Experienced Premises Liability Lawyer
Proving liability in slip and fall lawsuits is the responsibility of the plaintiff (the so-called victim). So if you believe you have been injured in a slip or fall due to negligence, you need an experienced premises liability attorney. Philadelphia premises liability lawyer Jeffrey Harlan Penneys, Esquire, has over 19 years of experience protecting the citizens of Pennsylvania from negligent property and building owners.
The legal burden in trip, slip, and fall lawsuits
Pennsylvania slip and fall law is designed to serve two purposes: to compensate people who have been injured because of property owner negligence; and to protect innocent property owners from frivolous or unnecessary slip and fall lawsuits. In order to meet this dual obligation, the burden of proof has come to rest squarely on the shoulders of the injured.
Depending on the specific circumstances of your accident, in particular, the amount and quality of evidence you have amassed to support your claim, it is possible that rather than proceeding to a full-on lawsuit, we may decide that it would be wiser to pursue an out of court settlement. Of course, the final decision regarding this choice would be yours, and working collaboratively we would assess which course would best serve your interests.
If we proceed with a slip and fall lawsuit, we will be required to prove that:
- The defendant (property owner) owed you a duty (to maintain reasonably safe conditions on their property),
- That they failed to fulfill this duty, and
- In so failing caused the accident in which you were injured.
We will also be required to present evidence in order to establish damages.
Therefore, one of your most important tasks is to get photographs of the accident scene so we can document the condition of the site at the time of your slip or fall to establish the actual cause of the incident. For example, if a buckled sidewalk or a wet spot on the floor caused your fall, a picture can show the extent of the defect. Take advantage of today’s wide availability of cell phone cameras to get documentation of dangerous conditions within minutes of the incident.
Assigning accountability in slip and fall lawsuits
There is a common misconception regarding slip and fall lawsuits that the fault for the accident lies partly with the plaintiff. This can make it more difficult to convince a judge or jury that the injury is worth as much as some other types of lawsuits. This is often referred to as “contributory” or “comparative” negligence.
To combat this incorrect preconception, the plaintiff should take the following important steps:
- Determine the cause of the fall.
- Take a photo of the site (ie. the wet floor, icy sidewalk, poorly maintained stairs, etc).
- Notify the owner of the property as soon as possible.
- As soon as you are able and have the time, take notes on exactly where you were and what happened. Do this while the incident is fresh in your mind. Talk to witnesses if possible, and remember to get their contact information.
- Seek medical attention. Resist the urge to “walk it off.” The severity of back, head, and spinal trauma is not always immediately evident, and the sooner you receive care, the easier it will be to demonstrate the linkage between the injury and the fall.
- Do not rely on the property owner or manager to make things right. In the case of serious injuries, and potential reimbursement of damages, the assessment of responsibility will not be theirs.
- Finally, it is crucial to seek the advice and services of a trained premises liability attorney. Our Philadelphia premises liability lawyers can help ensure that a thorough and proper investigation takes place, that the appropriate authorities are notified, that the responsible party or parties are held accountable, and that your rights as a plaintiff are protected.
Potential reimbursement includes specific and general damages
Specific damages in a slip and fall lawsuit, such as medical and rehabilitation expenses, and lost wages, are relatively easy to estimate. Compensation can often be supported by receipts, invoices, paycheck stubs and similar items.
General damages include more subjective factors that are more challenging to enumerate, such as pain and suffering, inconvenience, humiliation, or loss of enjoyment of life. The more severe, permanent, or debilitating an injury, the more likely one is to be awarded general damages. These damages are also referred to generally as “pain and suffering.”
Each slip, trip, and fall case is unique, so there is no foolproof formula to determine the exact amount and nature of the compensation due the plaintiff. Your lawyer must consider the conditions of the property, the nature of your visit, the disposition of the property owner regarding hazard mitigation, and other factors when determining the strategy and tactics they will take with your claim. The critical point is to have a knowledgeable and proven Philadelphia slip and fall attorney by your side.
Further in-depth information and advice can be found by reading FAQs from a top premises liability lawyer in Philadelphia.
Because of the potential complexities of slip, trip, and fall lawsuits, you can’t afford not to hire a top Philadelphia premises liability lawyer. Jeffrey Harlan Penneys, Esq. serves clients throughout Pennsylvania as well, so whether your potential case takes place in Bucks County, Montgomery County, Delaware County – or anywhere in the Commonwealth – there is never a fee unless I win.