Slip And Fall Lawyer
Slip-and-fall accidents are very common. While you might think that you automatically have a viable claim against a property owner after you are injured in a slip-and-fall accident, you must have evidence that the property owner’s negligence contributed to your fall in some way. A slip and fall accident attorney at DiCindio Law can analyze what happened and help to determine liability. We can help you to understand whether your potential claim has legal merit.
When Can You File A Slip-And-Fall Claim?
Slip-and-fall claims are premises liability cases. These types of claims involve the property owners’ legal duties to keep their properties in reasonably safe and hazard-free conditions to protect the safety of others.
Slip-and-fall accidents can occur because of many different types of dangerous conditions on a property, including the following:
- Spills or tracked-in snow creating slippery floors
- Poor lighting
- Broken or missing handrails
- Broken steps
- Debris or objects left on the floor
- Torn carpeting
- Broken tiles
- Unsecured floor mats
- Cracked sidewalks
- Potholes in parking lots
You can slip or trip and fall because of any hazardous condition while you are visiting someone else’s property. Whether you are visiting someone at a private home or are a customer at a store, you have a right to expect that you will be safe. When a property owner fails to properly maintain the property, you might want to talk to injury lawyers in Pennsylvania about your potential claim.
Three Types Of Visitors And The Duty Of Care
Property owners have a different duty of care that depends on the types of visitors to their properties. Visitors are separated into three different classes with different levels of protection in Pennsylvania. Property owners owe the lowest duty of care to trespassers. These are people who enter someone else’s property without the property owner’s permission. For this class of visitors, property owners are only responsible for refraining from intentionally causing harm to trespassers.
Licensees are the second type of visitors and include people who have permission to enter properties. This class of visitors includes social guests. Property owners have a duty to warn licensees of concealed and known dangers that might cause them harm.
The final types of visitors are called invitees. these are visitors who enter the property for the benefit of the property owner. A common example of an invitee is a customer who visits a store to purchase products. In these types of situations, the property owners have a duty to inspect their properties for dangers, promptly correct any hazards that they discover, and warn invitees of the dangers.
Robbery Of The Third Degree
If you take property from someone else while using minor force, it is a third-degree robbery. A common example of this includes snatching a purse or phone out of someone’s hands and running away with it. By contrast, if you successfully picked someone’s pocket without his or her knowledge, it is not a third-degree robbery but will instead be charged as a misdemeanor theft offense. The key difference is awareness. For the crime to be charged as a third-degree felony, the victim must have known of the theft when it occurred. A conviction for third-degree robbery can result in a sentence of up to seven years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Liability Of Property Owners
Several factors can impact whether a property owner might be liable in a slip-and-fall case. A major factor is the property owner’s knowledge about the hazard. To hold a property owner liable, the owner must have known about the danger or reasonably should have known about it. To determine whether the property owner knew or should have known about the dangerous condition that caused you to slip and fall, your attorney will investigate how long the condition existed before your accident and whether the owner took any corrective actions to fix it.
Your lawyer might also investigate whether the owner took steps to warn visitors of the dangerous condition, including placing cones or warning signs near the hazard. Another factor is whether the condition was likely to cause harm to people. Your attorney will also investigate whether the dangerous condition was caused or created by the property owner or an employee. Finally, your own actions will also be important for determining whether the property owner is liable.
Comparative Negligence In Slip-And-Fall Accidents
In some cases, a property owner might raise a defense called modified comparative negligence to reduce the damages amount that might be payable. Pennsylvania’s modified comparative negligence law looks at the fault of all of the parties, including the victim. If you were partially at fault for your accident, your award will be reduced by the percentage of fault that the jury attributes to you. Under 42 Pa.C.S. 7102, if you are 50% or more at fault, you will not be able to recover compensation for your injuries and losses.
Statute Of Limitations For Slip-And-Fall Claims In Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania has a statute of limitations for filing lawsuits. Under 42 Pa.C.S. 5524, you have two years from the date of your accident to file a personal injury lawsuit. However, if the property owner is a government agency, you will only have six months to provide written notice of your intent to pursue a claim. If you fail to meet these deadlines, your claim may be barred.
Types Of Damages In A Slip-And-Fall Case
Proving the property owner’s liability in your slip-and-fall claim is only one part of your case. You will also need to prove that your injury resulted in harm. People who are injured in slip-and-fall accidents may have broken bones, head injuries, joint injuries, spinal injuries, and other injuries that require expensive medical care. A slip-and-fall accident may also cause emotional trauma. For example, if your injuries cause you to stop engaging in a favorite activity, your lifestyle change may cause emotional harm. Slip-and-fall injuries that cause you to miss work or prevent you from returning to your job may result in income losses. All of these types of losses are compensable in a slip-and-fall claim.