Philadelphia Workplace Slip and Fall Accident Lawyer
Construction sites can be very dangerous places; slip and fall accidents are common injuries on construction sites. The lawyers at the Philadelphia, PA law firm of The Levin Firm understand that construction site accidents have the potential to result in very serious head injuries, neck injuries, back injuries or even death. Our Philadelphia slip and fall attorneys know that most construction site slip and fall accidents could be prevented by the imposition of safety measures and practices. You have a right to recover for all your injuries against the parties that did not take appropriate measures to ensure your safety.
There are a number of hazards that make construction sites particularly prone to falls. Workers are often required to work many stories above the ground on thin boards or scaffolding with no protection from falling over the edge. Deep holes may be left uncovered and without warning signs nearby. The conditions which lead to construction site slip and falls often could have and should have, been prevented. You can recover for your injuries against any party who was responsible for inspecting the premises and correcting any dangers, but who failed to do so.
What Kind Of Compensation Can I Receive?
The purpose of the civil law system is to make you “whole”—that is, to return you to the position you would be in had you never suffered your injury. With respect to a slip and fall, you can receive money to compensate you for out-of-pocket expenses related to your injuries as well as for non-economic harms. Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to receive the following:
- Medical expenses, including the cost of doctor’s treatment, hospital stays, prescription drugs, and anything necessary to your physical health, such as a wheelchair or crutches.
- Future medical expenses, if you need medical care into the future.
- Rehabilitation costs.
- Therapy expenses, if you need counseling to help you recover emotionally from your fall.
- Lost wages while you are recovering from your injury.
- Lost future wages, if you are not able to return to the same job.
- Pain and suffering. Money is probably a poor substitute for living a pain free life, but it is the best that the legal system can offer.
- Loss of consortium. This refers to negative changes to your relationship with your spouse, who can bring a lawsuit and receive compensation for the loss of intimacy, care, and guidance.
Not every injured victim will qualify for all of these damages. And the amount you qualify for will ultimately depend on the severity of the injury, with more severe injuries (like paralysis or serious disfigurement) qualifying for a higher payout. However, only a personal injury attorney can evaluate your case and identify what compensation is available, so don’t assume your injuries are to minor to warrant a lawsuit. Instead, schedule a consultation with a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.
It is important to contact an attorney right away if you have slipped or tripped on the job. Your employer might quickly fix the hazard or put up warning signs after you are injured in an attempt to look like they weren’t negligent. Our team at The Levin Firm will collect evidence as soon as possible, so don’t delay reaching out to us.
The nature of a construction site is that it is constantly changing, and it is important that the site is investigated, observed and photographed in the same condition that it was in when you were injured. Property owners may try to fix the dangerous condition or cover it up, or it may be eliminated on its own as part of the original construction plans. That’s why you need an attorney who will work quickly and efficiently to ensure that you have the strongest case possible so that you can fully recover for your injuries.
You can also begin collecting evidence that will help your case. For example, you should sit down immediately and write down what you remember about the accident. Consider the following:
- Did anyone warn you of the hazard? For example, were signs put up telling you to avoid certain areas or to watch out for dangers?
- Did you see the hazard before you slipped and fell or were you completely surprised?
- Did anyone warn you verbally about the dangers on the jobsite? If so, who was it?
- Did a coworker slip and fall or become otherwise injured on the jobsite? Identify them and describe their injury as best you can.
- Did anyone witness you slip and fall?
- Did your boss say anything after you fell, such as, “We really should have kept people out of that area” or anything else that admits guilt?
In addition to your own memories, you’ll also need to hold onto all correspondence from you and management. Keep copies of all letters, emails, phone messages, and text messages since they might contain helpful information.
Documenting Your Medical Treatment
As explained above, you can receive compensation to pay for your medical bills, but you’ll need to establish how much you have paid out of pocket. Keep all hospital bills, doctor bills, and bills from your insurer, as well as any receipts for drugs or medical equipment that you buy. Because you might be in a lot of pain immediately after the injury, it’s okay to just throw everything into a big folder or desk drawer. When you are feeling better, you can put the paperwork in some kind of order or even scan the documents so that you have a digital copy.
If you are in pain, carefully document it as carefully as possible. Hold onto all prescription drug bottles and keep a daily log in which you identify how much pain you are feeling that day. Note any activities that you can no longer do because of your pain (such as throw a baseball with your daughter or visit your parents). Also, carefully document whether your pain interferes with your sleep schedule and how it impacts your mood.
