Fall Accidents – Common on Sidewalk & Parking Lots
In Delaware County, slip and fall accidents usually occur on sidewalks or parking lots in both businesses and residential areas such as shopping malls, stores, apartment complexes, etc. Fall accidents can also occur indoors on walkways or stairs.
Slip and fall accidents usually involve water, liquid, food or snowy/icy conditions. Trip and fall accidents tend to happen due to:
- uneven areas,
- broken areas of concrete or asphalt, or
- slope/grade issues.
Compensation for Slip & Fall Accident Injuries in Delaware County, PA
When a slip and fall accident happens because of an unreasonably dangerous condition, the property owner or others can be held liable to pay for the resulting injuries. Usually, in a Delaware County fall accident case, property owners or other parties can be held liable when 1. the condition is unreasonably dangerous, and 2. the owner knew about the condition beforehand or should have known about it.
Pennsylvania law imposes different requirements based on the status of the property owner. Private property owners are held to a different legal standard than owners of businesses which are held open to the public.
In most cases, it’s easier to prove liability against a business like a store or restaurant because businesses held open to the public are required to conduct reasonable inspections of their property and business premises for the safety of customers. Private property owners like a residential property owner aren’t required to conduct such inspections and are usually required to fix unreasonably dangerous or hidden conditions (i.e., dangerous conditions that aren’t clearly visible). Here are two examples which illustrate this principle.
Business Owner Liable for Sidewalk Defect: A Delaware County resident going grocery shopping trips on a broken piece of sidewalk just as he enters the store. The sidewalk was cracked and over time, the crack worsened until there was a noticeable break in the sidewalk. Grocery store employees didn’t conduct any type of regular inspections, as required by store policies. As a result, the cracked sidewalk got worse over time. Here, liability is pretty clear. Because the store failed to do inspections, the sidewalk got worse.
Homeowner Potentially Liable for Sidewalk Defect: A delivery person making a delivery to a home in Delaware County trips over an uneven area of the sidewalk leading to the front door. The uneven area is located between two sidewalk panels; one panel is slightly raised above the other, creating an uneven area between the two panels. Whether the homeowner is liable depends on how large the uneven area is. It basically boils down to a measurement. If the uneven area is only an inch or less, the property owner probably wouldn’t be liable. But if the uneven area is excessive, like 3 or 4 inches, the owner would probably be liable.
Claims for Compensation
Under Pennsylvania law, individuals injured in Delaware County slip and fall accidents can receive compensation for all financial losses. Claims are often made for medical bills, lost wages, out of pocket expenses like household help. Essentially, these claims involve any financial or economic loss caused by the accident, injuries and medical treatment.
In addition, injured individuals can make claims for pain and suffering, i.e., physical pain and mental anguish caused by the injuries and resulting medical treatment or disability.
Delaware County Lawsuits for Fall Accidents
Slip and fall lawsuits filed in Delaware County are almost always settled. In 9 out of 10 cases, the matter will be settled by way of an agreement. Cases are rarely tried in court. Most of the time, plaintiffs rarely see the inside of a courtroom.
Cases will mostly involve workup – investigating and preparing the evidence. At most, a plaintiff will have to testify at a deposition, which is usually held in an attorney’s office, not in court.
It is important to note that in some cases, trial will be inevitable. Trial is often necessary where there is a major dispute over some key issue, like liability or damages. That’s why investigating the case is so important. Sufficient evidence of both liability and damages puts the plaintiff in the best position to get maximum compensation in the shortest amount of time.
Fall Accident Lawyers – Delaware County, Pennsylvania
Our Pennsylvania injury law firm represents residents of Delaware County in slip and fall accident cases. We’ve handled cases involving sidewalk fall accidents, parking lot fall accidents and more. Contact us for a FREE consultation at (215) 985-0777.