Slip-and-fall injuries are common, in Pennsylvania and throughout the country, and they may give rise to significant damages under certain circumstances. If you entered another’s property and were injured in a slip & fall or trip & fall accident as a result of some defect or other hazard on the property, then you may be entitled to compensation. However, there are a number of unique complications associated with slip-and-fall injury claims. That is why you need to speak with a qualified Pittsburgh personal injury attorney about your legal rights under Pennsylvania law.
Here at the Law Office of Mark A. Smith in Pittsburgh, PA, we can provide assistance throughout the litigation process, from identifying relevant witnesses and gathering evidence, to negotiating a settlement compromise, to aggressive litigating claims in a court of law. Contact us today to speak with an experienced Pennsylvania premises liability attorney.
A: In Pennsylvania, you will have to prove the following elements in order to succeed in recovering damages from the defendant on the basis of slip & fall liability:
– The defendant owned, possessed, or otherwise exercised primary control over the property at issue.
– There existed a dangerous condition of the property (i.e., a hazard).
– The dangerous condition was known to the defendant, or at the very least, the defendant should have known about the dangerous condition.
– The plaintiff suffered harm as a result of the dangerous condition of the property.
A: Obviousness is an absolute defense in the slip & fall premises liability context. Premises entrants are expected to avoid hazards of which they are fully aware. For example, if you come across an obviously broken set of stairs, you cannot attempt to climb the stairs and then sue the defendant for your resulting injuries. Whether the dangerous condition is obvious is a question of fact.
A: Pennsylvania uses a modified comparative negligence rule, which allows those who are partially at fault for their own injuries to recover damages, so long as their contribution of fault is not greater than that of the defendant(s). Importantly, however, the damage recovery will be reduced by the plaintiff’s contribution of fault.
So, for example, imagine that you are injured in a slip and fall accident while on the defendant’s property, and your damages total $100,000. Although there was a dangerous slipping condition on the property, perhaps you were skipping or jumping around, making it more likely that you would fall and injure yourself. The court finds that you are 20 percent at fault. You would be entitled to recover $80,000 as a result. On the other hand, if the court found that you were 51 percent at fault, then you would not be entitled to recover anything.
A: A dangerous condition of property is one in which premises entrants are exposed to a heightened and unreasonable risk of injury. Whether a given condition is “dangerous” is a question of fact that is dependent on the total circumstances. For example, a small patch of ice may not be dangerous if it is almost fully melted. By contrast, a larger patch of black ice near the entrance of a retail store could be considered a dangerous condition of property, given its location, non-obvious nature, and the slippage risk associated with black ice.
A: Slip-and-fall claims — like other injury claims in Pennsylvania — are subject to a two-year statute of limitations period that begins to run from the date of injury. If you are injured in a slip and fall accident, then you should get in touch with a qualified attorney as soon as possible, so that your claims can be brought within a reasonable timeframe and before the deadline passes. If the deadline passes before you bring an action, then the court will automatically dismiss your claims (if you later attempt to pursue them).
Here at the Law Office of Mark A. Smith in Pittsburgh, PA, we have three decades of experience representing the interests of Pennsylvania plaintiffs in a range of accident scenarios, including those that involve serious slip & fall and trip & fall injuries. We believe that effective legal advocacy requires a client-oriented approach. We view our clients as collaborators in the litigation process, and we make ourselves available at every stage to answer questions or concerns as they arise.
Personal injury litigation may seem straightforward upon first impression, but it can be quite complicated, depending on the circumstances surrounding the accident. What begins as a simple slip-and-fall case, for example, may ultimately lead to a lawsuit against multiple liable defendants. As such, it’s important that you work with an attorney who has a long track record of success in handling simple and complex injury claims in Pennsylvania.
Interested in learning more about your slip & fall accident claims? Call or email to schedule a free and confidential consultation with Pittsburgh personal injury attorney Mark A. Smith today.
Personalized service. Maximum results. The Law Office of Mark A. Smith looks forward to helping you obtain full compensation for your slip & fall accident injuries.