Schemery Zicolello

Restaurant sued after accident causes couple's death

As we have discussed on this blog, Pennsylvania ranks quite high among states in terms of elderly drivers who have fatal accidents. Residents therefore should be interested and concerned with a recent accident in a neighboring state involving a 74-year-old driver crashing through a local restaurant with her minivan.

In this accident, a couple dining at a restaurant sustained fatal injuries. Asserting premises liability, the relatives of the couple have sued the property owners and the restaurant. The driver was also included in the litigation. The relatives are seeking monetary compensation.

The lawsuit claims the property owners are negligent because of the design of the parking lot and restaurant. Patrons must park facing the building and there are no barriers or stops to keep cars from hitting the restaurant. The lawsuit contends that the property owners and restaurant were on notice that such precautions are necessary to keep customers safe.

Furthermore, the family was upset that garbage containers at this location had barriers to protect them. The family believes it shows the restaurant knew barriers are an efficient means of protection -- as well as the fact that the restaurant was more concerned with protecting its property than its patrons.

The law requires property owners to reasonably maintain their property to avoid safety hazards for those visiting. This means taking precautions to prevent accidents that are foreseeable. Negligence or carelessness in looking after a property can open up the owner to liability. If a court finds the owner liable, the injured could recover damages for any physical or emotional pain resulting from the accident.

Source: Democrat and Chronicle, "Cheeburger Cheeburger, others sued over crash that killed couple," Melissa Holmes, March 15, 2012

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