Winning a sidewalk fall accident lawsuit in Pennsylvania usually boils down to two key issues: fault and damages. A successful sidewalk fall accident case will have sufficient evidence that the defendant was legally at fault for the dangerous condition that led to the accident. This typically requires proof that the defendant knew about the problem beforehand or at the very least, should have known about it.
With respect to damages, the plaintiff in an injury or accident lawsuit is required to prove their damages. Having solid evidence to back up the claims of injury and financial losses increases the chances of success and eventually, a monetary recovery.
In this slip and fall law article, we discuss fault and examples to demonstrate what’s required to win a case. If you’d like a free case evaluation, contact us immediately. (215) 985-0777
Fault in a Sidewalk Fall Accident Case
Proof of the Defect
Fall accidents on sidewalk often cause broken bones and in some cases, head injuries or spinal injuries. After a fall accident on sidewalk occurs, the injured party isn’t necessarily thinking about what caused them to fall. Usually, the immediate concern is the injury. Hours or days later, the injured party may realize that a defective condition caused them to fall. Therefore, it’s key to get pictures of the defect, to be able to prove that the defect existed and that it was dangerous.
It’s critical to be able to identify the exact cause of the accident, whether it’s a broken piece of sidewalk, or uneven area. If you can’t identify and be sure of what it was that caused you to fall, you aren’t going to be able to win your case. Courts will find in favor of defendants in fall accident cases if the plaintiff can’t be certain about what caused the accident.
Proof That the Defendant Knew About the Defect (or Should Have Known About It)
In addition to proving the nature of the defect, it’s also vital to prove that the owner either knew about the problem beforehand or should have known about it. Also, Pennsylvania imposes slightly different rules for sidewalk owners, such as private property owners, business owners and government agencies like a local township or city.
Business owners are held to the highest legal standard and are required to make their premises, including sidewalk, reasonably safe for customers. This includes conducting periodic inspections to identify dangerous conditions. If a business doesn’t conduct reasonable, periodic inspections, they may be held liable for a defective sidewalk even if none of the employees knew about the problem.
For example, a woman falls on a sidewalk at a grocery store in Philadelphia. The sidewalk is directly in front of the store. Roots of a nearby tree caused buckling in the sidewalk. However, the store never conducted any inspections whatsoever. As a result, the customer would be able to argue that failing to conduct inspections led to the accident, i.e., the store owner should have known about the condition.
Private property owners are held to a slightly lower standard. They aren’t usually required to conduct periodic inspections, but may be held liable for a dangerous condition of sidewalk if they had prior knowledge of the condition.
For example, a homeowner knows that the sidewalk leading to the front door has an uneven area that keeps getting worse. However, the homeowner does nothing. A delivery person trips over the uneven area and breaks their leg. Here, the homeowner would likely be liable for failing to correct the problem or failing to warn others about the uneven area.
Sidewalk Fall Accident Lawyers – No Fees Until You Recover
Our personal injury law practice includes sidewalk fall accidents. We pride ourselves on client satisfaction. Become a client today. Call (215) 985-0777.