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Pittsburgh Premises Liability Law Blog

Pennsylvania airport, airline sued for fall at departure area

You don't visit a neighbor or shop at an Allegheny County store anticipating you'll be hurt. You assume others will maintain a safe property the way you do. This safety agreement is more than common courtesy -- the property owner is obligated to take reasonable steps to protect visitors from injuries.

A woman preparing to take a flight out of Philadelphia International Airport suffered serious injuries in a departure lounge. The out-of-state resident recently filed a premises liability claim stating a chair in the waiting area collapsed, when the woman sat on it. The passenger's head and back hit a wall when she fell backward.

Home explosion critically injures Pennsylvania mother, daughter

Human mistakes are often the cause of gas-related accidents. Gas explosions and fires produced by them result in large-scale property damage, fatalities and catastrophic injuries for survivors. The sources for these destructive accidents are propane tank leaks, faulty natural gas connectors or valves, improper gas equipment installation and unmaintained or outdated pipelines.

A 2012 ProPublica.org report stated half the gas pipelines in the U.S. were at least half a century old. A deadly 2011 underground gas explosion in Allentown claimed the lives of five people and damaged dozens of homes. The gas leak was traced to cast-iron gas pipes installed in the Pennsylvania neighborhood more than 80 years ago.

Is liability automatic for Allegheny County property owners?

According to the National Safety Council, about 8.9 million people in the U.S. are treated in hospitals each year for fall-related injuries. When you slip and fall or trip and fall at a location other than home, the owner or operator of that property may be responsible for your medical expenses and other losses.

Fault and subsequent compensation for Allegheny County premises injury accidents depend upon the circumstances of each case. A property owner is not automatically responsible for visitors' injuries, even if a fall victim's injuries are severe. A legal claim is valid only when the injury is tied to property owner negligence.

Pennsylvania stores: Not as safe as customers believe

Allegheny County shoppers anticipate bargains while visiting stores. We don't think about getting hurt, but store accidents happen more than you think. An average of 24,000 children is injured every year in shopping cart accidents, according to a January 2014 Clinical Pediatrics report.

Researchers at Nationwide Children's Hospital studied information about emergency room treatments among children under age 15. From 1990 to 2011, nearly 531,000 children were injured in shopping cart-related accidents. That translated to cart accidents requiring hospitalization once every 22 minutes or 66 child injuries each day.

Premises liability case blames Lowe’s for worker negligence

An Allegheny County home or business owner may be liable for actions they did or did not take to prevent visitor harm. Property owners can't focus solely on the removal of existing hazards. Reasonable precautions must be taken for foreseeable unsafe conditions.

Premises liability disputes may revolve around a defendant's knowledge of an unsafe condition. A store might claim employees could not mop up a floor spill because workers were unaware the slip-and-fall hazard existed. However, storeowners and operators have an obligation to maintain a safe property and consequently, must anticipate probable danger.

Pennsylvania racetrack fails to avert $7.8 million judgment

Good relationships with employees, service providers and customers are the keys to profitability for many Allegheny County businesses. Companies may learn a hard lesson when the strength of relationships is based solely on financial benefits and not the well-being of people important to success. Evidence of broken business relationships can be found in premises liability cases.

The widow of a jockey who died during a practice run at a Philadelphia horse racetrack received a $7.8 million damage award in 2010. Five million dollars of the judgment against Greenwood Racing Inc. -- the owner of the former Philadelphia Park Casino and Racetrack, now known as Parx Casino -- and two subsidiaries was punitive damages. The defendants filed a post-trial motion that threatened to upend the decision.

Pennsylvania woman still recovering from 2012 beach store fall

Pennsylvania residents are drawn to the shore to grab the last of summer's warmth before the season changes. Allegheny County beachgoers expect to come home from shore getaways with souvenirs and memories, not medical bills and injuries that threaten health and employment.

A Wyndmoor woman spent the Fourth of July 2012 in Ocean City, New Jersey. She visited a SuperFresh Supermarket, under the management of The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, Inc., where she fell and hit her head after sliding on a slippery floor. The woman recently filed a premises liability claim naming SuperFresh, A&P and the property owner.

Do you work in a job with a high rate of asbestos exposure?

A natural but dangerous fiber was well integrated into the daily lives of Allegheny County residents – even embedded within the structures of homes – before health risks related to the mineral became known. Although asbestos fibers are natural, inhaling or ingesting them can lead to chronic respiratory diseases and cancer. Regulations now limit the use of asbestos but have not eliminated asbestos exposure.

Old products, including the structural contents of entire buildings, still contain asbestos. Employees who make or work with products containing the fibers can be harmed, unless employers take protective measures to secure workers' safety. Workers in certain jobs have had a greater potential exposure to asbestos than employees in other professions.

Widow of fan killed by lightning sues Pennsylvania racetrack

The safety of guests is as much a concern for owners and operators of large Allegheny County venues as they are for owners of small shops or residences. The number of visitors is considerably greater at a Heinz Field or PNC Park than a store or home, but the property owner's responsibility to maintain a safe premises is the same. Damages may be awarded for property owner negligence, whether the injured party is one of a handful of shoppers or one in a crowd of thousands.

Fans turned up for a scheduled race at Pocono Raceway in August 2012, despite warnings by the National Weather Service of severe thunderstorms in the area. Less than 10 minutes after the warning was issued, race organizers passed the weather information to fans through social media. About a half hour later, the weather forced cancellation of the event.

Suit alleges unsecured products injured Pennsylvania shopper

Shopping isn't supposed to be a dangerous experience. However, it can be when Allegheny County store owners ignore dangerous conditions or possible hazards on the premises. Think about all the products piled high in a grocery store, especially end-of-aisle and free-standing displays, and all the employees and customers who handle them.

A Philadelphia woman was waiting in a checkout line at a Pathmark in June 2012, when she was struck by a rack of falling products. The shopper suffered nervous shock and arm, shoulder and spine injuries, including a disc herniation. A newly-filed premises liability lawsuit blames the Glen Olden Pathmark for the accident.