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Pittsburgh Premises Liability Law Blog

Do recreational agreements bar property owner negligence suits?

The Pennsylvania landscape is well suited to hiking, hunting and fishing. Rural landowners sometimes permit others to enjoy these activities upon their properties. A Pennsylvania law limits liability for landowners, who provide access to their properties for these recreational pleasures.

Under the Pennsylvania Recreation Use of Land and Water Act, most property owners cannot be held responsible for injuries to recreationists, as long as the use of land is fee-free. As with most laws, there are exceptions. Landowners may be accountable for harm caused by failing to warn land users about dangerous conditions, whether the property owner's action was willful or careless.

Are slips, trips and falls common among health care workers?

Most Allegheny County hospitals may seem like efficient operations. We forget hospitals can be bustling, crowded places with medical professionals who often must act quickly to address patients' needs and respond to emergencies. The accelerated pace among workers can result in slips, trips or falls that lead to serious injuries.

Injured hospital workers also must be concerned about medical costs and lost workdays and income. Hospitals have multiple incentives to prevent STF accidents. The risk of losing an employee's services, even temporarily, impacts productivity and the volume of workers' compensation claims.

Hazards and fault in Pittsburgh premises liability cases

People are sometimes guilty of acting in ways that compromise personal safety. You'd probably agree a person running across an icy parking lot while wearing stiletto heels is behaving unreasonably. But, who would be at fault if you fell, while simply walking across the ice-covered parking area in flat shoes?

The owner or occupant of a Pittsburgh residential or business property may be held accountable for harm to visitors. Pennsylvania premises liability claims allege a property owner's lack of concern for visitors was responsible for an accident. It's up to an injured victim to supply convincing proof.

Burn injuries and deaths among Pennsylvania workers

Burns can be caused in various ways. We associate burns with fires, probably because the majority of people treated for serious burns, in Pennsylvania and across the country, have been injured by flames or fires. Forty-three percent of the patients in U.S. burn centers between 2003 and 2012 were burned in this way, but 57 percent suffered burns for different reasons.

More than one-third of burn center patients suffered scalds caused by hot liquids. The remaining patients were injured by chemicals, electricity, hot object contact or for unidentifiable reasons. Nearly three-quarters of burn injuries during that decade originated in homes, but nine percent were the result of occupational accidents.

Why slip and fall accidents are no laughing matter

How many times has watching a video of someone falling down made you laugh? We sometimes laugh at ourselves after a fall, maybe to cope with embarrassment or acknowledge our own carelessness. Eight million people in Pittsburgh and across the U.S. aren't laughing after falls – that's how many people suffer injuries requiring hospital visits every year.

Notice how we often turn the blame inward for slip and fall accidents. We assume fault, even though someone else might be to blame. While it's true your own actions can lead to fall injuries, it is equally possible someone else's negligence can cause an accident.

Crowd control precautions for Allegheny County retailers

Pennsylvania retailers do whatever they can to attract customers year-round, but certain dates on the calendar can provoke shopping frenzies. Customers rush to stock up on food in advance of traditional Easter dinners, Fourth of July barbeques and winter holiday feasts and parties. Promised one-day-only discounts encourage some shoppers to line up -- even camp out in parking lots -- hours in advance of a Black Friday sale.

During sales surges, Allegheny County stores can go from crowded to overcapacity in record time. Store owners and operators may anticipate a boost in sales but can't ignore safety considerations. Crowd control planning is imperative to avoid dangerous conditions that can harm visitors.

Pennsylvania lawsuit: Icy path led to fall and brain trauma

Allegheny County home and business owners can be cited for failing to clear snow and ice from walkways in a timely manner, according to guidelines within local ordinances. Property owners also may be liable for slip and fall injuries suffered by visitors when civil courts determine owners knew about but failed to prevent dangerous conditions.

A woman suffered a severe brain injury last December after slipping on ice at a Pennsylvania outdoor shopping village. A recently filed premises liability lawsuit claims a store in Peddler's Village near Doylestown and the shopping village operators were negligent. The complaint alleges the defendants did not pretreat the brick sidewalks that link the village stores before a forecasted snowfall, causing a slip and fall hazard for visitors.

Slip and fall factors in Pennsylvania premises liability claims

Slips, trips and falls are taken seriously by Allegheny County companies, although interest in preventing accidents isn't entirely altruistic. Commercial property owners also want to avoid citations for violating safety rules, damage to business reputations, increased insurance costs, unwelcome litigation and expensive settlements and jury awards.

It's likely you have heard of the National Floor Safety Institute, a nonprofit organization devoted to slip, trip and fall accident research and education. NFSI studies lead to the creation of new safety standards adopted by manufacturers, insurers and others to prevent premises liability accidents and claims.

What diseases are associated with asbestos exposure?

Some health conditions develop over long periods of time. Many asbestos-related diseases lie dormant up to 50 years following initial exposure to the dangerous mineral fibers. Some Allegheny County residents may be shocked to learn about asbestos injuries decades after experiences that put them in harm's way.

Many asbestos injury cases originated from toxic workplace exposure. The most vulnerable victims worked in environments where asbestos fibers were present or disturbed constantly like shipyards, construction sites and factories. Restrictions during the last century lowered risks of widespread worker exposure but by then, a tremendous amount of unnecessary harm had been done.

Renters’ liability for snow-related slip and fall accidents

Some areas of Pennsylvania get hit hard by snow and ice storms during winter, but yearly accumulations are unpredictable. Nevertheless, many Allegheny County residents wisely prepare for snowy and icy sidewalks by readying snow blowers and purchasing shovels and ice melting products.

According to the city's public works department, the Pittsburgh Municipal Code requires property owners and occupants to remove snow, sleet and ice from sidewalks within 24 hours after a storm. The local law makes owners, occupants or tenants responsible for taking care of sidewalks. Remember, a different ordinance may apply if you relocate outside the city -- check the laws of the municipality.