A fall, even from a short height, could result in serious harm. When property owners fail to prevent hazards that cause someone to trip and fall, they could be held liable for the injured party’s damages. If you are injured after slipping or falling because someone else was careless, a State College slip and fall lawyer may be able to help you. An experienced personal injury attorney could gather evidence to hold the at-fault party accountable.
Common Causes of Falling
Injuries from a slip and fall are often minor, but in rare cases, they can be devastating, resulting in traumatic brain injuries, broken bones, spinal cord injuries, and even death. Pennsylvania law details the responsibilities a property owner owes to visitors, as well as what kind of recovery might be available if the victim is partly at fault for the accident. Some common slip and fall accidents include:
- Slippery floors, sidewalks, stairways
- Defects in sidewalks
- Poor lighting
- Icy parking lots
- Scattered debris
Who is Protected from Tripping Hazards?
A person who enters the property of another will have one of three statuses: trespasser, licensee, or invitee.
If an individual enters the land of another without permission, the individual is considered a trespasser, and the landowner owner only has the responsibility of disclosing known or artificial hazards. If a trespasser slips and is injured on someone’s property, the trespasser might not have a claim for personal injuries.
Licensees are those who are present on another’s property for reasons other than financial gain, such as social guests and unsolicited visits from neighbors. A landowner must alert a licensee of any known preventable hazards
An invitee is a visitor invited onto the property, either directly or indirectly, such as a customer in a store (whether or not a purchase is made). An owner has the highest duty to an invitee and must make sure the property is reasonably safe, which includes an obligation to affirmatively inspect the property for dangerous conditions. In the grocery store, the business must keep a watchful eye for spills and clean them up within a reasonable period of time, so a customer does not slip and fall. A Pennsylvania attorney could help determine the victim’s status at the time of the fall, and the claims that can be made.
Pennsylvania follows modified comparative negligence in personal injury cases. A person injured in a slip and fall accident can still file a lawsuit for compensation, as long as he or she is not more than 50 percent at fault for the incident. If the injured party is 51 percent or more responsible for an accident, no damages will be awarded. The court reduces any damages amount by the percentage a victim is found liable for the accident.
The defendant will routinely attempt to deny liability or reduce an award. The court will allow the defendant’s attorney to provide defenses to a plaintiff’s claim to reduce a damages award. One standard argument is that the property owner took reasonable steps to warn about the danger. Defense attorneys can also allege that the danger should have been apparent to the victim. A State College attorney familiar with slip and fall defense tactics could gather evidence to prevail.
What are Recoverable Damages from a Slip and Fall Accident?
A claimant can be compensated for economic and non-economic damages. Economic injuries are measurable and consist of lost wages, future lost earning capacity, and past and future medical expenses. Non-economic damages are more difficulty to quantify and consist of the claimant’s pain and suffering, scarring, disfigurement, and decreased enjoyment of life.
Reach Out to a State College Slip and Fall Attorney for Guidance
If you slipped and fell due to a landowner’s negligence, you might be wondering what your legal options are. A State College slip and fall lawyer could explain your rights and help you recover compensation that is rightfully yours. By hiring a skilled legal team, you could increase your chances of a successful recovery. Call today to schedule your initial case consultation for free.