When Is the Property Owner Liable for an Injury In Pennsylvania

By Ben Gobel on March 14, 2024

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Have you ever wondered who is responsible for accidents that occur on someone else’s property? The answer lies in premises liability law, which holds property owners accountable for maintaining a safe environment for visitors. Read on to understand premises liability and learn how Ogg, Murphy & Perkosky, P.C. can hold property owners accountable for accidents. 

Understanding Premises Liability And Its Legal Implications

A premises liability lawsuit can hold property owners accountable for injuries happening on their land due to negligence. They have a legal duty to maintain a reasonably safe environment for lawful visitors. This applies differently depending on the visitor type: invitees like customers, licensees like social guests, and trespassers.

If the owner fails in this duty (e.g., having a broken staircase), and it leads to an injury, the victim can sue. To win, they must prove the owner’s negligence caused the harm. If successful, they may receive compensation for medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering.

Responsibilities Of Property Owners In Maintaining Safe Premises

Property owners have a legal responsibility to ensure the safety of visitors on their premises. The key responsibilities of a property owner in maintaining safe premises include:

Regular inspections and maintenance

Property owners must regularly inspect their premises for potential hazards, such as broken equipment, damaged flooring, or slippery surfaces. They must also perform necessary maintenance to address these hazards and prevent accidents.

Providing adequate warnings and signage

The owner must provide clear and visible warnings or signage to alert visitors to potential hazards, such as wet floors, steep stairs, or dangerous animals.

Ensuring proper lighting

Adequate lighting is essential for maintaining a safe environment. A property owner must ensure that their premises are well-lit, particularly in areas where accidents are more likely to occur, such as stairways, walkways, and parking lots.

Maintaining secure premises

Property owners must take measures to prevent unauthorized access to their premises, such as installing fences, gates, or security cameras.

Responding to incidents promptly

In the event of an accident or injury on the property, property owners must respond promptly and provide necessary assistance, such as calling for medical help or providing first aid.

Overall, property owners are expected to exercise reasonable care in maintaining their premises.

Common Types of Premises Liability Accidents

Accidents happen, but some could have been prevented if property owners took better care of their premises. Premises liability protects visitors from injuries caused by a property owner’s negligence. Here are some common types of premises liability accidents:

Other examples of premises liability accidents include fires caused by faulty wiring, injuries from malfunctioning elevators or escalators, and assaults that could have been prevented.

Proving Negligence In Premises Liability Cases

To win a premises liability case, you must prove negligence. The elements of negligence are:

Duty of Care

First, you need to show the owner owes you a safe environment. This depends on why you were there—invitees (like customers) have a higher duty of care owed to them than trespassers.

Breach of Duty

Did the owner fail to keep things safe? This could be anything from neglecting a broken step to having inadequate security or failing to warn of a hazard.

Direct Cause

The owner’s negligence must be the direct cause of your accident. This means you need to show the accident wouldn’t have happened if they’d fulfilled their duty.


Finally, you need to prove you suffered real losses from the accident, like medical bills, lost wages, or pain and suffering.

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Compensation for Victims of Premises Liability Accidents

Premises liability accidents can leave you with unexpected medical bills and lost wages.  Thankfully, premises liability laws allow you to seek compensation for these damages. Here’s what you might be able to recover:

In some cases, depending on the severity of the accident and the property owner’s actions, punitive damages may also be awarded to punish egregious negligence. It’s important to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney to understand the full scope of damages you may be entitled to.

Benefits of Hiring a Premises Liability Attorney

Hiring a premises liability attorney can significantly improve the chances of securing compensation for victims of accidents on someone else’s property. According to studies, individuals who hire legal representation for their premises liability claims receive, on average, 3.5 times more compensation than those who represent themselves. 

This is because experienced attorneys understand the complex legal processes and effectively handle communication with insurance companies, gather important evidence, and negotiate competently to maximize compensation. They help you get through the overwhelming and time-consuming legal system, allowing you to focus on your recovery.

Ogg, Murphy & Perkosky, P.C

Do you need a strong advocate for your premises liability case? Ogg, Murphy & Perkosky can help. We’re a leading law firm with a winning record in premises liability lawsuits. Explore our case results to see how we’ve helped clients like you. Call now!