As businesses in the state of Pennsylvania begin to reopen after months of temporary closures, business owners should keep in mind the importance of a safe premises. The failure to take care of a property can cause the grounds to become hazardous, thus putting visitors in jeopardy of becoming injured in an accident. When this happens, the injured party can pursue legal action against a negligent business owner under premises liability law. Continue reading below to learn more about how the liability a business owner has in these situations.
What are the Three Legal Classes of Visitors?
When discussing premises liability law, visitors can be classified in three different ways:
- Invitee: This is a person who comes onto a property due to express invitation or the invitation of an employee. This invitation does not have to be in writing. In situations of businesses, the invitation is to transact business for both parties’ mutual benefit.
- Licensee: This is a guest for personal reasons, not for business or commercial purposes. For example, a guest invited over to a house for dinner can be a licensee. When discussing business visitors, these individuals are almost always invitees and not licensees.
- Trespasser: This is a person who comes onto a property without being invited, usually violating trespassing laws. They may be a customer who does not leave when asked or a burglar. While business owners are not legally required to keep trespassers safe, they cannot purposely cause them harm.
What are Common Causes of Injury Claims?
The following are common causes of personal injury accidents on business properties that can result in a business owner being held legally responsible for injuries:
- Slippery surfaces: Slip and fall accidents can be caused by rain, snow, ice, spills, wet or waxed floors, etc..
- Faulty stairs and escalators: Stairwell, elevator, and escalator accidents can be the result of broken railings, slippery steps, and mechanical failures.
- Falling merchandise: Objects that fall off shelves can injure both employees and customers.
- Physical obstacles: Poorly placed electrical cords, protruding furniture, floor mats or door moldings, door stops, fallen merchandise, etc., should be taken care of immediately.
- Inadequate lighting: Certain hazards such as curbs, physical obstructions, steps, potholes, etc. may not be seen without proper lighting, thus causing accidents.
- Parking lots: Accidents can be caused by concrete car stops, potholes, misdirected cars, uneven pavement, poor signage, construction, criminal activity, etc.
- Sidewalks: Broken, cracked, or uneven sidewalks can cause accidents. While business owners are not responsible for government-controlled sidewalks, they may be for sidewalks that are adjacent to their business.
- Food poisoning: Customers can be made sick due to poor food handling, poor storage, or the transmission of disease from employees at food-service locations.
Contact our Firm
If you or a loved one has been in a personal injury accident in Pennsylvania, it’s important that you contact an experienced Philadelphia personal injury attorney to help you with your case and to make sure that you are not taken advantage of. Contact Spear Greenfield to get the right attorney in your corner.