Philadelphia Slip and Fall Lawyer
If you were injured in a slip, trip or fall accident in Philadelphia, we may be able to help. As every case is unique, we need to know the specifics of your situation. Call Philadelphia slip and fall lawyer Jeff Rosenbaum today and get a free, no obligation consultation about your situation. If we handle your case, there is no fee for our services unless we recover money on your behalf.
Slips, Trips, and Falls
According to the National Safety Council (2011) falls are one of the leading causes of injuries in the United States. Workplace injuries, in particular, present a challenge to everyone, as such injuries can occur just about anywhere and at any time.
While some industries will obviously have a higher number of occupational injuries and illnesses than others, those with the largest number of cases in 2014 were the private medical and surgical hospitals (222,300 cases), local government elementary and secondary schools (217,300 cases), and restaurants (192,100 cases). The charts below show those occupations that had the highest number of workplace injuries in 2014:
Of course, some workplaces will have more injuries and illnesses simply because they employ a very large number of workers. Taking into account employment and the number of hours worked by employees, industries with high injury and illness rates included nursing facilities and police/fire/corrections organizations as the graph below shows (U.S. Department of Labor, 2015).
Slips, trips, and falls also present a major challenge when it comes to deciding who is responsible for such incidents. For example, some 25% of occupational injuries will require time off from work, and determining the cause of such accidents and who should pay for the related costs can be extremely difficult to determine.
In general, a business or property owner must keep his or her property safe for anyone lawfully on the property. However, just because someone suffered an injury on the property does not automatically imply that the owner is liable. First, the condition that caused the fall or injury must be determined. If it can be shown that the conditions are such that the safety of those on the property is indeed unsafe, the property owner may then be held liable for any resulting injuries that occur.
For example, having a display counter in the middle of an aisle may not be dangerous, but if the display is low and in a location where it could create a tripping hazard for someone turning into the isle, that is another matter. There are other issues that also should be considered, such as the visitor’s legal status (see below), whether the owner knew of the condition, and if the injured person should have done more to avoid the accident.
If you are the victim of a slip, trip, or fall, a Philadelphia slip and fall lawyer will be experienced with all of these issues and can help you during the entire legal process. It is always best to call and consult with an attorney if at all in doubt when you are a victim of any type of slip and fall due to landlord negligence, an injury in the workplace, a slip, trip, or fall at a retail location, or on other public property location where your safety has been compromised due to the negligence of those responsible for maintaining a safe environment.
There are numerous defenses a property owner will typically raise in challenging a premises liability claim. One common issue arises when the owner has no idea the accident happened on their property until days or weeks after the incident. Therefore, whenever possible, you should notify the owner or manager of the property immediately. Most retail stores will take incident reports if notified at the time of the accident.
Despite the challenges in proving these cases, our Philadelphia personal injury law firm has had great success in recovering money for our clients though verdicts and settlements. We understand the specific issues involved and are prepared to fully litigate your claim.
Some important statistics you should be aware of:
- Falls account for over 8 million hospital emergency room visits, representing the leading cause of visits (21.3%). Slips and falls account for over 1 million visits, or 12% of total falls.
- Fractures are the most serious consequences of falls and occur in 5% of all people who fall.
- Slips and falls do not constitute a primary cause of fatal occupational injuries, but represent the primary cause of lost days from work.
- Slips and falls are the leading cause of workers’ compensation claims and are the leading cause of occupational injury for people aged 55 years and older.
- 95 million workdays per year are lost due to slip and fall injuries.
- 85% of worker’s compensation claims are attributed to employees slipping on slick floors (Industrial Safety & Occupational Health Markets 5th edition)
- 22% of slip/fall incidents resulted in more than 31 days away from work (US Bureau of Labor Statistics (2002).
- Compensation & medical costs associated with employee slip/fall accidents is approximately $70 billion annually (National Safety Council Injury Facts 2003 edition).
- Occupational fatalities due to falls are approximately 600 per year down from 1200 during since the 1970s.
- Total injuries due to falls estimated at $13-14 million per year in U.S. Falls are the number one cause of accidental injury, resulting in 20.8 percent of all emergency room visits in 1995. (Motor vehicle accidents accounted for 11.9 percent of ER visits.)
- Disabling (temporary and permanent) occupational injuries due to falls are approximately $250,000-$300,000 per year.
- Falls occur in virtually all manufacturing and service sectors. Fatal falls however are in construction, mining and certain maintenance activities.
- According to Workers Compensation statistics from ITT-Hartford Insurance Company, falls account for 16% of all claims and 26% of all costs. This compares to 33% of costs associated with sprains and strains.
