Premises liability is part of tort law that sets forth the duties a property owner, manager, and landlord assume to ensure their land or buildings are safe for visitors. The rules can get complicated because different duties apply to different types of visitors, with owners on the hook for paying compensation to some injured plaintiffs, but not to others.

Adult trespassers have little to no recourse if they are injured while unlawfully on another’s property, unless they are purposely harmed. Visitors lawfully on the property, along with child trespassers, can recover damages awards from owners who ignore the law. To discuss your damages in a Philadelphia premises liability case, contact a defective property injury attorney now.

Licensees and Invitees

There are two classes of lawful visitors under premises liability law: licensees who are social visitors, and invitees who are on premises to benefit the owner, such as customers and clients.

Owners are expected to warn licensees of known dangers, but the duty is more comprehensive when it comes to invitees. Owners must warn them of known dangers, repair those dangers, and proactively inspect the property for unknown dangers that must also be repaired.

When determining damages in a Philadelphia premises liability case, the jury will consider the owner’s actions to warn or safeguard property leading to a visitor’s injuries. If the owner failed in this duty, the plaintiff could recover damages.

Child Trespassers

Child trespassers can recover for injuries they sustain on a stranger’s property if they meet the requirements of the Attractive Nuisance Doctrine. Property owners should realize that children are curious, and their brains are not yet mature enough to respect dangerous surroundings. They have a duty to safeguard children from elements that might draw their attention, such as a swimming pool, playset, or large equipment. Some state codes set required safety measures, such as fencing and using door alarms to secure a backyard pool.

Compensatory Damages

Juries award compensatory damages to reimburse injured visitors for their economic and non-economic losses. Economic losses are those that can be calculated to an exact amount, such as medical bills, repair or replacement of property, and wages lost while recuperating.

Non-economic damages occur when the jury assigns a value to more elusive concepts that are also losses. These can include the price for suffering pain or disfigurement, or the value of no longer enjoying life because of a catastrophic injury. Juries decide compensatory damages in a premises liability case by listening to a personal injury attorney explain how the injuries have impacted a plaintiff. While some states cap non-economic damages, this state does not.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages, also known as exemplary damages, are meant to punish a negligent party instead of compensating the injured – although the plaintiff usually gets these damages as well. If compensatory damages are awarded in a Philadelphia premises liability case, conditions could be ripe for punitive damages, although they are not available without compensatory damages first.

For this to occur, a defendant must act with wanton disregard for the injured party, exhibiting gross negligence, or with the intention to harm the person. Many states cap punitive damages by limiting them to a portion of compensatory damages. Although many people have been critical of failing to limit punitive damages, the rule still applies; with limited exceptions, such as for medical malpractice.

Talk to a Lawyer About Damages in a Philadelphia Premises Liability Case

Most people visiting a friend’s house or a local grocery store are owed a duty of care to keep the property safe from dangers. When that host fails to honor the duty owed to you, and it causes harm, you should be compensated.

Fortunately, you could be owed more than just money for your hospital bills. To discuss damages that might be available in your Philadelphia premises liability case, call the Marrone Law Firm, LLC to learn how we could put our years of experience and success to work for you.