If you’ve fallen and been injured in a store, mall or any public place, you may have the basis for a lawsuit. Success in slip and fall personal injury lawsuits is not just about proving negligence, but also about determining liability, because they aren’t always the same.
What Causes Slip and Fall Accidents ?
The most common type of accident in stores and other public places is a person slipping and falling because of wet floors, loose floorboards or tiles, or damaged floor surfaces. Sometimes the cause is some obstruction left by contractors, broken or cracked sidewalks, or parking lot potholes. Poorly maintained and inadequately lighted stairways also contribute to thousands of falls every year.
If you believe the negligence of another caused your fall — usually the property owner — then you may have a case to file a personal injury lawsuit by engaging a Philadelphia personal injury lawyer. While an accident can happen in almost any location, not every situation suggests legal liability.
What is Negligence and Liability ?
Under Pennsylvania state law, property owners have a responsibility to maintain those premises in a safe condition. To prove negligence, you — and your attorney — must prove that they failed to maintain the premises, or they failed to take action over hazards they knew about or should have known about.
To illustrate, say you are shopping in your local supermarket and you fall and injure your ankle after slipping in a puddle on the floor. There was no warning sign or barrier. In this example, you would have a legitimate claim against the premises owner/operator, due to the failure to remove the hazard or to put up warning signs or barriers to keep the public safe.
What is Comparative Negligence ?
Pennsylvania has adopted a modified comparative negligence rule that says that an individual can seek damages even if he/she had some fault in the accident. For example, if someone trips and falls on unsafe pavement, but was texting at the time, both parties are liable? But who is more liable?
In Pennsylvania law, you can recover damages even if you are partially responsible for the accident that injured you. However, the law states that a person seeking damages can’t be more than 50% at fault.
Also, the judge or jury that hears your case will only determine your comparative negligence after it determines whether the defendant was negligent. If it is determined that the defendant was not negligent, then the case is over.
If, however, the defendant is found negligent, the judge or jury then determines if you, the plaintiff, are also negligent. They compare the fault of both parties and assign a percentage of fault to each party.
For example, the jury might find that the plaintiff’s injuries were 80% the result of the defendant’s negligence, but 20% the plaintiff’s responsibility. These percentages are then used to determine damages. If damages are accessed at $100,000, the plaintiff is entitled to receive $80,000.
The Statutes of Limitations in Slip trip and Fall Cases
It takes time to gather evidence, conduct interviews, and secure expert testimony, if necessary. The Law Offices of Joel J. Kofsky, are ready to explore options with you and get to work. If the out-of-court settlement process is unsatisfactory, the statute of limitations to file a personal injury case in Pennsylvania is two years from the date of the accident.
Let us help you receive the financial compensation you deserve. Do not hesitate to contact our offices at (215) 735-4800 to schedule your free initial consultation with a Philadelphia slip and fall attorney at our law firm. Our law firm works on a contingency basis so you will never have to pay a fee unless we win your case.