, that may be considered contributory negligence and may reduce or preclude damages.
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At Barnard, Mezzanotte, Pinnie, Seelaus & Kraft LLP, we offer experienced and knowledgeable legal counsel to individuals in Pennsylvania. To set up an appointment for a free initial consultation, call us at 610-565-4055 or 302-594-4535 or contact us online