Philadelphia Slip and Fall Lawyer Helping Victims of Slip and Fall Accidents
Property owners have a duty to keep their premises in good condition for the safety of their guests. The most common accidents occurring due to unsafe premises are a slip and fall or trip and fall. Benedum Law helps slip and fall victims in Chestnut Hill and greater Philadelphia hold grocery stores, restaurants, department stores, shopping malls and owners of other private property accountable for failing to provide a safe premises for their customers and guests. Learn important facts about fall injuries below, and contact Benedum Law for a Philadelphia slip and fall lawyer at 215-LAWSUIT if you have been injured in Chestnut Hill or Philadelphia.
Duty of Philadelphia Property Owners may Depend on the Status of the Slip and Fall Victim
All property owners have a duty to keep their premises reasonably safe. The full extent of that duty, however, may be greater or lesser depending on the victim’s legal status. In Pennsylvania, the duty owed depends on the visitor’s status as invitee or licensee. These terms are described in greater detail below:
Duties to Invitees
One type of invitee under Pennsylvania premises liability law is a public invitee, which is essentially a customer. Another type of invitee is a business visitor – someone on the premises for the benefit of the owner’s business. Examples of business invitees include vendors, advertisers or suppliers. The duty owed to invites is to maintain the property in a reasonably safe condition. The property owner also must either warn about or fix any dangers that the property owner either knew about or should have known about. This “should have known about” requirement means that property owners are required to make reasonable, periodic inspections of their property to make sure they are safe to avoid injuries.
Duties to Licensees
A licensee is someone who is on the property for the licensee’s own business purposes. An example would be a salesperson who wishes to sell something to the property owner. Meter readers and letter carriers are also said to have a license to enter the property. Additionally, social guests are classified as licensees in Pennsylvania. The duty to licensees is to warn them of existing, nonobvious dangers that the owner knows about. Note that this duty is less than what is owed to invitees. The property owner does not have a “should have known about” or “constructive notice” requirement with regard to licensees and does not have to inspect the property for their benefit. Less liability is owed towards licensees, such as in the event they were to injure themselves in a property.
Difficulties in Proving Slip and Fall Cases
Besides determining the accident victim’s status and the duty of the landlord or property owner to the victim, other features of Pennsylvania slip and fall law make these cases complex and difficult to prove at times. For instance, how does one prove that the property was unreasonably dangerous or that the owner should have known about the danger but failed to fix it in a reasonable time? This can be especially difficult to prove when the hazard was a temporary condition, such as a food or drink spill, or rain or ice that got tracked in from outside. If someone were to sustain injuries from such temporary conditions, it may be hard to hold the owner liable. With our years of experience handling Philadelphia slip and fall cases at Benedum Law, we know how to investigate an accident and collect the necessary evidence to prove the property owner’s negligence. This may include obtaining security camera footage, talking to employees and witnesses, and even hiring experts to review company files and determine whether reasonable, periodic inspections were conducted or in fact neglected.
Another difficulty in proving slip and fall cases is overcoming the argument that the victim was partially negligent or responsible for the accident. Property owners may claim that they provided a warning about the danger, or that the danger was so obvious no warning was required. They may also claim victims were distracted by their phones or simply not watching where they were going, and that they would not have fallen had they been paying better attention. In Pennsylvania, a victim’s own negligence will limit how much they can recover from the property owner, and if they are believed to be 50% or more at fault, they cannot recover anything at all. Property owners and their insurance companies therefore fight hard to pin at least some of the blame on the slip and fall victim, and a large part of the attorney’s job is to make sure the victim is not unfairly or unduly blamed.
Call Benedum Law after a Slip & Fall Injury in Philadelphia
If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident, contact a premises liability attorney with a dedication to client service and a proven record of success. In Philadelphia, contact Benedum Law at 215-LAWSUIT for a free consultation with a skilled and experienced Chestnut Hill personal injury lawyer.