When we think of accidents, the first thing that comes to mind is car accidents. But motor vehicle accidents are, by no means, the only type of accident. Slip and falls accidents are equally serious. Slip and falls can lead to serious physical injuries and cost victims a lot of money. The worst part of a slip and fall accident is that it was not your fault—that it was caused by the negligence of someone else.
When you have been injured in a slip and fall accident, you are in a vulnerable position. You require medical care and are not in a fit state to handle the logistics of covering your medical, therapeutic, work-related, and other costs. What’s more, you may lack the knowledge to pursue the issue of liability, which is vital to ensuring that the negligent party is held accountable. An attorney is necessary to help you get the financial compensation you deserve while recovering from your injuries.
If you were hurt in a slip and fall accident, call an attorney as soon as you are able. Our Delaware County slip and fall accident attorneys will fight for your compensation. Get in touch with our team at the Reiff Law Firm for a free legal consultation. Call our offices today at (215) 709-6940.
Common Settings for Slip and Fall Accidents
There are many types of buildings in the county where accidents can occur. Delaware County has an astounding number of educational institutions, including public schools, private schools, adult education centers, and universities. It also has a huge number of libraries. There are many shopping malls, including Springfield Mall, Granite Run Mall, MacDade Shopping Center, Suburban Square, Driveline Shopping Center, and the Shops at Brinton Lakes.
Most accidents don’t just happen; they involve negligence on the part of property owners. For example, if you fall on a property that is improperly maintained, the owner of that property is considered the responsible party. Knowing that your injury was not your fault can be upsetting; it is important for you to know that the responsible party is held accountable.
No matter what type of accident you had—a fall while walking around the Granite Run Mall, a car accident on the Blue Route, a workplace accident at the Marple Public Library—you deserve to be compensated. The Delaware County personal injury lawyers at the Reiff Law Firm have been providing legal support for Delaware County residents for three decades. They understand your trauma and know how imperative it is for you to know the legal process and the satisfaction of being compensated and having your various costs covered.
There are thousands of car accidents in Delaware County and countless slip and falls, workplace accidents, and mishaps with defective appliances and vehicles. No matter how cautious you may be, there is always the chance that you will be involved in one, often because of another’s mistake, poor judgment, recklessness, or negligence.
Types of Slip and Fall Accidents in Delaware County
Slip and fall accidents are one of the most common causes of injuries in Delaware County. While it might seem dangerous, losing your balance and landing the “wrong” way could result in a concussion or a shattered ankle. The way our Delaware County personal injury lawyers will handle a certain case depends on how the accident occurred.
Slippery or Wet Floors
Property managers or owners should ensure that the floors and walkways on their property are free from spilled liquids, pools of tracked in rainwater, or other accidents that result in wet surfaces. Furthermore, if a tile or wood floor has been recently polished, waxed, or cleaned, it could present a slippery surface for unsuspecting walkers. Highly visible warning signs should be displayed.
Snow and Ice
Delaware County gets its fair share of winter snow and ice storms. Property owners and managers have an obligation to remove snow and ice that builds up on sidewalks, parking lots, steps, and other walkways. Different towns in Delaware have specific ordinances that address snow and ice removal. If you have any questions regarding your township, talk with one of our experienced Delaware County personal injury lawyers.
Clutter Aisles in a Store or Business
Some stores will stack merchandise in such a way that a slight breeze might send boxes tumbling into an aisle. Store owners and managers should ensure that the aisles throughout their store are free of debris, equipment, trash, or other tripping hazards. When shelves are poorly or overstocked, items could be knocked down, creating a danger for shoppers.
Broken stairs, loose carpet, torn rugs, cracked tiles, and worn stair treads are hazardous for anyone walking or climbing through the area. Additionally, damaged or loose handrails could cause someone to fall and suffer severe injuries. Property owners and managers should ensure that their properties are maintained and regularly inspected.
Dark stairways and hallways make it difficult to walk or see potential obstacles, recognize elevation changes, or see uneven floor surfaces. When someone moves from a bright area into a dark one, their vision is temporarily lost. Property owners should ensure that public areas have adequate lighting.
Many businesses and homeowners will use decorative landscaping materials to enhance the curbside appeal of their property. However, when pebbles, gravel, mulch, or other material loosens and spills onto a walkway, it can create a slipping hazard. Furthermore, landscapers often leave materials, debris, or equipment on the ground, creating a tripping hazard.
Damaged or cracked sidewalks create tripping hazards. Paving stones look attractive, but loose pavers or gaps between pavers pose a risk of slipping or tripping. Property owners need to inspect their property to ensure the grounds do not present an unreasonable hazard. If there is a hazard, it should be repaired or a warning sign should be posted.
What Are My Options After a Slip and Fall Accident in Delaware County?
After you suffer a slip and fall accident, your top priority should be getting immediate medical attention. Once a physician has examined you, and you understand the extent of your injuries, you can begin exploring legal options. While filing a lawsuit against a negligent property owner is certainly an option, it is not the only option. You can discuss settlement options with an attorney or attempt to mediate the dispute outside of court.
Many civil cases, including slip and fall accidents, never make it to a trial. Instead, these cases are usually settled privately between the parties with the help of legal counsel. A settlement is an agreement between the parties. The defendant agrees to pay a certain sum of money to the plaintiff to cover their damages, and the plaintiff agrees to drop the case.
Often, a settlement is lower than the damages originally claimed by a plaintiff. However, defendants might be convinced to pay all requested damages when a plaintiff has a particularly strong case. In the end, this is a better option than paying expensive legal fees only for a judge to order the defendant to pay the same amount of money.
