Slip and fall accidents are considered premises liability cases, and involve an individual suffering an injury due to a hazard that causes him or her to lose his or her footing and fall while on the property of another. Depending on an individual’s purpose for being on another person’s premises, he or she may be able to recover financial compensation.
If you or a loved one recently suffered harm in a fall due to a property owner failing to remove certain hazards, you might benefit from contacting a seasoned personal injury attorney. By speaking with a Cambria County slip and fall lawyer, you can learn how best to proceed in order to receive legal restitution.
What Causes People to Fall on Another’s Property?
Slip and falls occur when a property owner fails to remove dangerous hazards from his or her land. A variety of circumstances could result in a visitor suffering a fall, including:
- Poor lighting due to a building’s faulty or defective wiring
- Wet or waxed floors without adequate warning signs
- Uneven or obstructed pathways and flooring
- Protrusions or obstructions due to improper maintenance of the property
Depending on how a slip, trip, or fall happens, the owner of the property might be liable for any resulting damages. The claimant’s status determines the extent of a landowner’s legal obligations. A Cambria County attorney could help verify whether a viable slip and fall claim exists and calculate a plaintiff’s recoverable damages.
Determining Liability in a Slip and Fall Case in Cambria County
For an injured party to succeed in a personal injury civil suit for injuries sustained in a trip and fall, the claimant must be able to prove negligence on behalf of the owner of the property. To do this, the plaintiff and his or her local attorney must prove the landowner owed him or her a duty of care, there was a breach of that duty that directly caused the slip and fall, and the fall resulted in compensable losses. However, if it is determined that the claimant partially contributed to his or her injuries, it could result in a diminished damage award.
An invitee is a person who is invited to come upon the property, for purposes beneficial to the landowner. This would include a customer in a store, even if no purchases are made. An invitee is owed the highest duty of care. A landowner owes invitees an affirmative duty to inspect the property for hazards, and to reasonably eliminate those hazards or provide warning of them.
A licensee is a person who is permitted to come upon the land of the other, such as social guest or delivery personnel. Licensees have a lesser status than invitees, as there is not the same benefit to the landowner as in the invitee arena. A landowner has an obligation to notify licensees of defects of hazards which the landowner knows about, but there is not the affirmative obligation to conduct inspections.
Trespassers are the lowest categorization and are those who enter upon the property of the landowner without consent. A landowner only owes a trespasser a duty to not affirmatively create hazards.
Pennsylvania is a modified comparative negligence state, pursuant to 42 P.S. § 7102. This means the party injured in a serious fall is still able to receive compensation, even if he or she contributed to his or her injuries. The court must reduce the claimant’s total damage award by his or her assigned percentage of fault. In cases where the plaintiff was a trespasser, or is determined to be more at fault for the fall than the defendant, he or she could be barred from recovery altogether.
Learn More from a Cambria County Slip and Fall Attorney
The injuries resulting from a devastating falling accident can have a lifelong impact on the claimant, resulting in both physical and mental anguish as well as unexpected financial burdens. Fortunately, state law allows you to seek monetary compensation from the party responsible for your harm.
Do not hesitate in seeking guidance from a well-practiced legal professional at Marcus & Mack. Schedule a consultation with a skilled Cambria County slip and fall lawyer today and discover the options available to you.