The woman who was an unwitting star of an internet video after falling into a fountain while walking and texting is considering a premises liability lawsuit against the mall. At issue is not whether the fountain should have had additional safeguards, but whether security guards or other mall personnel should have helped her after her fall. Apparently, at least one security guard saw the event, since he posted footage of the fountain fall on YouTube. The video from another angle shows a custodian in the foreground. Neither mall employee offered the woman any aid.
The woman alleges that she suffered serious emotional trauma after the video became posted to YouTube by a mall security guard. Her lawsuit will likely not include any physical injuries, since she suffered none, so whether she would succeed or not depends on the degree to which Pennsylvania courts proportion blame. Pennsylvania follows a comparative negligence 51% rule, which means that a person cannot get any damages if they are 51% or more responsible for their own injuries. (By comparison, Ohio operates on a comparative negligence 50% rule.) A reasonable jury may easily decide that she is 100% responsible for the fall, but may question whether the mall’s duty as property owner extends to ensuring the privacy of the woman in the mall’s public areas, and whether stopping security guards from posting YouTube videos is part of that responsibility. The guard in question has already been fired.
If you have suffered a physical or psychological injury as a result of a fall or other accident on another person’s property, you may be able to receive compensation with a premises liability lawsuit. To learn whether you have a case, please call or email the personal injury lawyers at Robert W. Kerpsack, CO, LPA today for a free case evaluation.