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Pittsburgh Premises Liability Law Blog

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.

Pennsylvania man's injuries blamed on wobbly warehouse walkway

A slipshod setup at a loading dock is being blamed for a Pennsylvania warehouse accident that injured a Drexel Hill man. A federal premises liability lawsuit accuses Spirit Delivery & Distribution Services, Inc. of negligence.

The complaint alleges that the plaintiff, an independent deliveryman, was seriously hurt while visiting the defendant's Bensalem warehouse in March 2013. The man had been to the warehouse several times to take appliance deliveries. The visitor fell from a bridge of unsecured metal plates used as a walkway between the dock and the plaintiff's truck bed.

How do Pittsburgh doctors diagnose asbestos-related diseases?

Flu symptoms don't show up immediately after exposure to the virus. You may feel fine for several days before headaches, fever and body aches appear. Imagine incubating a serious health condition for 10 years or several decades -- that's what Pittsburgh victims of some asbestos-related diseases experience.

Asbestos fiber inhalation has been connected to several lung diseases including asbestosis, mesothelioma and lung cancer. Patients also may be diagnosed with conditions like pleural plaque and effusions, affecting the membranous covering of the lungs and thoracic cavity.

How visitor status impacts a premises liability claim

The relationship between an injured visitor and a Pittsburgh home or business owner can affect a personal injury lawsuit. In some states, the status of a person visiting someone else's property is crucial to the success of a premises liability claim. The landowner's required level of care can depend upon whether a visitor was invited or simply given permission to enter a property.

The highest status among visitors is invitee. The public shops at Allegheny County businesses establishments by invitation -- advertisements. The store owners are obligated to take reasonable precautions to prevent harm among invited personal and business guests, a list that includes customers and other visitors who've received direct, implied or inferred invitations.

Hazards and blame in Pennsylvania premises liability claims

Allegheny County parents often add locks to cupboards and cabinets when there's a young child in the home. Pittsburgh parents take reasonable precautions, sometimes long before a baby can walk, to prevent potentially dangerous conditions. Home and business owners are compelled by premises liability laws to take similar precautions for visitors.

Restaurants, hotels, stores and other business establishments are obligated to be concerned about customers' welfare. Property owners have a duty to maintain reasonably safe premises to prevent visitor injuries. A slip or trip and fall may cause harm that could have been prevented.

Pennsylvania home fire death rate among nation's highest

Pittsburgh residents have good reasons to be concerned about safety at home. The risk of dying in a fire at home is greater in Pennsylvania than in most other states, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Our state ranks among the top three with the most fire-related fatalities.

FEMA compiles national statistics about the prevalence, causes and victims of fires. Residential fires declined significantly throughout the U.S. between 2007 and 2011. Seven percent fewer homes caught fire, injuries were down 3 percent and fatalities dropped 11 percent.