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Philadelphia Premises Liability and Slip and Fall Lawyers

Console Assoc GoldsealThe last thing that anyone expects when shopping, going to work, or visiting a friend’s house is that they will be seriously injured. However, falls are the leading cause of preventable injury and death across the United States. When someone is hurt while on another’s property, they may be able to pursue a Philadelphia premises liability lawsuit against the property owner.

At the Philadelphia slip and fall accident law firm of Console & Associates, our dedicated team of personal injury advocates provides skillful representation for those injured in all types of premises liability accidents. With decades of combined experience handling all types of personal injury claims, our attorneys have a deep understanding of the relevant laws that govern these claims. We put that knowledge to use in each and every case we handle.

Console & Associates enjoys a national reputation for excellence due to the skill and commitment we put into our client’s cases. We recognize that you have many choices when it comes to selecting a Philadelphia premises liability lawyer. We will do everything we can to make sure that, when you select Console & Associates to represent you, it is a decision you will not regret.

Slip and Fall Statistics

Falls are among the top causes of preventable injury in the United States. According to the National Safety Council, there were more than 9.2 million emergency room visits for fall-related injuries.

Workplace falls are very common. While every occupation presents some risk, some jobs are more dangerous than others. According to 2016 data from the National Safety Council, workers in the following occupations are the most likely to suffer fall-related injuries:

  • Construction: 24,700 injuries, 384 deaths
  • Government: 63,350 injuries, 44 deaths
  • Education and health services: 43,660 injuries, 18 deaths
  • Manufacturing: 22,040 injuries, 49 deaths
  • Professional and business services: 22,090 injuries, 111 deaths
  • Retail trade: 29,830 injuries, 29 deaths
  • Transportation and Warehousing: 23,490 injuries, 46 deaths
  • Wholesale trade: 10,250 injuries, 21 deaths

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported that 19,565 deaths happen annually due to unintentional falls in the U.S. Moderate to severe injuries—such as bruises, hip fractures, or head injuries—result from 20% to 30% of fall injuries, the CDC estimated.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), floors and flooring materials contribute directly to more than 2 million fall injuries each year.

 Common Causes of Philadelphia Slip and Fall Accidents

Philadelphia Premises Liability and Slip and Fall Lawyers

When most people think of a slip and fall accident, images of a cracked sidewalk or a puddle in a grocery store aisle come to mind. However, Pennsylvania premises liability law covers any situation in which a guest is injured on another’s property. While a large portion of slip and fall cases arise from injuries occurring at businesses, premises liability claims can also be brought against negligent homeowners and, in some cases, government agencies.

A few of the most common hazards that may result in a premises liability lawsuit include:

  • Cracked or damaged pavement
  • Defective chairs or tables
  • Defective stairs
  • Debris
  • Electrical wires
  • Missing or loose handrails
  • Overly slick flooring
  • Poor lighting
  • Potholes
  • Spilled liquids or other products
  • Uneven surfaces
  • Unmarked hazards
  • Unsecured furniture or equipment
  • Weather conditions
  • Wet floors

Regardless of the hazard responsible for your fall, the dedicated Philly personal injury lawyers at Console & Associates can help. We have decades of experience bringing slip and fall claims against negligent individuals, businesses, and government entities.

Elements of a Philly Slip and Fall Claim

After suffering serious injuries in a Philadelphia slip and fall accident, an individual can file a premises liability claim against the property owner or occupier. The term “occupier” is an important one, because it means that a case can be brought against more than just the property owner. For example, a tenant, property manager, construction company, or security company could also be liable under a premises liability theory.

To succeed in bringing a slip and fall case, an accident victim must prove each of the following four elements:

  1. The owner or occupier of the property owed a legal duty to the injured person;
  2. The owner or occupier breached, or violated, that duty;
  3. The breach of this duty resulted in the victim’s injuries; and
  4. The injury victim suffered some type of legally recognizable damages.

When it comes to determining whether a landowner owes a visitor a duty of care, and the extent of that duty, Pennsylvania courts group guests into three categories: trespassers, licensees, and invitees. Landowners owe each class of visitors a different duty.

A Property Owner’s Duty to Visitors

Philadelphia Premises Liability and Slip and Fall LawyersIn Pennsylvania, visitors are classified into one of three categories, depending on the reason for their being on the defendant’s property:

Trespassers:

A trespasser is someone who enters another’s property, or remains on their property, without permission. Typically, landowners do not owe trespassers a duty of care. That said, the landowner cannot do anything to intentionally cause harm to the trespasser. However, there is an important exception to this general rule involving child trespassers. In the case of a child trespasser, the landowner may be liable for any injuries caused to the child as a result of an “artificial” condition of the property. This is referred to as an “attractive nuisance.” The attractive nuisance doctrine was created in recognition of the fact that children may not appreciate the dangers of a particular hazard and that the landowner is in a better position to eliminate the danger.

