Slip-and-Fall Accidents

Some of the most common injuries and accidents are those involving slips, trips and falls. There are a wide range of causes for these types of accidents, including structural defects, uneven steps, a slip on ice, torn carpet and more. At Avallone Law Associates, we handle them all and help injured victims in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania area, seek full and fair compensation for their injuries.

Contact us today at 215-253-3855, toll free 1-877-223-0579, to discuss your personal injury case with one of our slip-and-fall lawyers.

What Is a Property Owner's Responsibility?

A property owner must keep his or her property in a safe condition for persons who are on the property lawfully. However, you are not always entitled to recover for an injury you suffer while on another person's property. In a premises liability case, you have the obligation of establishing that the condition of the property upon which you fell or were injured was a dangerous condition. Your legal status (were you on the property legally or were you a trespasser) and whether or not you were aware of the dangerous condition are also important factors in determining whether or not you will recover for an injury.

A property owner can raise defenses to your claim for compensation. One common defense is that the owner was not even aware that you were injured because you may not have reported the injury for a long time after it occurred. Therefore, you should always report an injury as soon as possible after it occurs.

Notice

Merely proving that a property was dangerous does not necessarily entitle you to recover for your injury. You must also prove that the property owner knew or should have known about the condition. For example, if you slip on water or another substance in a grocery store, the store can argue that the water or other substance was spilled by another customer only a minute before you slipped. Therefore you should always report the injury immediately. You should also let a skilled attorney determine if this defense is adequate.

The Owner's Duty to You Depends On Why You Are On the Property.

An owner's obligation to keep a property safe varies depending on the status of the person who is on the property. There are three categories of people who enter a person's property:

  • Business invitee: This is a person who goes to a property for a business purpose, and it is not necessary that he or she actually purchases something. Simply being on the premises looking at an automobile in a showroom or a book in a bookstore for example, qualifies a person as an invitee. The business property owner owes patrons the highest standard of care, which is the duty to inspect the property and make repairs to eliminate any dangerous condition.
  • Licensee: A person entering the property as a guest and not for a business purpose is referred to as a licensee. The type of individual must be on the property with the owner's express or implied permission. The property owner's duty of care is slightly lower, however he or she does a duty to repair or warn about a dangerous condition, but not to inspect.
  • Trespasser: A trespasser is a person who is on the property without the owner's permission. Property owners owe trespassers the least amount of care. The owner's only restriction is to refrain from intentionally or recklessly causing the trespasser harm.

Landlord Negligence

A landlord's duty of care is normally determined by the language of the lease. Typically, the landlord is responsible for structural repairs and the tenant is responsible for general maintenance of the property. A landlord is only required to make repairs if advised of a dangerous condition. If you live in a rented property with a dangerous condition you should tell the landlord in writing. If you are in possession of the entire property and the landlord is not in possession of the property, the landlord is not responsible for injury with some exceptions. For example, in an apartment building the landlord is responsible to maintain common areas such as sidewalks, hallways, stairwells, lobbies and parking lots.

Sidewalks

A landowner is primarily responsible to maintain a sidewalk in a safe condition and the city or township has a secondary responsibility. In order to make a claim against a city or township you must prove that the city or township knew or should have known about a dangerous condition. For example, a sidewalk may be considered dangerous if the concrete slabs are off level by a couple of inches.

Stairs

City building codes set forth safety requirements for stairs such as height and width requirements and railing and other requirements.

Contact a Pennsylvania personal injury attorney at our firm to discuss your situation.