Slip-and-fall and trip-and-fall injuries are common occurrences. In many cases, people suffer serious, life-altering injuries or even wrongful death when they fall because of some type of hazardous condition. Improperly designed stairwells, wet floors, and broken sidewalks are some common causes of slip and fall accidents. In the event you are hurt in a slip and fall accident, you should consult with a Montgomery County slip and fall lawyer to determine whether you can recover compensation for the negligence of a property or business owner.
Our personal injury attorneys can help you understand the law. Although your incident may appear straightforward, there are many factors to consider. Were there previous complaints about an existing hazard? Was the owner aware of the condition? Were you partially at fault? These are only a few of the factors that a personal injury firms will consider when investigating your case.
If you or a loved one has suffered from a slip and fall injury would like a free legal consultation, call the Wieand Law Firm at (215) 666-7777.
Slip and fall accidents are generally grouped into the legal practice area known as premises liability. Falls often cause painful injuries such as sprained muscles, herniated discs in the neck and back, broken wrists and ligament injuries to the ankle(s).
If you are caused to trip and fall because of a defective or dangerous condition of the property, such as a raised sidewalk, pothole or wet floor you may be entitled to compensation for damages.
We have slip and fall lawyers in Philadelphia who handles personal injury cases throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania including Montgomery County. Our firm has extensive experience litigating premises liability cases and has recovered numerous settlements and awards for persons injured by property defects such as raised sidewalks, wet floors, icy sidewalks, icy parking lots and holes in the sidewalk or street. If you fell on a property defect and you were injured, call us today for a free legal consultation at (215) 666-7777.
Can I Sue for my Slip and Fall Accident?
Not all slip and fall accidents are ripe for a lawsuit. In order to recover compensation for injuries sustained in a premises liability case, you will need to prove the property owner or occupier was negligent. In the event that you trip and fall simply because of your own clumsiness or carelessness, you generally cannot recover compensation for injuries. However, if you were injured in a fall caused by a defective or dangerous condition, you should consult with an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss the specific circumstances of your claim. Most Montgomery County personal injury lawyers offer free legal consultations and can help you determine whether you have a claim.
There are four elements needed to prove a premises liability case: 1) duty 2) breach of duty 3) causation and 4) damages. Each of these elements are explained in greater detail below.
1) Duty. In Pennsylvania, the level of care that a property owner or occupier owes to you depends on the guests status upon the land.
- A business invitee is owed the highest level of care. Business invitees include people invited to a property for the benefit of the owner, such as a customer of a store or concert patron. A property owner must inspect the property for latent dangers and take reasonable precautions to make the premises safe for business invitees.
- A trespasser is owed the lowest level of care. A trespasser is a person who is not authorized to be on the property at issue. A property owner is not obligated to protect trespassers who enter their property without permission, but they cannot willfully injure them.
- The duty owed to a licensee is in the middle. A licensee is someone allowed on a premises for social purposes or for their own benefit. A property owner is required to take reasonable care to protect licensees from known hazards on the property. A property owner not have a duty to inspect for and discover unknown dangers, as he/she does with business invitees.
2) Breach of Duty. A breach of duty occurs if a landowner fails to provide the level of care described above. In premises liability cases, property owners are frequently found to be negligent because they fail to maintain the property in a reasonably safe condition. For example, if a homeowner fails to clear ice and snow from their sidewalk after a reasonable amount of time has passed, and as a result a pedestrian slips and falls, he/she may be found liable for the damages caused to the pedestrian. A property owner may also be negligent if he/she does not offer an adequate warning of a dangerous condition.
In some cases, instead of a private actor, the negligent party may be a municipality or the state/federal government. There are strict notice requirements and other criteria that must be met when suing a public entity. (See Trip and Fall Accident Claims Against the City of Philadelphia.) For this reason, you should contact an experienced injury lawyer immediately if you are injured on defective public property.
3) Causation. To make a recovery, your injury must be caused by the landowners negligence (the defective or dangerous condition of the property). A common defense to premises liability cases is that the claimant’s injuries were preexisting and not caused by the trip and fall incident. Another defense is that the Plaintiff was himself to blame, and he fell because of his own negligence, not due to the defective condition of the property.
4) Damages. Last, a plaintiff must suffer actual damages to succeed in a trip or slip and fall lawsuit. A person cannot sue merely because the property could have caused an injury or almost caused an injury. The plaintiff must suffer an injury in fact.
What Should you do after A Slip/Trip and Fall Injury?
If you are seriously injured because you fell seek medical attention immediately! After emergency treatment is received, you should take the following actions to help prove your premises liability claim.
- Take photographs of the scene, the defective condition of the premises and injuries if visible. Make sure to store these photographs in a safe place and provide them to your attorney as soon as possible.
- Report the accident to the property owner or occupier. When you report the incident, be very careful in choosing your words or filling out an incident report. Many property owners have “risk management” workers that immediately begin trying to build a case for the defense.
- Get the contact information of witnesses including name, address and telephone number.
- Contact an experienced Philadelphia premises liability attorney promptly after the incident.
Accidents happen. Montgomery County personal injury lawyer, Brent Wieand, is here to help. Call (215) 666-7777 today.
Disclaimer: This article is not legal advice and should not be used as legal advice. The Wieand Law Firm is based in Philadelphia and serves clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey.