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How to Prove a Property Owner is Responsible for a Slip and Fall Injury

Posted May 18, 2016 | Slip and Fall

If you fall and hurt yourself because of a dangerous condition on someone else’s property you may wonder who is responsible for your injury.  Slip and falls can happen anywhere such as a grocery store, or a friend’s house. Unfortunately, not only are these accidents fairly common, but they can also lead to serious injuries. However, you should be aware that in some instances, the property owner is responsible for the injured party’s injuries, and in others, the property owner will not be held liable

If you have been injured on someone else’s’ property because of a slip and fall accident you should hire an experienced Philadelphia slip and fall lawyer. The Wieand Law Firm, based in Philadelphia, PA, aggressively represents injured people throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. We have handled hundreds of claims for people who have suffered debilitating injuries through no fault of their own. Our ultimate goal is to help slip and fall injury victims obtain financial compensation for the harm they have suffered.

For a completely free and confidential legal consultation regarding your personal injury claim, call a premises liability lawyer at the Wieand Law Firm at 1(800) 481-5206.

What Do I Need to Prove to Recover Money for a Slip and Fall Case in Pennsylvania?

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Slip and fall cases generally rely on the theory that the owner of the property was negligent and because of the owner’s negligence you were injured. To prevail in a negligence action, a plaintiff must establish the defendant “owed a duty of care to the plaintiff, that duty was breached, the breach resulted in the plaintiff’s injury, and the plaintiff suffered an actual loss or damages.” The owner of a piece of property such as a shopping center, or an apartment complex may be held liable for physical harm to someone who comes on to their property. However, the law has created different classifications of people and how the law identifies you when you are on someone’s property can determine if you will be able to recover damages.  The law may consider you a trespasser, licensee, or an invitee, and this may be the determinative factor when you are considering bringing a claim against a property owner.

What are Trespassers, Licensees, and Invitees?

You might think that when you are one someone else’s property you are just on their property and are just considered a person in a store or in an apartment. However, you might be considered a trespasser or you might be considered a licensee, or perhaps an invitee. What you are doing on the property generally determines what status you are given. The law provides different levels of protections for each of the different classifications. These range from almost no protections to a high level of protection.

A trespasser is a person who is on another person’s property without their permission.  However, unless you exceed the scope of your invitation or engage in illegal activity, you will not be considered a trespasser at a store or shopping center.  The property owner only owes a trespasser a duty to refrain from landowner owes a duty only to refrain from, wanton or willful conduct and from maintaining a “hidden engine of destruction.”

A licensee, on the other hand, is a person who is privileged to enter or remain on another persons’ land because they received permission from that person.  Generally, a property owner is only liable for someone’s slip and fall injury under the following conditions:

  • The possessor knows or has reason to know of the condition and should realize that it involves an unreasonable risk of harm to such licensees, and should expect that they will not discover or realize the danger, and
  • He fails to exercise reasonable care to make the condition safe, or to warn the licensees of the condition and the risk involved, and
  • The licensees do not know or have reason to know of the condition and the risk involved.

An invitee is either a public invitee or a business visitor. A public invitee is a person who is invited to enter or remain on the land as a member of the public for a purpose for which the land is held open to the public. A business visitor is a person who is invited to enter or remain on land for a purpose directly or indirectly connected with business dealings with the possessor of land. Generally, an invitee is owed the most protection. For a property owner to be held liable for an invitee’s slip and fall injuries, the condition that caused them to slip and fall must either be known or discoverable by the property owner.  A property owner must exercise reasonable care to discover conditions which involve an unreasonable risk of harm to invitees. This includes a duty to inspect the property and make it reasonably safe for invitees.

As you can see, how the law decides to classify you may be the deciding factor if you will be able to recover damages for a slip and fall accident. It is very important that you have an experienced personal injury attorney who is familiar with the various classifications and who can advocate for you to receive the protections you are entitled to.

What Are the Common Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents?

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Slip and fall cases are fairly common, this is because you can slip and fall over almost anything. However, certain items and conditions on someone’s property tend to result in more slip and fall incidents. Some of the most common causes of slip and fall accidents are:

  • Improper concrete maintenance
  • Holes in the ground
  • Liquid spills that are left on the ground
  • A slight slope in the ground
  • Uneven steps
  • Snow or ice
  • Bumps in carpet or failure to use slip resistance

The amounts of things that may cause your slip and fall accident are almost endless. Depending on the facts of your case you may be able to recover for your injuries if you have injured yourself on someone’s property.

Trust a Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyer with The Experience To Handle Your Case

The Wieand Law Firm has a track record of successfully representing clients injured in slip and fall accidents. Founding attorney, Brent Wieand, has been selected as a Pennsylvania Super Lawyers “Rising Star” for the years 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016.

For a free and friendly no obligation consultation, call Brent Wieand, an experienced Philadelphia personal injury attorney that works on a contingency fee at (800) 481-5206.