Philadelphia Slip and Fall Accident FAQ
Most slip and fall accidents only result in minor scrapes and bruises. Involved individuals usually suffer more of a blow to their egos than any actual physical injuries. However, sometimes these slip and fall accidents can lead to catastrophic outcomes, including debilitating injuries, astronomical medical expenses, and extreme stress for victims and their families.
When someone sustains an injury because of a dangerous condition on another person’s property, the injured individual will not only have numerous questions and concerns about what medical treatments are necessary and how to pay for them, but also have immense worries about the future. That is why, in this blog post, we will dive into issues relating to slip and fall accidents; specifically, we will go over some frequently asked questions that many victims have after suffering a slip and fall injury.
Hopefully, with these answers, you can get the information you need to get through this traumatic ordeal. If you have specific questions regarding your slip and fall accident, you should reach out to a Philadelphia slip and fall accident attorney as soon as possible.
1. What is a slip and fall accident?
Claims that stem from Philadelphia slip and fall accidents involve individuals that sustain injuries after slipping, tripping, and falling. Typically, these falls occur on property that is owned or maintained by someone other than the injured individual. If an individual is injured in a slip and fall accident, he or she may qualify to pursue monetary compensation for any resulting injuries from the property owner responsible for maintaining the property where the injury occurred.
2. What are some typical slip and fall accidents in Philadelphia?
Slip and fall accidents can occur for many reasons, including:
- Uneven or wet surfaces
- Loose floorboards
- Worn out carpeting
- Freshly waxed or cleaned floors
- Parking lot potholes
- Loose mats
- Defective or cracked sidewalks
- Staircases missing a railing
- Cluttered floors
- Improper or untimely snow and ice removal
- Stray cords and electrical wires
- Poor lighting
- Moisture collection
3. What should I do following a slip and fall accident in Philadelphia?
If you are involved in a slip and fall accident, take specific steps following your accident. These actions can not only help protect your safety and health, but they can also protect your legal rights.
If you ever find yourself in a slip and fall accident, you need to do the following:
- Get medical treatment: If emergency care is not required, you still need to get examined by a doctor. These slip and falls can often result in head or brain injuries or internal bleeding that does not show immediate symptoms. As a result, the condition can worsen without proper treatment and lead to significant problems and even death. However, when you get checked over by a medical professional following your accident, he or she can look for these serious hidden injuries and get you the treatments you need. Additionally, these doctors can write down their findings in their medical reports. If you decide to pursue a slip and fall accident claim, your medical report can provide you with vital evidence regarding your injury.
- Report the incident to a property owner, manager, or landlord: Following the accident, you need to create a written report or an accident report about the incident and provide it to the manager, landlord, or property owner. Make sure you also request a copy for your records.
- Document everything: If it is safe, make sure you take pictures or videos of the area where the incident occurred. Get photos of your visible injuries and the dangerous condition that caused your injury.
- Keep your clothing: Make sure you store your clothing and shoes following your slip and fall accident, as they may prove useful as evidence during your case.
- Be careful what you say: You should carefully consider what statements you make after your accident. Make sure you do not admit fault, and do not apologize for any part of the accident. These statements can impact your claim and the amount of money you ultimately receive.
- Consult an experienced slip and fall attorney at the Levin Firm: If you have been injured in a slip and fall accident in Philadelphia, you need to contact an experienced slip and fall attorney. These lawyers can go over your case, determine if you have a viable claim, and fight for justice and compensation on your behalf.
4. What factors influence a Philadelphia slip and fall case?
Philadelphia slip and fall accidents are rather complex and extremely detailed oriented. Just because a defective or otherwise dangerous condition existed on an individual’s property does mean that you can collect compensation for your injuries.
In fact, you must first consider numerous factors, including:
- What is the purpose of the property where the accident occurred? Is it a home, store, or workplace?
- Under what circumstances was the visitor allowed to enter the property?
- Was it foreseeable that the visitor would suffer an injury on the property?
- Did the property owner take any reasonable efforts to repair the dangerous condition on the property? Or did the owner warn the visitor of the dangerous condition?
In Philadelphia, the property owner must either notify you of any defects on the property or keep the property safe from future defects. However, as a visitor, you still have a responsibility to act reasonably and remain aware of your surroundings. If you fail to do so, it may impact the amount of compensation that you ultimately receive.
5. If I slipped and fell on a sidewalk in Philadelphia, can I sue the city?
Typically, if your slip and fall accident occurred on government property, the court will generally interpret the law in favor of the city. Claims against Philadelphia are usually only valid if the accident was caused by a dangerous condition on the sidewalk. This means lawsuits that involve defects in the sidewalk are often limited, and Philadelphia governmental agencies generally cannot face liability for failing to clean up debris or potentially dangerous spills on the sidewalk.
