Posted On September 27, 2022 Personal Injury
After your injury, you can file a personal injury claim to recover the damages caused by your slip, trip, or fall. However, identifying who is responsible for your slip and fall isn’t always as clear as it seems.
Many retail locations rent the land they operate on. In some cases, they might also pay for another company to keep that property safe. For a slip and fall claim to be successful, your attorney will need to identify the correct responsible party. As a personal accident attorney in PA, we will handle all of this for you.
In order for someone to be liable for a slip and fall injury you’ve sustained on someone else’s property, at least one of the following factors must be true:
Property owners and businesses can’t control the weather, and the law does not expect them to. However, they do have the responsibility to keep their land and buildings reasonably safe. If they don’t, they are liable for the damages their negligence caused. How courts determine, at fault, parties changes depending on who owns the property.
Private property owners enjoy limited protection under state and federal law. During a snow or ice storm, they’re typically not liable for any injuries if they are making a good faith effort to keep their property safe.
If the dangerous condition is visible to people passing by and cleaned in a reasonable amount of time, they may not be liable. For example, property owners aren’t expected to go out in the middle of a snowstorm to clear sidewalks or melt ice. If you’re walking during the middle of the storm, the law assumes you will take steps to stay safe.
But if the property owner is negligent in maintaining their property, they can be liable. For example, if the homeowner makes some effort to remove the hazardous condition but does not do an adequate job, they may be liable. Or if they have a leaky pipe on their property and do not completely repair the pipe and remove the ice, this could be construed as negligent. Counties and cities could have different regulations that govern what a “reasonable” amount of time is.
Property owners, liability for injuries caused by a slip and fall on snow or ice is usually based on the cause of the dangerous condition.
Unlike residential property, businesses have more responsibility to keep their locations safe. Under the law, businesses are inviting you on to their property to make a profit. As a result, they are legally kept to a higher standard of safety.
This is particularly true if they stay open during a storm. They have to make a reasonable attempt at safety, but their definition of “reasonable” is stricter than a homeowner’s. This doesn’t mean filing a claim against a business is easy, however.
Many businesses do not own the property they operate in, leasing it instead. If this is the case, it is usually the property manager, not the business who is responsible. In most cases, the party responsible for snow removal contracts the job out to a third party. Your attorney must determine who is responsible, which depends on the contractual relationship between the business, the property manager, and the 3rd party contractor.
When you’re injured on property belonging to the state (for example, a child injured in a school slip and fall case), county, or municipality, the process is a little bit different. In both New Jersey and Pennsylvania, injured plaintiffs must file a “tort claim notice” with the entity.
This notifies the governmental entity of the claim and gives them the opportunity to do their own evaluation of the claim before too much time has passed. Depending on the entity, you may be required to file the tort claim notice within as little as 90 days of your injury.
Failure to file the tort claim notice could lead to you never being able to bring a claim.
Even when you’re hurt, it’s hard not to feel embarrassed after a slip and fall. Hindsight is 20/20, and it’s easy to try and put some of the blame on yourself. However, according to the law, even if you are partially responsible for your injury, you have the right to make a claim. This is a legal determination known as comparative fault.
How much responsibility you bear for the injury helps determine how much your claim is worth. Typically, the more the other party is at fault, the more you’re entitled to. For example, in a recent black ice settlement with Walmart, a woman sued after falling in their Sam’s Club parking lot. She had injuries that caused long-term pain and was able to settle with Walmart and the paving company for $795,000.
This is another reason it’s always a good idea to speak with a personal injury attorney. They’ll help to make sure that your claim is not reduced or denied because of some partial liability on your part.
For 25 years, Console and Associates has helped our clients successfully resolve their slip and fall claims. Their winter accidents left them serious injuries, which is why we fought so hard to get them the settlement they needed. A personal injury claim is about getting your life back on track.
Determining liability is an important step to building a successful claim. If you’re in pain after slip, trip, or fall, see a doctor immediately. Left untreated, those minor injuries can quickly turn into life-altering pain. After speaking with your doctor, call a local slip and fall attorney and speak with an attorney. You will get better.