Were you injured in a slip and fall accident? Let the lawyers at Edelstein Martin & Nelson fight for you to receive maximum compensation.
We’ve all experienced slips and falls. According to the CDC, more than one million Americans a year suffer a slip and fall injury. Whether it’s slipping on a wet floor, losing balance while getting out of a bathtub, or some other mishap, having a fall is sudden, scary, and physically risky. A slip and fall injury can result in catastrophic injury and cost thousands of dollars in lost wages and medical bills, greatly disrupting your life.
That’s why we have made it our mission to advocate for slip and fall injury victims and their families. In Pennsylvania, you have the right to seek compensation for injuries you’ve experienced due to a property owner’s negligence. Edelstein Martin & Nelson offers legal representation based on contingency. Call us today at 1-888-208-1810 for a free consultation with a leading Pennsylvania slip and lawyer.
What Do Pennsylvania’s Slip and Fall Laws Define As Negligence?
According to Pennsylvania law, negligence in a slip and fall accident occurs when a visitor or guest lawfully goes onto someone else’s property and suffers a slip and fall injury after the property owner neglected their duty of care. The term “negligence” in this scenario refers to the behavior in which the property owner failed to take reasonable care for the safety of the visitor or guest, resulting in an unnecessary risk of danger that caused them serious injuries.
What are the Elements of a Slip and Fall Claim in Pennsylvania?
Pennsylvania requires all fall claims to have the following evidence of negligence:
- The property owner owed a duty of care to provide a reasonably safe environment
- They breached their duty of care, creating a dangerous property condition
- The breach of care caused the claimant’s injuries
- The claimant sustained damages from the slip and fall accident
All of these elements must be present with sufficient evidence to establish legitimate claims of slip and fall injuries. Otherwise, slip and fall victims will not be able to get any compensation at all, much less fair compensation. This is why it is so important to seek legal counsel to represent you in your slip and fall case. You need an experienced Pennsylvania slip and fall accident lawyer who knows how to present the strongest case to ensure maximum compensation.
Pennsylvania Law of Comparative Negligence
Pennsylvania negligence law has a comparative negligence rule also known as the 51% rule. It means that if the injured person was less than 51% at fault for the accident injury, they can seek compensation for damages. For example, if they were 30% at fault, they can still file a lawsuit, but they would receive 30% less than what they would if they were 0% at fault. If they were not at fault at all, they would receive full compensation.
What are Some Examples of Slip and Fall Accidents?
Some ways that slips, trips, and falls can happen include instances when a property owner:
- Does not put up a warning sign for or block off areas with slippery floors
- Fails to adequately clean floors of wetness or debris that causes a visitor or guest to slip and fall
- Fails to adequately clear the parking lot or pathways of snow or ice
- Does not place doormats to wipe off shoes after coming indoors
- Does not provide adequate lighting to see clearly while walking
- Does not maintain stairways, resulting in hazards such as broken handrails
As you can see, there are many different ways a property owner’s negligence can result in a dangerous condition that causes a slip and fall injury. Regardless of how you suffered a slip and fall accident, if you were on someone else’s property and they neglected their duty of care, they are legally responsible for your injuries. A Pennsylvania slip and fall lawyer from our law firm can help you create a successful slip and fall claim.
Pennsylvania Premises Liability
Pennsylvania law describes cases arising from injuries that occur on someone else’s property as premises liability. Premises liability law refers to the legal obligation all Pennsylvania property owners have to maintain their property according to safety standards. When a lawful visitor or guest on someone else’s property suffers a preventable injury due to the property owner’s negligence, premises liability comes into play.
Slip and fall accidents have a tremendous negative impact on people’s daily function and quality of life. It is in the best interests of individuals as well as businesses to reduce the risk of slip and fall accidents by taking precautions, such as using slip-resistant flooring materials and maintaining clutter-free and well-lit walkways. Individuals who’ve suffered injury in a fall on someone else’s property can hold property owners legally liable by pursuing compensation with the help of a slip and fall attorney.
