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Premises liability claims and the inattentive pedestrian

Walking on the property of a business or private owner often appears to be a relatively safe experience. Pedestrians in Pennsylvania do not often consider walking into hazards or dangers on public or private property the person is invited on; however, certain conditions and factors could lead to a pedestrian accident. When this occurs, it is important to assess the entire situation, and the role each party played leading up to the incident. This could establish fault and whether a premises liability claim is available.

While walking seems like a very simple action, in actuality, it is a complex action that relies on the pedestrian being aware and attentive of the person's surroundings. If a pedestrian is not looking or focused on walking, this could result in the walker unintentionally encountering dangerous conditions.

Texting and walking could cause a pedestrian to increase the person's chances of being injured or involved in a pedestrian accident. In fact, more people are involved in texting and walking incidents than texting and driving accidents; however, texting and driving accidents are usually more serious. When the attention of a pedestrian is diverted to their phone, this could cause the individual to bump into walls, fall down stairs, trip over cracks and holes in pavement, collide with hazardous objects or fail to properly avoid dangers such as a moving vehicle.

When a person is harmed on the property of another, it is important to assess the entire situation and the role of each party in the incident. If it is determined that there are dangerous conditions on the property and the owner's failure to remedy caused the injuries of the victim, liability could be placed on the property owner. Despite that, if it is determined the individual was inattentive and could have reasonably avoided serious injuries, the victim could be partially responsible for the incident.

Even if an individual is found partially at fault in a premises liability case, the injured party might still be entitled to recovery for damages. In these matters, the monetary award recovered would be reduced by the percentage of responsibility the party had in the incident. No matter the situation, it is important to be knowledgeable about the matter and what options are available. Victims should seek guidance about what steps the person should take to protect the person's rights and interests.

Source:, "Texting While Walking Causes More Accidents Than Texting and Driving," Sandra Levy, March 10, 2014

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