Philadelphia Slip and Fall Lawyer
Slip and fall accidents are among the most common personal injury accidents in Montgomery County. They can happen inside or outside, on a homeowner’s property, a public street or sidewalk owned by a municipality, or on a property owned by a business or other organization.
A person can slip and fall for any number of reasons:
- A surface in disrepair, such as tears or bulges in carpeting, crumbling or uneven sidewalks, wood floors with loose boards, steps with decaying cement
- Poor lighting, lack of handrails or stair rails, poorly designed or installed rails
- Badly constructed floors, sidewalks, or other surfaces
- Debris or other items on a surface or in a pathway
- Recent floor cleaning or waxing that caused a slippery surface
- Uncleared ice or snow; most municipalities have laws regarding how quickly proprietors must clear walks and other property
- Loose wires or cables in the pathway
- Lack of warning signs near the hazardous surface
- Rough patches or holes in the ground
- Unprotected ditches or other ground abnormalities
- Unknown drip onto a floor, causing a wet surface
- Defective stairs, such as loose risers or steps, uneven heights, rickety boards
- Drainage grates or exposed pipes in the ground
Of course, there are many other ways a person can slip and fall, causing severe injury in many cases.
Responsibility for Slip and Fall Accidents
Every person has the responsibility to be careful when walking, jogging, or running on any type of surface. Proprietors, whether the property owner, employee, occupier, or another party, also must ensure the property is in prime condition for safe use.
Every person has the right to feel safe: at someone’s home or apartment, in a store or restaurant, on an escalator, with the children at a playground, at work in an office building, even walking across a parking lot or sidewalk.
When that does not happen, and a slip and fall accident occurs, determining liability/fault is crucial for a legal claim.
A proprietor is not legally responsible for damages simply because a person slipped and fell. To be held liable, a personal injury lawyer will need to prove one of the following:
- The proprietor must have caused the dangerous surface or the item to be in the way.
- The proprietor must have known about the dangerous surface or item but did nothing about it.
- The proprietor should have known of the dangerous surface or item because a reasonable person taking care of the property would have discovered it and moved or repaired it.
What does the phrase should have known mean? There are no clear-cut guidelines, so a court will define it by considering the extent of care, called reasonableness, taken to ensure the property was safe.
A negligence claim depends on whether the defendant acted reasonably. Did they make consistent and fully adequate efforts to keep the property clean and safe?
An experienced personal injury lawyer will collect and scrutinize the evidence to determine a proprietor’s reasonableness. The lawyer will analyze these and other issues:
- Cause of the dangerous surface or item
- Length of time the surface had been dangerous
- Whether the proprietor knew of the danger
- Whether the proprietor should have known of the danger
- Attempts to increase safety and eradicate the danger
- If the proprietor had procedures and a schedule in place for maintenance: examining, cleaning, and repairing the surface
- If the proprietor followed the maintenance schedule and procedures
- Whether the proprietor violated any state or federal laws, local ordinances, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidelines, or other mandates concerning the property and its upkeep
- Whether a proprietor repaired a surface after a citation or legal judgment
- Whether other people have been injured on the property
- The proprietor’s general reputation across properties or in the community
- The background, experience, and knowledge of the person(s) that could be held liable for the accident: property owner, occupier, manager, or another party such as a construction or utility company doing work on the property
- In cases in which an object or debris caused a slip and fall accident, a personal injury lawyer will examine whether:
- There was a legitimate reason for an object to be placed in its location.
- The object could have been covered, moved to a different location, or otherwise made safe without great expense or inconvenience.
- The object was still serving its intended purpose, for example, wires or construction debris that are not removed after project completion.
- A barrier, warning sign, or other safety measures could have prevented a slip and fall accident.
- There was sufficient lighting, warnings, and other safety measures in place.
Recovering Compensation in a Slip and Fall Accident in Montgomery County
A seasoned personal injury lawyer has just one goal: to help victims of a slip and fall accident recover compensation from the appropriate party. The lawyer will file a premises liability claim on behalf of a person who has slipped and fallen on private or public property. If someone dies of their slip and fall accident, the lawyer can also pursue a wrongful death claim on behalf of the loved one’s family.
In a slip and fall claim, it is the lawyer’s responsibility to build a strong enough case that clearly shows the proprietor’s negligence, whether that be a person, legal or government entity, business, or organization.
In most cases, proprietors will carry insurance on the property that protects them from financial liability if someone is injured or killed on their property. A skilled lawyer will present solid evidence to the insurance company.
Along with evidence, the lawyer will demand an amount of financial compensation that will cover past, present, and future medical costs; loss of wages; pain and suffering; and other damages related to the accident.
Insurance companies will often settle in the face of strong evidence showing their client was negligent in the slip and fall accident. They will never offer the total amount of compensation, so a skilled lawyer will doggedly pursue what is just and fair to the victim of a slip and fall accident.
Consultation with a Lawyer
To help ensure a strong claim, the victim or a loved one should contact a lawyer as soon as possible after the accident, the same day if possible. This urgency can make sure that details are fresh in the victim’s and witnesses’ minds and preserve as much evidence as possible.
During this consultation, the lawyer will ask that the victim or a loved one do the following:
- If the victim has not yet done so, they should seek immediate medical attention, even if they do not think they have been seriously hurt. Some injuries are not apparent or do not appear until later. The victim should follow any treatment orders the doctor prescribes. It is important to keep all medical records and receipts.
- The victim should report the accident in a formal written complaint to the proprietor and police. Copies of the complaint should be kept.
- Someone should take photos and video of the accident location and the victim’s injuries. Close shots should be taken to capture the exact nuances of the surface or object that caused the injury.
- The victim or a friend should talk to bystanders and other witnesses. Anyone who saw the accident should be asked to provide a statement about the conditions that caused the accident. The witnesses’ contact information should be obtained.
- The victim should keep the clothes and shoes they had on that day without washing or mending them; they could be evidence.
- It is important to maintain a file of all communications, medical records and receipts, fall-related expenses, insurance letters or phone calls, and anything else related to the accident.
- The victim should stay off social media. Anything the victim writes or pictures they post could negatively affect the claim.
- The victim should not make any statements to or accept any type of offer from the proprietor’s insurer.
Philadelphia Slip and Fall Accident Lawyers at Anthony C. Gagliano III, P.C. Help Injured Victims Recover from Their Accident
If you were hurt in a slip and fall accident, you may be able to claim damages for your medical bills, lost wages, or other fair compensation. The Philadelphia slip and fall accident lawyers at Anthony C. Gagliano III, P.C. can help you build a case supporting your claim that your injuries were the result of someone’s negligence. Learn more about how we can help by calling 267-861-7100 or visiting our website to set up a free consultation.
Located in Philadelphia, we serve clients in Philadelphia, Montgomery County, Delaware County, and Norristown.
Testimonial from a former Slip and Fall Client
“Anthony Gagliano recently represented me for a slip and fall case. When it first happen I called Mr. Gagliano’s office as he represented me in the past for an auto accident, I needed advice on what doctors to see regarding my injury. He went above and beyond and got me situated with great care and help me every step of the way through my rehabilitation. I am amazed at the professionalism and the results his law firm provided me. Thank you very much for a job well done.”