An attractive nuisance can be any hazard other than one that is naturally occurring on the property. So, trees, large rocks, and naturally occurring rivers are not attractive nuisances. However, human-made ditches, swimming pools, trampolines, containers, and heavy machinery could all be considered an attractive nuisance. Even when present on the defendant’s property, these potential hazards are not necessarily attractive nuisances. To prove that a hazard is an attractive nuisance, an injury victim must show that the defendant could have eliminated the hazard without taking on a significant burden or that the defendant failed to reasonably protect children who may come onto their property. A landowner’s knowledge that children may enter their land—for example, if the landowner had previously seen children on their property—can be an important part of establishing liability.

Licensees:

A licensee is a person who enters another’s property with the landowner’s permission for their own personal benefit. Because licensees are invited guests, landowners owe licensees a greater duty of care. The most common example of a licensee is a social guest, which can include friends, neighbors, and family members.

Under Pennsylvania law, a landowner must warn a licensee of any dangerous conditions on the property that create an unreasonable risk of harm. However, generally, the property owner or occupier must know about the condition, and the hazard must be one that is not likely to be discovered by the licensee.

Invitees:

An invitee is also a person who enters another’s property with the landowner’s permission. However, unlike licensees, invitees are present on the property for the landowner’s benefit. The most common example of this relationship is a customer at a business. Importantly, a guest is an invitee if they are present with the landowner’s express or implied permission. Thus, a customer at a retail store would be a licensee, even if they had no intention of purchasing any goods.

When it comes to the duty owed to invitees, a property owner must maintain the area in a reasonably safe condition and repair any dangerous conditions on the property that the owner either knew of or, given the surrounding circumstances, should have been aware of. If a landowner cannot cure the defect, they must warn invitees of the hazard so it can be avoided.

In most cases, a guest’s status on another’s property will remain fixed. For example, a grocery store customer will enter the store’s property as an invitee and will remain an invitee after they check out and as they are walking to their car. However, a guest’s status can change in certain situations. For example, if a customer is looking for the restroom and ventures into an area marked “employees only,” they may become a trespasser (provided an employee did not direct them into the area). In this case, the invitee may be said to have exceeded the scope of their purpose for being on the property.

The determination of a visitor’s status is crucial to their ability to recover financial compensation for their injuries. Whenever possible, defendants and their insurance companies will argue that a guest was owed a lesser duty of care and that the defendant fulfilled whatever duty was owed to the guest. Slip and fall victims should consider working with an experienced Philadelphia premises liability lawyer to ensure that they are treated fairly throughout the process and that their claim is given the consideration it deserves.

Damages in a Pennsylvania Premises Liability Case

Pennsylvania gives accident victims a way to pursue compensation for the injuries they suffered due to a landowner’s negligence through a premises liability claim. Whether you slipped and fell, or were injured in another type of Philadelphia premises liability accident, you may be entitled to compensation for what you’ve been put through.

Every accident case is different. In large part, this is because accidents affect people’s lives in many different ways. Depending on the nature and extent of your injuries, you may be able to recover both economic and non-economic damages from the property owner or operator. Generally, there is no limit, or cap, on the amount of damages a jury can award to an accident victim.

In Pennsylvania, economic damages are those that involve quantifiable losses resulting from the accident. For example, the following are all types of economic damages:

  • Past and future medical expenses
  • Lost income from missed work
  • Decrease in earning capacity
  • Medical and assistive devices
  • Required modifications to an accident victim’s home
  • Transportation to and from medical appointments

In addition to economic damages, Philadelphia slip and fall accident victims may also be able to obtain non-economic damages. Non-economic damages do not involve any financial loss. Instead, these damages are focused on compensating the plaintiff for other, less tangible, damages they suffered because of the accident. For example, non-economic damages can include amounts for the following:

  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional anguish
  • Scarring or disfigurement
  • Loss of enjoyment of life
  • Damage to or loss of close familial relationships

By their very nature, non-economic damages are subjective. No two accidents are identical, and even similar accidents can result in the accident victims’ experiencing very different injuries and damages. When it comes to establishing non-economic damages, an accident victim’s physical injuries are only the starting point. It is crucial that an accident victim is able to have their story heard so the judge or jury can fully understand the enormity of the impact that the accident had on their life.

At Console & Associates, our compassionate and dedicated Philadelphia personal injury lawyers are led by veteran attorney Richard P. Console, Jr. For more than 15 years, Attorney Console and his team of Philadelphia injury lawyers have been fighting hard on behalf of accident victims, helping them recover full and fair compensation for the devastating injuries they have suffered. Our attorneys are skilled negotiators as well as experienced trial attorneys, and we advocate tirelessly on behalf of every client we serve.

Comparative Negligence in Philadelphia Premises Liability Cases

One of the biggest hurdles many accident victims face when considering filing a Philadelphia premises liability claim is their own belief that they were partially at fault for their injuries. Indeed, many accident victims never end up pursuing a claim, either because they are embarrassed that they fell or because they mistakenly believe that they do not have a case. However, under Pennsylvania’s modified comparative negligence law, even accident victims who were partially at-fault can still recover compensation for their injuries from other negligent parties.

