Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.

Pennsylvania woman blamed for choosing to walk in dangerous lot

Business owners in Allegheny County are obliged to take reasonable care to prevent visitors from getting hurt on their property. Premises liability laws take into consideration not all safety hazards can be removed or removed immediately. Property owners also have the duty to warn visitors about potentially dangerous conditions.

An assumed risk defense is being used in a negligence lawsuit against Luzerne County. The defendant claims the plaintiff knew the back parking lot at the county courthouse was filled with potholes but assumed risk by walking through the "obviously" hazardous area.

The plaintiff, a Kingston woman, was injured when she tripped and fell in one of those potholes in July 2010. A notice to sue the county for recklessness and negligence was filed two years later. The victim suffered spine, ankle, shoulder and hand injuries, which her legal claim said caused permanent pain and suffering.

The unpaved parking lot is used by county employees and the public. The area has been targeted by county officials as a hazard. The lot's condition today remains about the same as it was when the woman fell nearly four years ago – peppered with craters and potholes.

The county recently paid to have rocks placed in the potholes, and the lot's surface graded, within weeks, the area fell into disrepair. The head of Luzerne County's operational services claims the lot "ruts out" after rain storms. A permanent solution isn't expected until after a courthouse renovation project is completed.

The county plans an affirmative defense to fight the allegations. The defendant will argue the potholes were "open and obvious," meaning any reasonable person would have recognized the hazard. Presumably, the plaintiff could have chosen to avoid the danger but didn't.

Under certain conditions, a plaintiff may share blame for an injury that occurred on someone else's property. A premises liability attorney can explain what those conditions are.

Source: The Citizens' Voice, "Woman sues county over potholes" Bob Kalinowski, Jun. 06, 2014

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
Email Us For A Response

We Can Help – Contact Us Today

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Contact Information Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C. 

Review Us

Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman, L.L.C.
20 Stanwix Street, Seventh Floor
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

Toll Free: 866-466-5789
Phone: 412-567-1232
Fax: 412-391-7453
Pittsburgh Law Office Map