A man who was injured last summer when restaurant sign hit him on the head has filed a personal injury lawsuit against the restaurant and its owners. Keith Blackwell, a resident of Philadelphia, brought the legal action against the eatery, saying he had suffered “painful and permanent” injuries, including post-concussive syndrome, cognitive impairment, spinal cord injury, and lacerations and contusions to his head and body.
According to the complaint, Blackwell was a patron at the restaurant on July 22 when the restaurant’s sign fell and hit him on the head. He has alleged that the owners of the restaurant negligently failed to maintain the premises so as to minimize the risk of injury.
Under Pennsylvania law, the owner of commercial or residential property has a duty to monitor and maintain the premises so as to minimize the risk of injury to anyone legally on the property. Because Blackwell was on the property in the ordinary course of business—he came there to eat—his legal status would be that of an “invitee.” An invitee is defined as a person who enters the property of another at the express or implied invitation of the property owner.
In Pennsylvania, a business or property owner has a specific duty to invitees:
- To exercise reasonable care to discover any condition that poses an unreasonable risk of danger
- To take reasonable steps to protect invitees from that danger
There is a caveat—a property owner will only be liable if the danger is one that the property owner could not reasonably expect that the invitee would discover on his or her own.
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