How Serious Are Slip and Fall Accidents?
Slip and fall accident injuries can be as serious as those from pedestrian accidents, if not more so, especially for the elderly. Consider these statistics:
- Slip and fall accidents are the third leading cause of unintentional injury-related deaths in the United States, according to the NSC.
- Every year, the CDC reports more than one million Americans who suffer a slip, trip, or fall injury.
- For people over the age of 55, slip and fall accidents are the leading cause of occupational injuries and workers’ compensation claims.
- The CDC reports that 95% of hip fractures, which can be life-threatening for the elderly, have falls as the cause.
- Hazards such as uneven surfaces, cluttered walkways, inadequate lighting, and slippery floors often cause slip and fall accidents.
- Slip and fall accidents lead to more than 8 million emergency room visits in the United States every year, according to the National Floor Safety Institute.
- American businesses experience costly expenses from slip and fall accidents. They cost more than $70 billion each year in workers’ compensation and medical bills.
- The NSC reports that older adults often experience higher costs from slip and fall injuries, as they tend to require long-term care.
- Practices such as using slip-resistant flooring and mats or runners in high-traffic areas help reduce the risk of slip and fall accidents, whether in workplaces or public spaces.
Slip and Fall Accidents in Pennsylvania
It is not only the nation that has a serious problem with slip and fall accidents. Here are some facts about them in Pennsylvania:
- The Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry reports that slip and fall accidents are the top cause of workplace injuries in the state.
- There were a total of 22,372 reported nonfatal workplace injuries in 2019, with 22% of those injuries being from slip and fall accidents.
- The leading cause of injury-related hospitalizations for residents aged 65 and over are falls, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health.
- It is not uncommon for slip and fall accidents to occur in public places, too, such as shopping centers and grocery stores. 1,856 slip and fall claims were filed against the city of Philadelphia in 2019.
- Businesses must maintain safe and hazard-free premises according to the Pennsylvania Code, and negligence can result in being legally responsible for slip and fall accidents.
Common Injuries Related to Slip and Fall Accidents
People can slip, trip, or fall in different ways, but all fall accidents result in specific injuries. The most common injuries are:
Soft tissue damage in the form of strains, sprains, tears, and bruises can occur and affect the tendons, ligaments, blood vessels, and skin. For example, bruises can range from minor to severe. A bad bruise is also known as a hematoma and causes blood to pool under the skin. This gives the skin a lumpy, spongy feel. While usually not serious, a hematoma can develop into an infection, with symptoms such as feeling warm to the touch, swelling, and discoloration. It is also extremely painful.
Cuts and abrasions are open wounds. While cuts are caused by the skin making contact with and being pierced by a sharp surface, abrasions, such as scrapes, are caused by the skin rubbing against a rough surface. These wounds are vectors for infection when left untreated, and seemingly minor cuts or abrasions can develop an infection.
Broken bones are the most common injury from fall accidents. With a severe broken bone injury, the victim requires physical therapy and rehabilitation and sometimes experiences long-term disability. A fractured pelvis is one of the most serious injuries that can occur from a fall accident. It is extremely debilitating and requires a lengthy recovery process.
Head and neck injuries are other serious injuries caused by fall accidents. Concussion, spinal cord injury, and brain injury are examples of trauma to the head and neck. These injuries can result in permanent brain, nerve, or spinal damage and temporary or permanent paralysis, as well as memory, speaking, emotional, and coordination problems that result in impairment or disability.
Defining Dangerous Property Conditions
Fall accidents happen when a property owner fails to exercise their duty of care towards a guest or visitor. When there is any condition of the property that causes the guest or visitor to experience serious injury, it is considered dangerous property conditions.
Some premises are inherently hazardous due to the nature of the environment, such as construction sites. But it doesn’t mean that unreasonably dangerous yet preventable conditions cannot exist, as is the case in many construction accidents.
