When homeowners, business owners, landlords, retailers, and restaurants fail to maintain their property, hazardous conditions can develop. As a result, visitors are at risk of falling and sustaining serious injuries. Commonly referred to as slip and fall cases, this area of premises liability lets a person who has slipped, fallen, or tripped on someone’s property file a claim to seek compensation for their losses. Claims are only valid when negligence played a role in the accident. Victims improve their chances of receiving the monetary award they need when they choose to work with a West Chester slip and fall lawyer.
Shrager & Sachs represents Chester County clients when they’ve been injured on someone’s property. There are a number of factors that go into building and proving a personal injury claim. We’ll explain the process every step of the way. Let’s start by taking a look at where slip and fall accidents happen.
Where Slip and Fall Accidents Happen
Where your slip and fall accident happens is important because it impacts the potentially liable parties and the laws that apply. In most cases, falls are related to improper interior or exterior maintenance. Interior maintenance issues revolve around liquid spills, missing rugs or handrails, debris on the floor, and unsecured lights or ceiling tiles. Exterior hazards include snow and ice on sidewalks, debris, and cracks or holes on a parking lot, sidewalk, or lawn.
Falls can happen on private or public property. Some of the most common locations include homes, parking lots, stores, and restaurants. To properly determine who’s legally responsible for your injuries, you need help from a slip and fall attorney.
When you fall in someone’s home, it’s likely you know them. This can make filing a claim under their homeowners’ insurance policy awkward, but you need to remember that your injuries will cost you money. If the property was a rental, the lease will determine who’s responsible.
Determining liability for a parking lot slip and fall can be challenging, as it depends on whether it was rented to another entity to manage or taken care of by the owner. Cracked pavement and poor lighting contribute to the majority of parking lot falls.
Falls in stores and restaurants are often the result of slipped liquids or debris. If a grocery store or food establishment doesn’t clean up a slip properly or put out a wet floor sign immediately, it’s likely someone will get hurt.
No matter where you fall, it’s important to remember that you’re not liable for the accident if negligence was involved. A thorough investigation can prove your injuries never should have happened. In order to improve your chances of filing a successful claim, it’s important to be aware of the actions you should take if you fall.
What to Do if You Slip and Fall
When you unexpectedly fall and sustain injuries, what you do next has a significant impact on your future. While you may be inclined to brush the incident off, doing so could jeopardize your health and finances. If you’ve fallen, here’s what you should do next:
- Seek medical attention. Slip and fall injuries vary greatly depending on the circumstances surrounding the accident. While the result could be minor bumps and bruises, there’s also the possibility someone could fall, hit their head, and sustain a traumatic brain injury. Because there’s no way to determine the extent of your own injuries, it’s imperative to seek medical attention. This way, you’ll know what you need to do to recover and there will be documented proof that you saw a doctor.
- Inspect the scene. Try to pin down the cause of your accident immediately after it happens. Look around you to see if you can pinpoint the hazard. Look for signs of unstable flooring and debris.
- Take photographs. Even if you make mental notes of the hazardous condition that caused your fall, there’s a chance the owner could try to clean the mess up quickly. That’s why it’s so important to take photographs of the scene. Your lawyer will use this evidence as proof that the conditions were not safe.
- Look for witnesses. If you fell in a public place, look for potential witnesses. If possible, get their contact information and ask them what they saw. Your attorney will contact them for more information as your claim progresses.
- Contact a lawyer. It’s likely that if you file a claim on your own, you won’t receive all the compensation you’re eligible for. The opposing side may try to say you were at fault for what happened or that your injuries aren’t as severe as you claim. A West Chester attorney will make sure to build a strong claim on your behalf.
When you work with a law firm, they’ll have extensive knowledge of the laws that apply to your case and any additional, required elements.
Elements of a Slip and Fall Claim in Pennsylvania
Premises liability laws are determined at the state level. In Pennsylvania, the state’s modified comparative negligence rule determines how much compensation an injured person can receive from a property owner. If the injured party is found liable for a portion of what happened, their compensation will be reduced by that percentage. It’s likely the opposing side will try to argue you were partially or entirely at fault in order to reduce what they owe.
To prove you were not at fault, there are crucial factors your lawyer needs to prove. First, they need to show that there was a preventable hazard you were unaware of. They also need to prove you were owed a duty of care. This means that the property owner was supposed to ensure the location was safe for visitors. It also has to be evident that the property owner had previous knowledge about the hazard but failed to warn you. Once those elements are presented, your attorney can relate your accident to your injuries and connect that to the compensation you’re seeking.
Even if fault seems obvious to you, slip and fall claims are often complex. That’s why you need strong legal representation working for you.
Shrager & Sachs Serves Accident Victims in West Chester
No matter the circumstances that led to your fall, if you believe negligence played a role it’s crucial to schedule a case evaluation with one of our West Chester slip and fall lawyers. Premises liability laws can help determine fault, but without the help of a lawyer, it’s unlikely you’ll receive full and fair compensation for your injuries.
When we build a slip and fall case for a client, we’re focused on ensuring they’ll have what they need to recover and move comfortably into the future. We understand the stress and confusion that comes with getting injured and filing a personal injury claim. That’s why our attorneys will do everything we can to ease the burden of recovery.
Once you’re awarded the compensation you need to recover, you can move past what happened and get your life back in order. Filing a claim can be a complex process, so the sooner you get in touch with a lawyer, the better your chances are of resolving the matter quickly and efficiently. Learn more about how we can help by contacting our law firm today.