Premises Liability and Slip & Fall Accidents
Premises liability/slip and fall claims arise in all sorts of situations, including ice and snow accumulations, sidewalk and parking lot irregularities, unsafely designed swimming pools, foreign substances on floors, such as spills or wax, inadequate lighting, improperly secured carpets, defective elevators or escalators, broken or badly designed playground equipment, and highway design defects. The law requires property owners, including landlords, business owners, shopping malls, and, at times, tenants, to maintain their properties in a safe condition. The precise obligation varies based upon the type of property and relationship between the parties; the duty is at its highest when the person on the premises is a business visitor such as a shopper.
Injuries suffered in slip and fall accidents vary between relatively minor bruises and sprains to fractures, brain injuries, birth defects, and tragically, death. Although the property owner never is an insurer or guarantor of absolute safety, the owner must always act reasonably. What is "reasonable" under the circumstances requires an understanding of the law, an analysis of all the relevant facts, an investigation sufficient to collect all important information from the defendant and witnesses, and, in some cases, the analysis and opinion of experts.
It is important to contact counsel as soon as possible after the accident so that information such as photographs and witness statements may be collected as quickly as possible. Our firm has handled premises liability claims in a wide variety of circumstances and for a large range of injuries. We have handled cases in which the victims have slipped and fallen in supermarkets, on sidewalks, in parking lots, at shopping malls, and at other public and private locations.
Ice and Snow
Generally, one who possesses real property is required to remove accumulated ice and snow from walkways within a reasonable time after the snow and ice has accumulated. In Pennsylvania, the courts require that a victim prove that "hills and ridges" were present and that the ice and snow unreasonably obstructed travel on the walkway. In almost all cases, though, it is up to the jury to determine if the hills and ridges are sufficiently dangerous. They need not be very large, but they must create a "lumpy" surface making walking difficult. That is why, if you are injured on ice and snow, it is very important to be able to describe the condition.
While a smooth ice surface may appear to be more difficult to walk upon, the courts have recognized that a property owner cannot eliminate all ice and snow but must act reasonably to prevent dangers to pedestrians. Of course, there are also exceptions to the "hills and ridges" doctrine, most often where the particular accumulation of ice or snow is not from the natural snowfall, but is instead the result of some negligence of the property owner.
A slip and fall may cause injury of little consequence or, in all too many cases, result in broken bones or severe injuries that cause ongoing pain and restrictions. We would be happy to discuss with you any claim you might have involving a slip and fall on ice or snow. If you or someone close to you has been seriously injured because of the faulty condition of some premises or real estate and is need of an attorney, please CONTACT US.
Sidewalk and Parking Lot Irregularities
The law imposes requires private property to maintain their sidewalks and driveways in a "reasonably safe" condition. While each property is different, courts consider a variety of factors, including the general condition of the walkway (is it cracked, etc.?), whether there are elevation differences that create a hazard, whether the condition was hidden or obvious, and the lighting conditions.
There are instances when a government or municipality may also be liable for non-trivial defects in the sidewalks within the right of way of streets owned by the municipality. In Pennsylvania, a victim can sue a local or state government for such dangerous conditions, although the laws vary in every state.
If you or someone close to you has been seriously injured because of the faulty condition of some premises or real estate and is need of an attorney, please CONTACT US.
Foreign Substance on Floors
A property owner, or tenant, has a duty to make its premises safe for persons on the premises. Common accidents involve markets where a spill or produce is on the floor, offices where a carpet does not lie correctly, or a home where a spill exists on a floor. Although a property owner or occupier's duty may vary, there is generally a duty to, at a minimum, warn about known dangers or to make the condition safe. In the cases of businesses and other "public" locations, visitors are considered to be "business invitees" and are entitled to the highest degree of protection. In that circumstance, the property possessor must warn or take appropriate action to correct defects it knows or should have known abbot.
At the Law Offices of Judy Greenwood, P.C., we have obtained excellent results for clients injured in slip and fall accidents, and pride ourselves on our attention to detail and our reputation in the legal community. If you have been injured because of a dangerous condition on a premises, and want to discuss your case, please call (215) 557-7500, or click here to contact us, to arrange a free consultation. Our attorneys will review what happened, consult with appropriate medical experts, and let you know what we think.