While some accidents are solely one party’s fault, it is very common for multiple parties to share the blame for an accident. When an accident victim’s own negligence contributes to their injuries, the judge or jury will assign a percentage of fault to each party involved in the case. If the plaintiff is determined to be less than 51 percent at fault, the plaintiff is legally entitled to recover. However, the judge will reduce the plaintiff’s total damages award by their percentage of fault. In the event an accident victim is 51 percent at fault for their injuries, they are not legally permitted to recover from any other party.

The legal concept of modified comparative fault can be challenging to understand. An example may help illustrate how the doctrine plays out in real life. Assume Sally trips on a slightly uneven rug while entering a retail store. At the time of her fall, Sally is carrying several other shopping bags and is talking on her phone. When asked by a store employee what happened, Sally explained that she tripped over the rug and that she wasn’t looking where she was going because she was on the phone. As a result of the fall, Sally broke her ankle, requiring her to miss three weeks of work and then return to light-duty work for another month.

In total, Sally suffered $200,000 in damages. If the jury determined Sally to be 25 percent responsible for the fall because she was not paying attention at the time, she would be entitled to a total of $150,000 (her total damages, less 25 percent). However, if the jury found that Sally was 55 percent responsible for her fall, she would not recover any money for her injuries.

The Importance of Acting Quickly after a Philadelphia Slip and Fall Accident

Philadelphia Premises Liability and Slip and Fall Lawyers

It is essential that those injured in a Philadelphia premises liability accident begin the recovery process as quickly as possible for several reasons. Under Pennsylvania law, the vast majority of premises liability lawsuits must be filed within two years from the incident date. While there is a small exception to this two-year statute of limitations for cases in which the accident victim does not discover their injuries until a later date, these situations are uncommon. If a plaintiff files their claim after the statute of limitations has expired, they will not be able to pursue their case. Notably, the law only requires that the case is filed within the statute of limitations; it may take months or years to resolve a case after it’s filed.

However, there is another reason why meeting with an attorney sooner rather than later is crucial to the ultimate success of a Philly slip and fall claim. Gathering evidence after a slip and fall accident gets more challenging as time goes on. For example, an employee who witnessed the fall may offer a corroborating account of what happened; however, what happens if they leave the job and cannot be located? Video surveillance might provide a clear, undisputed picture of what happened; however, stores typically only save surveillance video for a limited amount of time.

By meeting with an experienced Philadelphia personal injury lawyer as soon as possible, accident victims can increase the likelihood of obtaining all of the evidence they will need to prove their claim.

Work-Related Falls in Philadelphia

While slip and fall accidents can happen anywhere, many of these accidents occur while an employee is on the job. Workplace slip and fall accidents present additional complications due to the complex interplay between the state’s workers’ compensation and personal injury laws.

In general, an employee’s sole remedy when they are injured at work is through a workers’ compensation claim. While the process of recovering workers’ comp benefits is generally much faster than through a personal injury lawsuit, workers’ compensation claims provide only limited benefits to injured employees. Thus, it is in an accident victim’s best interest to file a personal injury claim whenever possible.

Given the limitations on an employee’s ability to sue their employer outside of the workers’ comp system, most often, personal injury claims based on Philadelphia work-related accidents are filed against third parties. However, injured workers should consult with a dedicated Philadelphia workplace accident lawyer to discuss their claim and better understand their options.

Discuss Your Injuries with a Knowledgeable Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyer

Richard P. Console Jr.

Premises Liability Lawyer, Richard P. Console Jr.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a Philadelphia slip and fall accident, contact Console & Associates for immediate assistance. Since 1994, Console & Associates has helped clients recover the compensation they need to put their injuries behind them and move forward with their lives. Through our diligence, skill, and aggressive style of representation, we have helped over 6,000 clients recover a total of more than $100 million in compensation.

At Console & Associates, we understand how difficult recovering from a slip and fall accident can be, and we make sure that we do everything to make the process as easy on you as possible. To learn more, and to schedule a consultation with one of our Philadelphia premises liability lawyers, call (215) 225-2040, or contact us through our online form. There is no risk in calling, because your initial consultation is free, and we will never pressure you to proceed with your case. Since we work on a contingent-fee model, we will not get paid unless we are able to get you monetary compensation for your injuries.


Console and Associates, P.C.
100 S Broad St #1523 Suite B
Philadelphia, PA 19110

Client Testimonial

I whole-heartedly recommend him to anyone searching for results and compassion throughout the process. There are so many attorneys out there who don’t care about their clients or don’t really understand personal injury matters. Choosing one of them can really be a huge life-changing mistake. Do yourself a favor and just call and talk to him, and you will see what I am talking about.

Rating: 5/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
D. Brown
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