- According to the American Trucking Association, slips and falls are the leading cause of compensable injury in the trucking industry.
- Falls from elevation (approximately 40% of compensable fall cases, approximately 10% of occupational fatalities) while falls on the same level accounted for approximately 60% of compensable fall cases (W. Monroe Keyserling, Ph.D. 2000).
- 57% of general liability claims are from slip and fall accidents.
Most Common Causes of Slips, Trips, and Falls
There are many situations that may cause slips, trips and falls, such as:
- Uneven walking surfaces
- Loose matting
- Weather-related conditions like rain, snow and/or ice
- Use of inappropriate footwear
- Walkway surfaces that are in disrepair
- Highly polished surfaces/floors that do not allow for adequate footwear traction
- Open desk/cabinet drawers
Notice of Defective condition
When an owner or occupier is given notice by employees or guests that a condition exists that makes the premises unsafe in some way, he or she must be allowed a reasonable amount of time to warn others of its presence and/or remedy the condition.
Sometimes just showing that a store or property had dangerous condition before an injury does not establish negligence. There may need to first prove notice; that is, that the defendant knew or should have known about the dangerous condition and failed to act. For example, if a customer falls on dish soap in a supermarket, the store will argue that another customer may have spilled it moments before the accident. If there is no way to show the soap was there for an extended period of time, a recovery might not be possible.
In cases like the scenario above, even if it isn’t known how or when something got on the floor, many times an experienced Philadelphia slip and fall lawyer can still prove notice. It is important, then, to call an attorney with expertise in such matters for a consultation as soon as possible.
The Owners Duty Is Not Always The Same
The obligation to make a property safe depends to some extent on your purpose for being on the property. The law defines your status as:
- a business invitee
- a licensee
- a trespasser
A business invite is someone who goes to a property for a business purpose. However, that person does not need to buy anything or enter into any agreement to be considered invitee. Therefore, if an individual is looking at cars in a showroom, he or she would be a business visitor even though no purchase of a car was made that day. A business invitee is owed the highest standard of care, which means the operator has an obligation to inspect their property and correct any dangerous conditions.
Someone who is visiting a friend or attending a party at a residence would be licensee, because that person is not entering the property for the owner’s business. In order to be considered a licensee, he or she must have the owner’s permission to be on the property, although it’s not necessary to have an express invitation. The duty owed to a licensee is to correct or warn about a known dangerous condition, but there is no duty to inspect the property.
A trespasser is owed the least obligation. This is someone who goes onto a property but does not have permission. More specifically, there is no indication that the Philadelphia property owner wants that person to be on their property, nor has the owner given the individual a reason to think it is acceptable to enter his or her property. Under these circumstances, the owner is responsible only if he intentionally or recklessly injuries that person.
The obligations of a landlord are usually determined by the lease agreement. Typical leases will make the owner responsible for structural repairs and the tenant responsible for general upkeep. Often in residential leases, the landlord will only be required to make repairs after he or she is advised of the condition. It is always a good idea to document any requests for repair in writing; in fact, some leases make this a requirement.
Under Pennsylvania law, there is a doctrine known as “landlord out of possession,” which applies to an owner who leases the entire property. In this case, the landlord in not responsible unless one of six exceptions apply. However, if the landlord retains control of part of a building, he or she is then responsible for maintaining that area. For example, in an apartment building the landlord is responsible for maintaining the common areas such as hallways, stairwell, the lobby, and the parking area.
Who Is Responsible for The Sidewalk Condition?
Many people believe it is always the City’s or Township’s responsibility to maintain the sidewalk, but in fact the primary obligation falls on the property owner. The city may have what’s called “secondary liability,” which means that a claim can also be made against the city. However, proving the city knew or should have known of the defective sidewalk may be more difficult. Under Pennsylvania law, the owner must keep the sidewalk reasonably safe for pedestrians. Although the owner may not be responsible for slight imperfections, a misleveling of a couple inches between sidewalk slabs can create a serious tripping hazard.
Some of the most serious injuries occur when a person falls down a set of stairs. Numerous safety requirements are outlined by building codes that have been adopted by its municipality. The building code will set forth minimum guidelines for the height and width of each step and when and what type of railing is required. Sometimes the defect is obvious, but many times our office will employ an engineer to inspect the stairway, take measurements, and review it for code violations.
Philadelphia Slip and Fall Lawyer
If you would like more information from a Philadelphia slip and fall lawyer, please contact the Rosenbaum & Associates Law Firm online or call 1 800 7 LEGAL 7 for a Free Case Evaluation today.