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Pittsburgh Premises Liability Law Blog

Asbestos-related illness can be dangerous and fatal

Getting sick due to the place in which you work is unconscionable. Asbestos-related illnesses have become more prevalent lately, especially in Pennsylvania. Asbestos is a substance that occurs naturally in the environment and is usually in bundles of fiber that can be separated into thin durable threads. They are fire resistant and heat resistant and that makes them useful in many industries. They also don't conduct electricity.

Sounds great, right? Not so great if you are exposed to this mineral. If these fibers are disturbed at all, the tiny fibers can be released in the air and can be breathed in by people. When they are breathed in, they get trapped in your lungs and other places in your body and stay there for quite a while.

Rock wall fall results in lawsuit

A lawsuit has been filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania against a company based in Utah. The company operates a "Ninja Course" in King of Prussia. It's this course where a girl reportedly broke her leg while on the course.

The "Ninja Course" is 100 yards long and is an obstacle course made of trampolines and walls. At the end, there is a rock wall that the participants must climb; however, the only way to get out of the course or off the rock wall is to jump to a fire pole. The fire pole leads down to an area full of foam that has a concrete base.

Slip and fall accidents are quite dangerous

Think that slip and fall accidents aren't much of a big deal? If so, you won't be surprised that many business owners all but ignore them, as well. They will instead focus on other safety issues, such as telling employees what to do and where to go if the building catches on fire or telling them where the first aid kits are located. They may also have training sessions for people using heavy machinery. These are all to make sure that there are not injuries at work and that any injuries that do occur are addressed properly.

While these things are good, it's worth pointing out that none of them cause as many injuries as simple slip and fall accidents. The leading reason for personal injury lawsuits, as you may know, is car accidents. Right after that, at second in the country, are slip and fall accidents.

Asbestos-related illness common in auto repair shops

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral fiber that is extremely resistant to heat. It is highly poisonous when inhaled and can cause lung problems to those who are exposed to it. For instance, if you are in an office that is being renovated and there is asbestos in the walls or ceiling, this type of thin and lightweight asbestos will get released into the air and can cause you to get sick. Breathing this into your lungs could you to get a disease called mesothelioma, asbestosis or even lung cancer.

If you smoke, the risk of surviving this illness becomes even higher. It can take between 10 and 40 years to see any symptoms of the diseases listed above.

Family of girl killed at farm to sue driver and public agencies

A two-year old girl passed away last October after being hit by a van and pinned between it and another van. The girl was from Budd Lake, and the incident took place at Alstede Farms. The vans were being used as shuttle buses.

The driver of the van that struck the girl did get a ticket from the police for careless driving. However, further criminal charges were never leveled against him.

Is a landlord responsible for smoke detectors in Pennsylvania?

The Pennsylvania Tenants Bill of Rights provides tenants with specific protections from a landlord's illegal actions. Included in this legislation are several provisions, such as limits on when and how a landlord can lock out a tenant who hasn't paid the rent or when and what a landlord may remove from the property when a tenant hasn't paid the rent.

When it comes to the safety and security of tenants, Pennsylvania law is quite clear. A landlord must install a smoke detector outside of every bedroom, unless there is a hallway that connects multiple bedrooms. Then a single smoke detector is allowed. The smoke detectors must be working and the tenant is not allowed to disconnect them or waive this provision.

Water ride resort chain blamed for teen’s injuries

Indoor and outdoor water parks are the big draw for a Pennsylvania resort opening in the Poconos this summer. The company's website states this is the third Kalahari Resort in the country. One of the Kalahari chain's Midwestern resorts recently was named as a defendant in a premises liability lawsuit, concerning the injury of a water park visitor in 2012.

The lawsuit was filed by the parents of a boy who was injured on the resort's Sahara Sidewinders ride where guests are released through a trap door to access a spiral water slide. The complaint alleges that the resort dismissed the seriousness of other "reported incidents" on the same ride and did nothing to limit "unreasonable" risks of injury for guests.

Defendants in slip-and-fall claim: Ice was obvious

Two of the three defendants in a recent case involving a customer's accident outside a restaurant argued it was the plaintiff's fault for getting hurt. In some Pennsylvania cases, injured parties can be blamed, at least in part, for accidents that occur on other people's property. A premises liability attorney can help determine whether partial fault will affect the success of a liability lawsuit.

The defendants were accused of failing to treat an icy sidewalk at the Panera Bread restaurant in the Midwest. A complaint filed in November stated the plaintiff was injured in December 2012, when he fell on a thin coating of ice at the restaurant entrance. Two defendants responded to the claim in January, alleging the walkway contained an obvious and "natural" accumulation of ice.

When is a Pennsylvania landlord responsible for injuries?

Maintenance of a property is generally the owner's responsibility. This is a fairly straightforward rule for Allegheny County homeowners. However, maintenance duties aren't so clear cut when you start talking about leased property.

Many Pennsylvania properties are rented for residential or commercial purposes. Owners are often off-site with upkeep assigned to property managers or operators. Some chores, like snow removal or groundskeeping services, may be outsourced to third parties.

Responsibility for Pennsylvania slip-and-fall accidents

A desire for personal comfort and safety gives Allegheny County homeowners a vested interest in caring for a property. Owners of commercial property and some residential properties – apartments, rented homes and condominiums – often share maintenance duties with tenants, operators or property managers.

Owners take care of properties for aesthetic reasons and to add value to an asset. Parties responsible for maintenance also must take precautions to keep visitors safe from harm. Under Pennsylvania premises liability laws, negligent property owners can be held accountable for on-site injuries like slip-and-fall accidents.