The term “slip and fall” sounds trivial, and when many people think of a slip and fall lawsuit, they think it “frivolous.”
We’re here to tell you that not only can a slip-and-fall accident be serious and sometimes deadly, but slip-and-fall lawsuits demand an enormous amount of evidence and legal acumen. Frivolous? Not usually.
What is a Slip and Fall Accident?
“Slip and fall” is a colloquial term for a type of premises liability or personal injury claim.
When someone sustains an injury because of a hazardous condition on another’s property, whether public or private property, the injured individual may be entitled to be financially compensated for their injuries and other damages if negligence is involved.
How damaging can a slip and fall injury be? As it turns out, very.
According to the CDC, over 800,000 people every year are hospitalized due to a fall injury. Slip and fall accidents can result in broken bones, back injuries, head and traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, and soft tissue injuries. While fall accidents are most dangerous to older adults and younger children, anyone can be injured in a slip-and-fall accident.
Does Your Injury Warrant a Slip and Fall Claim?
Accidents happen, but at its heart, a slip-and-fall lawsuit is not just about an unavoidable accident. It is a matter of negligence. And negligence can be difficult to prove.
In personal injury and premises liability cases, the injured party has the burden of proof in a legal claim. As an injured victim, you must prove your accident and injuries resulted from the property owner’s/manager’s negligence.
Was your fall caused by a dangerous condition? Were there any signs or barriers warning you of the condition? How long had it been there? Did the owner or manager of the property know about it? If they didn’t, should they have known about it? Did they have ample time to remedy that condition? Did the owner have a maintenance team and protocols in place to periodically check for safety issues?
These are all matters that need to be considered in a slip-and-fall claim.
The Steps in Proving Negligence
The first part of establishing negligence is “duty of care.” This is the obligation of the property owner or management entity to keep others safe while using their property. However, the owner’s duty of care will differ based on who the injured party is and why they were there.
In Philadelphia slip and fall claims, the injured party will fall into one of three categories. Those are invitees, licensees, or trespassers. Each of these is owed a different level of care, and it will be necessary to your case to establish this and whether the owner provided it.
If the owner didn’t live up to their obligations or “breached” their duty of care, it must then be proven that the breach caused the accident and resulted in the injuries and subsequent damages. Although this may not seem complicated, proving negligence can be complex.
How to Proceed With a Slip and Fall Claim
If you’ve been injured in a fall and believe negligence was involved, it’s important to be your own best advocate.
- Make an accident report. If your injury occurred at a business, management will typically have you fill out an accident report. Stick to the facts only, and ask for a copy.
- If your accident resulted in a police report, keep copies of that as well. I will support any injury claim you may make.
- Keep a written account of the accident, noting the date, time, and place; a detailed account of the immediate environment and any noteworthy conditions; what you were doing right before the accident and what happened afterward, who was present; and any other specifics that could be relevant.
- Take photos or videos of the area and your injuries.
- Get the names and phone numbers of anyone who witnessed the accident.
- Get immediate medical care and follow your treatment plan.
- Keep all medical records and expense receipts.
- Preserve any clothing and footwear you were wearing at the time.
- Get legal guidance from a slip and fall injury lawyer.
It’s important to do these things as soon as possible. Memory is inexact, and the longer you wait, the fewer details you may remember.
How a Slip and Fall Lawyer Will Pursue Your Claim
When you consult with a Philadelphia slip and fall attorney, your lawyer will review all the facts of your incident and determine if you have the makings of a successful legal claim. Remember, these cases can be difficult to prove, and it may not be worthwhile for you or your attorney to pursue a lawsuit, given a review of the facts.
If you decide to move forward, your attorney will prepare and file a complaint detailing the accident and file this with the court. Copies of that, with a summons, will be served upon the owner or management of the property, and they must answer within 20 days, either admitting or denying the allegations. The owner may file an insurance claim for the incident. If they deny responsibility, the suit will then move into discovery and pretrial motions. Both sides will review the evidence and decide how to proceed.
Will Your Claim Go to Court?
In the world of personal injury lawsuits, most claims don’t get as far as the courtroom, and it’s more common for a claim to be resolved through mediation or a carefully negotiated slip-and-fall settlement.
If you and your attorney believe the settlement you’ve negotiated is a fair one, you’ll be awarded compensation according to its terms, and your case will conclude. But if you and your attorney don’t believe your settlement is fair, you should discuss the pros and cons of taking the matter to trial. One of the most important considerations is whether the potential cost and time to pursue a court case justifies how much you potentially stand to gain from it monetarily.
Have you been injured on someone else’s property due to a hazardous condition in Philadelphia? Your best course of action is to discuss this in detail with an experienced slip-and-fall lawyer.
At Silver & Silver, our diligent slip-and-fall attorneys believe that property owners should be held accountable when someone is injured due to their negligence. We offer a free consultation to review your case and discuss whether you may have a successful claim. Call us at (610) 658-1900 or through our website contact form. You deserve a staunch legal advocate protecting your rights after a serious injury.
This website is designed to provide only general information. The information presented on this website is not formal legal advice. You should not rely on any general information from any source for making legal decisions. Each legal matter is unique and requires specific attention from a qualified and experienced attorney. Unless a representation agreement has been signed with the Law Offices of Silver and Silver, we are not your legal representatives.