Property owners have a duty to keep their premises safe for those who have a right to be there. This includes regularly inspecting and maintaining the entire property to ensure that there are no known hazards that could cause harm to guests, visitors, or employees. While this does not mean that home and business owners will be responsible for every injury that occurs on their premises, it does mean that they are required to take certain steps to maintain safety. At the Dan Doyle Law Group, our team is here to help if you need a Philadelphia slip and fall attorney. We have the resources necessary to fully investigate these claims and help ensure that our clients receive the compensation they need.
Most Common Slip, Trip, And Fall Scenarios
There are various causes of slip and fall accidents in and around the Philadelphia area. This includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- Unexpected obstructions in pathways and walkways such as cords, wiring, equipment, and items to be stocked sitting in aisles can cause trips and falls.
- Poor lighting can lead to slips, trips, and falls when guests are not able to see a dangerous condition that they would otherwise be able to avoid with proper lighting.
- Poorly maintained floors such as ripped carpeting, loose/broken wood floor planks, or chipped/broken tiles.
- Poorly maintained and dangerous stairs, railings, and balconies can cause trips and falls.
- Failure to notify guests of dangerous conditions such as recently mopped and slippery floors.
- Spills on floors that the owner knew about or should have known about cause a guest to slip and fall.
- Broken sidewalks and pavement that have not been remedied and no notice of the dangerous condition given to guests causing trips and falls.
- Ice and snow accumulated in walkways and entryways are a common cause of slips and falls. Homeowners and businesses have a duty to remedy those conditions.
Defenses to Slip and Falls
Common defenses to slip and fall cases include the following:
- Comparative fault is a regular defense asserted by defendants who claim that the plaintiff was also at fault because he or she was negligent in not noticing and avoiding danger or taking an unreasonable risk such as seeing a patch of ice and attempting to walk across it anyway. In comparative fault cases, fault will be apportioned between the plaintiff and defendant and the plaintiff will only be compensated if he or she is not more to blame than the defendant. The plaintiff’s compensation will be reduced by his or her share of fault. For example, if the plaintiff sustained $100,000 in injuries and damages and was found to be 25% at fault, the plaintiff’s recovery would be reduced by 25% to $75,000.
- Choice of ways is argued when the defendant claims that there was an alternative route to reach the destination yet the plaintiff chose to take the dangerous path anyway.
- A notice defense is raised when the defendant had put the plaintiff on notice of the dangerous condition that should have caused them to avoid the danger such as a sign alerting the plaintiff to a wet floor that he or she slipped and fell on.
- A statute of limitations defense is raised if an accident occurred too long ago and the applicable law precludes the plaintiff from bringing the claim.
Most Common Injuries Caused By Slip And Fall Accidents
Slip and fall accident victims in Philadelphia often suffer from significant injuries that can lead to tremendous setbacks in their life. The Philadelphia slip and fall lawyer at the Dan Doyle Law Group regularly help clients who have sustained the following:
- Broken and dislocated bones
- Severe sprains and strains
- Lacerations and puncture wounds
- Open head wounds
- Other severe back or neck injury
Time Limit To File A Slip And Fall Accident Claim
Slip and fall accident victims in Philadelphia need to be aware that they have a limited amount of time to file lawsuits in these cases. The personal injury statute of limitations is two years from the date an injury occurs. This gives slip and fall accident victims a two-year window with which to file a lawsuit against the alleged negligent party.
Types Of Compensation Available For A Philadelphia Slip And Fall Accident
There may be various types of compensation available to victims of slip and fall accidents in Philadelphia. Our attorneys are regularly able to help clients recover the following types of economic and non-economic compensation:
- Complete coverage of medical bills
- Lost income if the victim cannot work
- General household out-of-pocket expenses
- Pain and suffering damages
- Loss of enjoyment of life damages
Can I Sue the City of Philadelphia if I Slip and Fall on a Public Street or Sidewalk?
While premises liability law seems very straightforward when it applies to homeowners and other private entities and businesses, it becomes much more confusing when you slip and fall on a public street or sidewalk. Can you pursue a claim against the city of Philadelphia?
“Yes, you can,” says our slip and fall attorney at Dan Doyle Law Group. “You may have a case against the city of Philadelphia or other government agency in the city because government entities have a duty to ensure a safe environment for all lawful visitors.”
However, the requirements and deadlines for bringing forth a premises liability claim against public and government entities are different from those that apply in regular cases against homeowners and other owners of private or commercial property.
Are Slip and Fall Accidents Treated Equally All Year Round?
In other words, do property owners and landlords have a higher standard of care during winter months when ice and snow removal is reasonably expected to prevent slip and falls? Or, on the contrary, are visitors expected to be more cautious during winter months to avoid accidents caused by the accumulation of ice or snow?
It depends. Our Philadelphia slip and fall lawyer explains that although state law does not require property owners to remove ice or snow that build upon their premises as a result of snowing and cold weather, an unnatural accumulation of ice or snow on the property – which increases the risk of slip and fall accidents – is expected to be addressed by a reasonably prudent property owner.
How Can You Prove That a Property Owner ‘Should Have Known’ About a Hazard?
Proving that a property owner knew about a dangerous condition that caused your accident is fairly easy, especially when a slip and fall attorney represent you, but proving that the owner “should have known” about the condition may be a daunting task.
Generally, your lawyer will have to demonstrate evidence proving that the hazard existed on the property for such an amount of time that a reasonably prudent person (property owner) would have noticed and discovered it sooner under similar circumstances.
How to Prove That a Property Owner Was Given Notice of a Hazard?
Proving that a property owner or an employee of that owner was given notice of a condition that caused your injury is possible if you or your attorney speak to eyewitnesses and other visitors who were on that property shortly before the accident.
For example, if an employee of a grocery store was told by one of the customers about a spill an hour before another customer slipped and fell due to that particular spill, it will be easy to prove that the property owner knew of the hazard but failed to remedy or correct it within a reasonable amount of time.
Get a free phone consultation from our slip and fall lawyer in Philadelphia at Dan Doyle Law Group today. Let’s discuss your case, determine fault, and evaluate your damages and losses together.