Why Property Inspection Reports Matter So Much In A Pennsylvania Premises Liability Case

On behalf of Dan Doyle Law Group posted in Premises Liability on Friday, September 28, 2018.
personal injury

Regardless of whether you are a property owner facing a premises liability lawsuit from someone who has been injured on your property or the injured party who is filing a lawsuit against the owner of the property on which you sustained injuries, inspection reports are equally vital to your legal case.

If you have been injured on someone else’s property, getting access to inspection reports can help you prove that the owner negligently inspected and/or maintained the property, and that your injury could have been avoided had the property owner properly inspected and maintained his or her property.

Ask any Philadelphia premises liability attorney out there, witnesses, photographs, surveillance and property inspection reports are arguably the most important elements for your legal case, both if you are the defendant or plaintiff. For a defendant, showing inspection reports can help stay immune from liability. For a plaintiff, on the other hand, having access to inspection reports can help prove that the defendant failed to inspect his/her property properly, and therefore, failed to remedy any hazardous conditions in a timely manner.

Poor or inconsistent property inspection reports

Our experienced premises liability attorney in Philadelphia from the Dan Doyle Law Group says that having no documentation regarding inspection of property can strengthen the plaintiff’s case. Properly documenting what, when, and how the owner of the property inspects his/her property, on the other hand, helps undermine the plaintiff’s attempts to establish constructive and actual notice.

More often than not, in order to win a premises liability claim against the owner of the property on which you sustained injuries, you have the burden to establish that the owner or occupier of the property had actual or constructive notice of the dangerous condition that caused the accident.

In cases where the defendant claims lack of notice, it is the defendant’s obligation to establish what constitutes a reasonable inspection for his/her type of business operated on the premises and the nature of the premises.

Many property owners make the common mistake of presenting poor or inconsistent documentation, thinking that any documentation is better than no documentation at all. But this is rarely the case, because often, poor or inconsistent inspection reports can do even more damage to their case than no documentation at all.

Routine inspections and maintenance of documentation

If you, as a person injured on someone else’s property, believe that getting access to inspection records will help you win your premises liability case, here are some key things to consider:

  1. The importance of routine inspection to the property owner or occupier’s type of business. Routine inspections, mostly hourly, are reasonably expected from businesses with a consistent flow of customers throughout their operation hours. On the other hand, if a property is visited by customers by a maximum of 10 customers per day, hourly inspections would be unnecessarily frequent. Or, for example, some properties may experience periodic rushes of customers (such as a bathroom at a sports venue, which will see a huge flow of visitors at the beginning and end of a sports game). As you can see, what constitutes “adequate” or “reasonable” inspections largely depends on the type of business operated on the property.
  2. The importance of maintenance of the inspection reports. But conducting inspections is not enough to escape liability, no matter how meticulously and properly documented they are. Because if these documents are thrashed, thrown away or misplaced, the fact that the inspection took place cannot be proven. In Pennsylvania, premises liability cases have a statute of limitations of two years from the date of the incident. Therefore, the inspection reports must be maintained for two years, and only then they can be thrashed or thrown away.

Consult with our Philadelphia premises liability attorney today to determine whether inspection reports would make a difference in your particular case. Let our lawyers at the Dan Doyle Law Group help you. Call our offices at 215-987-3730 for a free case evaluation.

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