How time plays an important role in slip and fall liability

On Behalf of | Sep 12, 2018 | Personal Injury

If you injure yourself while falling on someone else’s property in Pennsylvania, you have the right to file a lawsuit against them to compensate for your damages. To succeed in doing so, you need to prove to the court that the owner should have known about the condition that made you fall.

This means that whatever caused you to fall should have been the result of the owner failing to update their property to accommodate for safety. They should have known about this condition for a long time, and there are multiple ways they can fail which can cause you or others to receive injuries on their property.

Not accommodating for the weather

While it is not the owner’s fault should rain or snow come on to their property, they must take care of the problem as soon as they can to warn any visitors of wet or slippery floors on the premises. Wet floor signs should be seen near the entrance of the facility as it is the most common area for slip and fall accidents during intense weather.

Earlier this year, a Pennsylvania school faced a lawsuit over a student slipping on black ice, but it was rejected because the ice was not “unreasonably accumulated in ridges or elevations.” While schools do have a duty to minimize the amount of snow and ice for students to trip on outside, black ice can be difficult to see and get rid of before the students arrive. The student would have had a better chance of winning had the ice been there for a longer period and was more visible.

Not updating the premises

After the owner becomes aware of the problem, they need to fix the issue as soon as they can while providing nearby visitors sufficient warnings about the defect. If the problem continues to linger unfixed, the surrounding area can deteriorate further and make the area even less safe. Examples could include letting a crack in a sidewalk expand or not fixing a light bulb in a street light.

If the condition will take a while to fix, then the owner should not haphazardly cover it and act like nothing is wrong. Back in 2010, a University of Pennsylvania student fell through a skylight opening on the fourth floor. She received no prior warnings about it and the only cover on the skylight was flex board and carpet. She successfully settled for $11.6 million.

Time is arguably the most important factor when it comes to successful slip and fall lawsuits. Pennsylvania owners have a responsibility to fix and update their sites to prevent any major injuries from occurring during the year. If someone fails to do so and you find yourself with medical bills due to their negligence, you should contact a personal injury attorney to help you settle a potential claim.