Of course, if all else fails, a lawsuit and trial can be used to resolve your case and get you the compensation you need. Preparing for trial can take a long time and involves a certain degree of risk. However, the payout at the end could be worth your while. Talk to our Delaware County slip and fall accident attorney about your legal options today.
Premises Liability in Delaware County
If you are injured on another person’s property, whether it is a friend’s home or a business, you have the right to bring a premises liability claim against the home or business owner. As with other personal injury claims, you need to prove four elements if you hope to recover any monetary damages.
- The property owner or manager must have owed you a duty of care.
- The property owner or manager breached their duty of care.
- The breach was the cause of your injuries.
- You suffered actual damages because of your injury, such as medical bills or lost income.
The duty that a property owner owes another person depends on the classification of the injured person. In Delaware County, when you enter another’s property, you are doing so as an invitee, licensee, or as a trespasser.
- Invitees have expressed or implied permission to be on another’s property for a business or social purpose. The most common example of an invitee is someone going to a store to shop.
- A licensee is a person who is invited onto another’s property for a personal or social purpose that does not benefit the property owner. For example, if a neighbor invites you over for a barbeque, you enter their property as a licensee.
- When you enter another’s property without permission or consent, you are trespassing.
Under Pennsylvania law, a property owner or manager owes an invitee the highest duty of care. This means that the property must be in a reasonably safe condition and that any hazards should be repaired or have an adequate warning. The property owner or manager does not have to have actual knowledge of the hazard – if they should have reasonably known of the hazard, they could be held liable for injures or damages. To comply with this duty, a property owner or manager is expected to make regular property inspections.
If a person is a licensee, then the property owner or manager has a duty to warn of any known hazards. However, a property owner or manager is not expected to conduct regular inspections of their premises. There is also no duty to repair dangerous conditions if one exists. A warning is sufficient to comply with the duty of care.
If you are trespassing on another’s property, the owner or manager only has a duty to refrain from wanton, willful, or reckless conduct that could harm you. However, this duty does not typically apply to children.
Pennsylvania has an “Attractive Nuisance Doctrine.” Under this doctrine, if a property owner or manager is aware that a child is likely to enter the property to investigate an interesting feature, such as a piece of machinery or a pond, the property owner is required to take reasonable measures to make the premises as safe as possible. This could include putting a fence or barrier around the hazard or removing the attractive nuisance.
Who Is Liable for a Slip and Fall Accident in Delaware County?
Identifying the proper defendant for your case is a crucial step in the legal process. After all, there can be no lawsuit without a defendant. In most cases, the person who owns the property where you fell can be held liable. However, this person’s identity is not always obvious. For example, if you slip and fall in a retail store, the store owner might not even be there, and you might be dealing with a store manager or other employee at the scene.
If your slip and fall accident happened on someone’s private property, the identity of your defendant depends on who was living on the property and who actually owned it. For example, suppose you are visiting a friend in the apartment they rent. If your slip and fall accident happened inside your friend’s apartment, you could potentially sue your friend because they failed to maintain the property safely.
However, the landlord could be held liable if the hazard that caused your fall was their responsibility to maintain and not the tenant. For example, a tenant can complain about uneven floors in their apartment, but problems requiring construction are usually the landlord’s responsibility. If you fell in a common area of an apartment building, like a stairwell, the landlord might also be on the hook.
If you are unsure who is liable for your accident, contact our Delaware County slip and fall accident attorneys today.
Defenses to Slip and Fall Liability in Delaware County
When assessing the strength of your claims, our team must approach your case from the defendant’s perspective. This will help us identify weaknesses in your case that need to be addressed. By understanding possible defenses to an allegation of liability for a slip and fall accident, we can better prepare for a trial or settlement negotiations.
Think back to the day of your accident. Were you warned in some way that the premises were unsafe? Warnings may be in the form of posted signs, like a wet floor sign, or verbal statements from the defendant or someone else. If you were adequately warned, your defendant might claim you assumed the risk, and they should not be liable. However, if the warning was inadequate, such as a wet-floor sign that could not be read or was otherwise not visible, this defense may fall short.
The law does not protect trespassers in slip and fall accidents. If you were on the property without permission or against the owner’s wishes, you might be considered a trespasser. As a trespasser, you would have no right to sue for your injuries. However, if you had a right to be on the premises regardless of what the defendant said, you could sue.
Were you doing something you should not have been doing? If you were behaving in an inherently dangerous, risky, or negligent way, you might be partially responsible for your accident, and your damages might be reduced.
Did you create the dangerous conditions that led to your fall? If you slipped on a wet floor because you spilled your morning coffee, you have a very weak case against the defendant. Call our Delaware County slip and fall accident attorneys for help.
What Is a Slip and Fall Case Worth in Delaware County?
The value of your case will depend on the damages you incurred and the pain and suffering you experienced. The more significant your physical injuries are, the more expensive your medical bills are likely to be, and the higher your overall damages will be. You may also claim pain and suffering as part of your damages. A particularly painful injury that causes long-lasting pain may be worth a lot of money in damages.
You can also claim lost wages from work as part of your damages. The more work you miss because of your accident, the more damages you can claim for lost wages. If you cannot return to work for some time, you may even claim lost future earnings. Talk to our Delaware County slip and fall attorneys about the damages in your case today.
Experienced Delaware County Personal Injury Lawyers you can Trust
If you or a loved one was injured in a slip and fall accident, you need the help of a qualified and experienced lawyer. Our Delaware County slip and fall attorneys at The Reiff Law Firm have been handling personal injury cases in the county for three decades. Call us today at (215) 709-6940 for a free consultation.