2015 World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia Pope Visit Injuries

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As Seen In

Few people living in and around Philadelphia and the greater metro area have escaped hearing about Pope Francis’ historic journey and visit to Philadelphia. The pope’s planned journey to Philly is scheduled to take place on September 26 & 27.

Events scheduled for the pope’s visit to Philadelphia include:

  • Mass held at Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul
  • A visit to Independence Mall
  • A visit to the Festival of Families held at Benjamin Franklin Parkway
  • A meeting at St. Martin’s Chapel, St. Charles Borromeo Seminary with bishops
  • A planned visit to the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility
  • Mass held at the Ben Franklin Parkway

These events are highly anticipated and are likely to turn-out huge crowds for the pope’s weekend visit. In light of the unprecedented events and potentially unprecedented crowds that are projected to descend upon Philadelphia during the pope’s visit the city has made a number of preparations and taken many precautions to help ensure that this event goes off without a hitch.

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However, in light of the massive amount of people projected to visit Philadelphia, there is a high likelihood that accidents and unforeseen situations will occur. To help potential visitors understand some potential accident risks so that they are less likely to occur the personal injury attorneys of Reiff & Bily have complied a list of common injury risks during the Pope’s visit.

Premises Liability Injury During the Pope’s Visit

The City of Philadelphia has had employees and contractors working overtime to ensure that outstanding problems and deficiencies are addressed prior to the pope’s visit. Likewise, business owners, home owners, and other property owners have taken steps to clean-up their property to put the city’s best foot forward. However, while these efforts are admirable, they have been uneven. While some areas in Center City have received near constant attention, other areas have been neglected and dangerous or defective conditions still exist. Potential premises liability problems that may severely injure a visitor includes:

  • Cracked sidewalk
  • Debris on the road or sidewalk
  • Wet leaves
  • Object dropped from a building window
  • Object thrown from a building window
  • Crumbling curb
  • Lack of handicapped accessibility or other means of ingress/egress
  • Excessive number of individuals for the area or space

Unfortunately the above represents only a few of the more common reasons for premises liability accidents and injuries during Pope Francis’ visit.

Injury Due to Insufficient Security & Planning During the Pope’s Visit

Security preparations have been, to say the least, extensive for the pope’s visit. Aside from the regular law enforcement agencies that work day-in and day-out in Philadelphia, the U.S. Secret Service will also be in Philadelphia handling security. However, despite expectations of an unprecedented crowd, there are no plans for security checkpoints at the Francis Festival’s festival grounds. Visitors to the festival grounds may carry guns, knives, weapons, or other contraband that can injure or kill.

Aside from the risk that visitors may carry contraband and other dangerous, prohibited items, the lack of multiple security checkpoints may evidence a lack of sufficient crowd control measures for the grounds. When large numbers of people gather, organizers must take steps to ensure that the flow of foot traffic is properly managed. Improper management of the gathering of people and the flow of foot traffic can result in pockets where population density is particularly high. Areas where visitors concentrate can lead to people being crushed or to a stampede where guests are trampled. In other circumstances the close quarters can lead to guests lashing out at others in close proximity resulting in a fight, assault, battery, or other serious altercation.

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Pedestrian Injuries due to a Vehicle Accident

While vehicles have been prohibited from the core area where the festival activities will take place, vehicles will not be absent from the areas surrounding the festival. Cars, trucks, SUVs, bicycles and minivans may be driven in close proximity to large numbers of visitors. Furthermore, the lack of direct access by train and the need for guests to walk long stretches of the journey may also increase the odds of this type of accident. The large number of visitors may mean that pedestrians may overflow into the streets and other areas where drivers do not normally look for pedestrians and other hazards.

Injured During Pope Francis’ Visit to Philadelphia?

If you suffered a life-altering injury or if a loved one was tragically killed during the festivities related to Pope Francis’ visit to Philadelphia, the personal injury lawyers of Reiff & Bily can fight to obtain compensation for you. To schedule a free and confidential legal consultation contact us at (215) 274-0072 today.

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