For instance, if you slip and fall on a broken or unevenly raised sidewalk that is owned and maintained by the city of Philadelphia, then you may qualify to pursue compensation for your injuries. However, because of the complexities involved in a claim against the government, you need an experienced Philadelphia slip and fall attorney who has experience dealing with government entities, who knows what evidence is necessary to prove liability, and who understands how to hold government entities legally liable for slip and fall injuries.
6. If I slipped and fell on a neighbor’s property in Philadelphia, can I sue my neighbor?
Unfortunately, if you slip and fall on another person’s property and sustain an injury, this alone does not mean that you can sue and get compensation for your damages.
If you want to bring a successful slip and fall claim in Philadelphia, you need to prove all of the following:
- The property owner knew of the dangerous condition on the property.
- The property owner had sufficient time to repair the dangerous condition but failed to do so.
- The property owner’s failure caused an accident that resulted in injury.
If you cannot prove these elements, you likely won’t prevail in a slip and fall accident claim. Following your accident, you should speak to a knowledgeable Philadelphia slip and fall lawyer. An attorney can review the circumstances of your specific accident and determine your eligibility to pursue compensation for your injuries.
7. If I suffered injuries in a slip and fall accident, how much time do I have to file a claim in Philadelphia?
If you were injured in a slip and fall accident in Philadelphia, you generally have two years from the slip and fall accident date to file a claim. If you do not file a claim within this allotted time, you will likely miss out on your opportunity to collect compensation for your damages. Additionally, certain circumstances may allow for an extension of this deadline, but other circumstances may result in a shorter timeline. For instance, if you pursue a slip and fall claim against the government, you must file much sooner than for claims against private parties.
For these reasons, it is in your best interest to speak with a slip and fall lawyer in Philadelphia as quickly as possible. These lawyers can promptly investigate the accident and ensure that critical evidence is gathered and preserved and interview relevant witnesses before memories of the accident fade.
Remember, building a strong slip and fall claim does not happen overnight. Your attorney needs time to properly investigate the accident to build the strongest case on your behalf.
8. What does it mean that the property owner was on notice in a Philadelphia slip and fall injury case?
To bring a valid Philadelphia slip and fall claim, you need to show that the property owner was aware (or at least should have been aware) of the dangerous condition that caused your injuries, and failed to correct it.
Proving this vital element in a slip and fall case can help establish the property owner’s negligence, which is why the law differentiates between actual and constructive notice:
- Actual notice: This means that the property owner was aware of the problem and decided not to do anything about it
- Constructive notice: This notice means that the property owner knew of the problem or should have known about the problem but failed to properly inspect the premises to verify.
Proving negligence, while important, is not alone enough to succeed in a slip and fall claim. You still need to show that your injuries resulted from the slip and fall, which occurred because of the property’s defect.
9. What types of damages can I collect in a Philadelphia slip and fall accident?
If you can prove that a slip and fall accident injured you, you may recover certain damages. In Philadelphia, potential damages in a slip and fall claim include economic, non-economic, and punitive damages.
Economic damages: These damages are verifiable losses that result because of an accident.
Economic damages are easy to quantify and include:
- Medical expenses, including past, current, and future medical costs (ambulance rides, emergency services, hospital stays, doctor visits, surgeries, and prescription medications)
- Lost wages, including past, current, and future lost wages from losing work because of the injury
- Lost earning capacity
- Personal property damage
- At-home nursing care
- Household replacement services
- Rehabilitative services, such as vocational and physical therapy
- Other out-of-pocket expenses
Non-economic damages: These damages refer to the intangible and general losses that a victim suffers from an accident.
Non-economic damages are not easily quantifiable and include:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life and activities
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of reputation
- Loss of a limb
Punitive damages: Unlike compensatory damages, which are designed to compensate victims for their damages, punitive damages arise when a defendant’s actions are so grossly negligent or egregious that the court wants to punish the defendant and deter future similar actions.
10. How will a slip and fall attorney help me determine if I have a valid Philadelphia slip and fall case?
One crucial aspect of slip and fall cases is that each case is unique and varies depending on the nature and extent of an individual’s injuries. As a result, it is complicated to develop specific guidelines for determining whether you have a valid slip and fall case.
Generally, if you slip and fall on someone’s property because of the property owner’s negligence, you may have a legal claim against that property owner for your injuries. However, you should consult with an experienced Philadelphia slip and fall accident attorney to know for sure. These lawyers can review your situation, go over the facts, and determine whether you have a viable claim.
If you or a loved one has sustained an injury in a Philadelphia slip and fall accident, do not wait any longer to determine your eligibility to pursue compensation. Contact an experienced and dedicated Philadelphia slip and fall lawyer at the Levin Firm today, and let our attorneys fight for justice and compensation on your behalf.