In Pennsylvania, injured tenants, guests and customers who’ve been injured due to an accident or criminal activity of others may be able to seek financial compensation from the landlord. However, there must be sufficient evidence that the landlord was negligent, and that negligence led to the incident. Financial compensation often comes from the landlord’s insurance company via General Liability or Commercial Liability Policies, up to the amount purchased.
A Note About Landlord Liability for Accidents, Injuries and Crimes on the Premises
Pennsylvania law clearly allows for these types of injury lawsuits against a landlord for accidents, mishaps and criminal acts of others which occur on the premises. These include incidents which occur at all types of housing, i.e. apartments, condos, etc. However, landlords aren’t liable merely because an incident occurred on their premises. Rather, there’s only liability if the landlord was negligent in some way. The key is proving that the landlord either took some action that caused the incident or could have foreseen that the incident would occur. Also, it must be reasonable to impose liability.
In the context of liability for criminal conduct, a landlord can be held liable for physical assaults, shootings and sexual assaults committed by other parties. For example, a landlord may be liable for failing to install lighting or provide security after a string of assaults at a large apartment complex.
Speak to a Lawyer ASAP
In order to best preserve the chances of getting financial compensation for injuries in a landlord liability lawsuit, it’s critical to speak to an experienced lawyer as soon as practically possible. These cases often involve multiple parties and multiple contracts over maintenance, ownership, etc. Cases aren’t just filed against landlords. They are often filed against all types of business owners, companies, etc. Retail businesses and food/drink establishments, in particular, are often parties in personal injury lawsuits. Restaurants, bars, shopping mall operators and even office building management companies may be sued.
Financial Compensation – Types of Claims
An injured party (tenant, guest, customer, etc.) may seek financial compensation for the following:
- medical bills,
- lost wages,
- out of pocket expenses, and
- pain and suffering.
These claims are typically broken down into economic losses, i.e., medical bills, lost wages, etc., and non-economic losses, i.e., pain and suffering. The first type of losses is pretty straightforward. They are fairly easy to calculate and can be proven via medical bills/records, wage or earning statements from employers, tax documents and receipts. Out of pocket expenses often include household help, child care, and other miscellaneous expenses incurred as a result of injuries.
Pain and suffering damages are not so easily calculated. There’s no formula for how much an injured individual is owed. Rather, this claim depends on how the injuries impacted the individual’s ability to live their normal, usual life, including home, family, work, etc. The greater the impact on the individual’s life, the larger the claim. Pain and suffering damages claims are proved via testimony of the individual as well as medical documents, pictures, if appropriate, and testimony of family members, friends and co-workers.
In addition, the impact on the individual’s life must be reasonable and must coincide with the nature of the injuries. A person who sustains a fractured pinky finger cannot claim that the injury affected their ability to live their life when the injury didn’t require any significant medical treatment like surgery or any time off from work. It doesn’t make sense that a minor fractured finger would cause a serious impact on a person’s life. It’s just not reasonable. However, it would be reasonable for a person who sustains a fractured shoulder/collar bone to suffer a significant impact on their work, home and family life, especially where there was prolonged medical treatment or months of disability from work.
It’s important to note that having strong evidence of liability is key to getting full compensation. In cases where there’s weak evidence of liability, the injured party’s financial compensation may be negatively impacted, even if the injuries are serious. Accordingly, the defense may push for trial, banking that a jury would find in its favor on the issue of liability. If a jury found in favor of the defense because the evidence of liability was weak, the injured party would receive nothing.
Insurance Policies – Where Compensation Often Comes From
Most plaintiffs (injured parties) in personal injury lawsuits don’t have the slightest clue about where financial compensation actually comes from. Most people think that when someone gets sued, they pay any judgment out of their own pockets or bank accounts. This is rarely the case.
Most commercial or residential landlords and businesses are covered under insurance policies which apply when the insured business or its employee is negligent in causing an accident or injury. This also applies to negligence which leads to a crime. These types of policies are known as General Liability or Commercial Liability Policies and are contracts between the insured and the insurance company. The insurance company promises to cover negligent conduct of the insured, up to the amount purchased. Coverage amounts vary, but typically, they provide hundreds of thousands of dollars in coverage. This means that an injured party with a valid negligence claim against a landlord or business may recover under the defendant’s insurance policy. However, each policy is different and applies in different situations.
Philadelphia Injury Law Firm – Cases Filed Against Landlords & Businesses
Our law firm accepts cases against landlords and businesses for injury on the property from accidents, crimes, etc. Contact us for a FREE CONSULTATION. (215) 985-0777