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.