Representing clients who were injured in construction site accidents requires a team of aggressive investigators and lawyers all devoting their maximum effort to their clients. At The Levin Firm, our Pennsylvania and New Jersey personal injury attorneys work together with a team of investigators and support staff to investigate every claim so that we may aggressively and zealously represent our clients and obtain the best possible results.
The Workers’ Compensation Exception
Unfortunately, not every worker can sue for workplace injuries, especially when they are employees who are injured on the job. Pennsylvania has adopted a workers’ compensation scheme that requires employers to purchase no-fault workers’ compensation insurance to cover injured employees.
The benefit of this system is that you don’t need to prove that your employer was at fault for your injuries. In return, you get quick benefits that will pay all necessary medical care and can provide a partial replacement of your lost wages.
However, there is a drawback to workers’ compensation benefits: you give up your right to sue your employer. As a result, not every employee who slips and falls on the job can sue—regardless of how injured they are. In fact, workers’ compensation benefits are fairly skimpy, so you might be struggling to replace lost income and provide for your family while you recover.
At The Levin Firm, our lawyers will carefully review the circumstances surrounding the accident to identify whether you can bring an lawsuit and against whom. For example, you might be able to sue in the following situations:
- You are an independent contractor
- A third party is responsible for the fall, including vendors, customers, or property owners
- You were injured by a defective product
In these situations, you might be able to sue them for additional compensation above and beyond what you get in workers’ compensation benefits, including damages for pain and suffering.
Philadelphia Slip and Fall FAQ
Slip and fall accidents are the most common injury-causing events outside of traffic accidents. Sometimes, falling simply means getting up, brushing yourself off, and going about your day. Unfortunately, other times slip and fall accidents lead to severe and costly injuries that devastate victims and their families.
We have years of experience representing clients who have suffered slip and fall accidents on someone else’s property. Below we answer some frequently asked questions we get from clients and potential clients about fall injuries. If you suffered injuries in a Philadelphia slip and fall accident, consult with an experienced slip and fall lawyer at the Levin Firm as soon as possible to discuss the specific questions you have about your legal rights.
What are slip and fall accidents?
So-called slip and fall accidents encompass a broad range of incidents in which a person suffers severe injuries in an unintentional, preventable fall. Despite their name, slip and falls include falls with any number of causes, including slips, trips, stumbles, and missteps. Slip and falls are especially dangerous for elderly adults, as they constitute a leading cause of hip fractures in that population.
Slip and fall accidents can happen anywhere; in private residences, at hotels, at restaurants, on a sidewalk or a train platform… anywhere. Unlike an ordinary fall, an incident lawyers would call a slip and fall results from someone else’s careless, reckless, or intentionally harmful actions that created a dangerous condition leading to the fall. Examples of negligent actions that may lead to a slip and fall include a property owner’s failure to clear snow and ice from a sidewalk or stoop, leaving spills on the floor instead of mopping them up, and not tending to cracked or uneven flooring.
Is a property owner automatically liable if I suffered injuries from a slip and fall?
No. Under Pennsylvania law, property owners have the legal obligation to maintain a safe environment for people who visit their premises. Maintaining safety usually means owners must warn visitors of any known dangers on a property, and must make reasonable efforts to eliminate or fix any hazards that exist. Failure to take these reasonable steps can make the property owner legally liable for any injury a visitor suffers after falling because of a hazard.
In other words, a property owner is not automatically liable to you if you get hurt in a fall. However, the owner faces potential liability if you fell because of a dangerous condition on the property the owner should have fixed and/or warned you about.
How much time do I have to take legal action after a slip and fall accident?
In most cases, you have two years to bring a lawsuit against the property owner or occupant responsible for injuries. Pennsylvania law has a two-year statute of limitations for personal injury cases, as well as wrongful death claims if you lost a loved one from a slip and fall injury.
The two year statute of limitations sets an outside time limit on taking legal action. It does not, however, mean you should wait two years before contacting a lawyer. The sooner you retain an experienced Philadelphia slip and fall lawyer to represent you, the better your chances of recovering the money you need and deserve for the harm done to you.
What is premises liability and what does it have to do with my slip and fall?