Proving That The Property Owner’s Negligence Caused Your Fall Injuries
If you’ve suffered injury or your loved one a wrongful death due to a fall accident, the claim process will require you to prove to the insurance company that the harm was caused by a property owner’s negligence. For example, if the floor was slippery at the time of the fall, then your legal claim has to show evidence that it was so and that it was not due to anything the injured party did.
Determining Liability in a Slip and Fall Accident
Claims for accident injuries caused by someone else are part of personal injury law. Personal injury is a tort, a civil wrong in which someone’s act or omission harms someone else. The basis of most personal injury claims is negligence. In the case of a fall accident on someone else’s property, it is the property owner who is first considered for fault by negligence. That liability can also fall on whoever was responsible for the property at the time of the accident.
Who Can I Hold Legally Liable After a Pennsylvania Slip and Fall Accident?
Property owners must maintain their premises in safe conditions according to premises liability law. However, it isn’t always the property owner who is responsible for a fall accident. Whoever was occupying the property at the time of the accident can be held legally liable if they neglected their duty of care. Depending on the type of premises and where the accident occurred on the premises, the following entities may be held legally liable:
Most fall accidents happen in retail and other businesses. Because they operate on leased premises, it is management who would be legally liable for a fall accident injury.
When a property owner is leasing a residential property, they are only responsible for maintaining the parking lot, lobby, and stairwell. If the accident occurred on a rented property, it is the tenant who would be responsible.
Fall accidents are not as common in private residences. However, private homeowners owe a duty of care to visitors or guests.
The government agency of a town or city can be held responsible for a fall accident if it occurs on government-owned property. An accident claim against a municipal government has some differences from the same claim against another entity, such as the victim having to file the claim within six months of the incident. There is also a legal cap that limits the maximum compensation a victim can recover.
Insurance Companies Try to Blame Fall Accident Victims
You can expect the insurance company of the responsible party to accuse you of being partially at fault. And if you are actually partly responsible, they will do their best to argue that you are more than 51% at fault to try to prevent you from pursuing compensation.
The legal system is complicated. Your best chance to receive fair compensation is by contacting someone from our legal team. We’re very familiar with the legal process for fall claims, having dealt with many types of fall cases. Let us help you hold the responsible party legally liable for what you’ve suffered.
What Damages Can I Receive from My Slip and Fall Accident?
All fall lawsuits have certain types of losses in common. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may be entitled to damages that include:
- Lost wages
- Medical bills
- Out-of-pocket medical expenses
- Pain and suffering
We Care About Results for Your Recovery
The NSC reports that $30,000 is the average cost of a slip and fall injury. It is even higher for the elderly, who experience more severe injuries.
It is important for your recovery to get full and fair compensation. Consider the seriousness of your injuries and whether you are pursuing fair compensation with a free case evaluation from our legal team. It is not uncommon for our fall accident lawyers to win six-figure settlements for people with serious injuries. While we cannot guarantee any specific amount, we work to achieve maximum results in every case.
Time Limit for Filing a Slip and Fall Claim in Pennsylvania
A time limit for pursuing a claim of harm by someone is known as a statute of limitations. In Pennsylvania, the statute of limitations for filing any personal injury claim is two years from the date of the accident. If the victim is a minor, they have two years from the time they turn 18 years old.
This time limit is meant to provide sufficient time to properly investigate the accident. It is crucial to file your personal injury claim as soon as possible. Otherwise, evidence can be lost as time passes and your memory as well as any witnesses’ memories of the accident fade. Your fall claim will have the best outcome when you file while your memory is still fresh.
You Need a Pennsylvania Slip and Fall Lawyer
Property owners or occupiers owe their visitors, guests or tenants a duty of care. When an entity breaches their duty due to negligence and someone suffers serious injury as a result, they are legally liable.
Edelstein Martin & Nelson, LLP has been creating successful slip and fall claims for over three decades. If you’ve suffered injury from a fall accident, the right legal representation can provide you with a fair settlement. We want to help you file your fall claim, deal with the insurance company, and pursue maximum compensation. Call us today at 1-888-208-1810 for a free consultation with one of our experienced fall accident lawyers.