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Why do some premises liability claims fail?

If you have been injured as a result of a dangerous condition on someone else's property, you could very well have grounds to take legal action pursuing compensation for your damages.

However, these cases can be complex and without proper preparation and understanding of premises liability and negligence laws in Pennsylvania, you could be unsuccessful in your legal efforts. With this in mind, below are four common legal defenses that could derail a premises liability claim.

  1. You were trespassing: In general, property owners do not owe a duty to trespassers on their property. 
  2. The property owner didn't know about unsafe conditions: In cases involving claims of negligence, there needs to be evidence that a property owner (or employees) knew or should have known about an unsafe condition. If this cannot be established, a legal claim can be dismissed.
  3. It wasn't the property owner's fault: While you might have been injured on one person's property, an accident could be someone else's fault. For instance, a property owner might argue that you are to blame for your own slip-and-fall accident, or say that someone else pushed you over.
  4. There were proper warnings in place: Wet floor signs, construction cones and other warnings can serve as a means of shielding a property owner from liability for accidents. If a property owner claims he or she took adequate steps to warn others of a hazard and you cannot refute those claims, then the courts can dismiss the case.

When these defenses are successful, premises liability claims can fail. This can be devastating when victims are seriously injured and struggling with medical bills, lost wages and other damages.

In order to build a solid claim that anticipates and counters these defenses, it can be wise to work with an experienced personal injury attorney if you have recently been injured in an accident on someone else's property. Doing so can be the difference between a failed legal claim and the compensation you need and deserve.

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