Brenda Cleveland visited a McDonald's restaurant on South Broad Street in Philadelphia recently where she incurred significant injuries after tripping over a curb that was uneven. The claim filed in a county court names the McDonald's Corporation and the property owner and management company as defendants. She alleges that the defendants demonstrated negligence by failures in property inspection, maintenance, and repair. Cleveland seeks damages that exceed $50,000.
Recent Philadelphia McDonald's Settlement
Richard Solomon brought a premises liability claim after he was injured following a slip and fall caused by liquid on the floor of the restaurant. The owner of this McDonald's franchise location, Tanway Enterprises L.P., agreed to settle the matter for $48,500. The payment of the settlement was stalled when the defense requested documentation of a “no-pay or demand letter from Medicare”. This request was not applicable, as Solomon was not enrolled in a Medicare program at the time.
Retail Customer Invitee Status
Under current Pennsylvania premises liability laws, parties upon the land of a property owner or controller are owed a duty of care based on their status as an invitee, licensee, or trespasser. An invitee is owed the highest level of care from the owner. Invitees are those such as members of the public or business visitors (patrons), as was the case in these two aforementioned instances.
Difference Between Invitee & Licensee
The duty owed to a licensee is slightly lower than that of an invitee. An invitee is an entrant who is “invited” or “encouraged” to the premises, while a licensee is merely “permitted”. The remaining classification of the trespasser is an entrant that is not owed a duty to care under most circumstances for the exception of when they are injured as a result of willful or intentional actions.
An invitee may hold the possessor of land liable when injured upon their property if the following exists:
- The possessor is aware of (or should be) that a reasonable danger exists on the property
- This danger is not clearly “open and obvious” to the entrant
- The possessor fails to remedy the dangerous condition or warn the invitee about it
Injuries of an accidental nature are now the third leading cause of death. In 2016, the National Safety Council estimated that accidental fatalities rose by 10%, with an additional 14,803 deaths over the prior year. Some of the most common examples include falls, drowning, automobile accidents, opioid overdoses, and others.
Slip & Fall Claims
Restaurants and retailers such as grocers face potential liability from slip and fall accidents. In 2016, workers' compensation costs alone exceeded $15 billion in these environments. It is estimated that a business will incur $50,000 in expenses in defense of each slip and fall accident claim. Those who are injured as a result of the negligence or indifference while on the land of a property owner or controller may pursue financial compensation to account for the harm incurred. It is strongly recommended that these actions be filed with assistance from experienced legal representation.