Premises liability is a legal term that refers to the area of law that deals with personal injuries that occur as a result of a hazard or dangerous condition on a person’s property. Courts evaluate slip and fall accidents as premises liability claims, because they have to do with whether the owner or occupant of a premises has legal liability for an injury someone sustained there. Property owners have a duty to maintain safe premises, and when they fail to do so, they face liability for harm that comes to visitors as a result.
I got injured in a fall at work. Now what?
If you suffered injuries in a slip and fall at your place of employment, chances are your first course of action to receive compensation will involve filing a workers’ compensation claim with your employer’s workers’ comp insurance carrier. Most employers in Pennsylvania carry workers’ compensation to protect their employees against the costs of workplace injuries and illnesses.
If the workers’ comp carrier approves your claim, then you may receive benefits that pay for your medical expenses and a portion of your lost wages.
Generally speaking, you cannot sue your employer for damages if you are covered by workers’ comp. You may have the right to take legal action against other parties whose actions contributed to you falling, however. Speak with an experienced Philadelphia slip and fall lawyer as soon a possible after suffering injuries in a fall at work to – even before you have filed a workers’ comp claim, if possible – to learn about your rights.
Who pays my medical bills from a slip and fall injury?
If your slip and fall accident did not happen at work, then you are responsible for your medical treatment costs after a slip and fall injury, at least initially. If you carry health insurance, then it will likely cover some of your medical costs, subject to co-pays, deductibles, and policy limits, of course. However, health insurance rarely covers all of the costs of a slip and fall.
Fortunately, you may also have the right to take legal action against the property owner or occupant whose failure to fix or warn you about a dangerous condition on the property where you fell led to your injury. The owner/occupant may carry insurance that covers against your claim, or may have assets to pay you damages directly. To investigate whether you have a claim and, if so, how much money you might get from it, speak with an experienced Philadelphia slip and fall lawyer today.
What types of compensation can I receive after a slip and fall?
You may have the right to receive compensation for economic and non-economic losses related to your slip and fall accident and injuries.
Economic losses include medical expenses, estimated future medical expenses, lost wages, estimated future lost wages, rehabilitation expenses, and costs for assistive devices such as wheelchairs, canes, and walkers.
Non-economic losses include compensation for pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of consortium, reduced quality of life, and others that apply to your case. In rare cases of intentional harm or gross negligence, courts sometimes award punitive damages to the plaintiff as a way to punish the defendant.
There is no guarantee that you will recover compensation in a lawsuit, nor can a lawyer predict how much money you might obtain. However, the most reliable way to give yourself the best possible chance of recovering every dollar you deserve is to speak with a skilled Philadelphia slip and fall attorney right away after suffering your injury.
Do I need a lawyer?
As a practical matter, yes, you do. Technically, a person can try to do without a lawyer, but that is always a terrible idea. Hiring an attorney to represent you after a slip and fall accident is the only reliable way to obtain the full compensation you deserve. Otherwise, insurance companies string injured victims along, deny claims, and make unreasonably low settlement offers.
An attorney protects you from these tactics, investigates your claim, builds the strongest possible case, negotiates with insurance companies and defense lawyers on your behalf, and takes your case to court when necessary. Do not make the mistake of thinking you can handle those tasks on your own. You cannot, and trying will cost you time and money that you cannot afford to lose.
How much money is my slip and fall claim worth?
It depends. We have represented clients whose claims total a few thousand dollars, and others whose claims reach into the millions. Each case has underlying facts and circumstances that increase or decrease their potential value.
One of a slip-and-fall attorney’s most important jobs is to investigate your claim to calculate the full amount of money you should receive as compensation. Although some exceptions exist, as a general matter the more severe an injury, the higher the value of a claim, because severe injuries result in higher medical costs, more lost wages, and amplified pain and suffering.
Other factors that can increase the value of a slip and fall claim is whether an injury causes a permanent condition or disability. Those who can no longer work because of a disability miss out on a lifetime of wages, greatly increasing the value of a case.
Finally, keep in mind that the amount of money you have the right to recover can differ from the amount you have the practical ability to recover. The funds to pay damages typically come from the at-fault party’s insurance coverage and/or that party’s personal or business assets. A claim against a party with a high-limit insurance policy will tend to result in more money than the same claim against a party that carries the bare minimum insurance coverage.
That is why experienced slip and fall lawyers work so hard to identify and pursue all parties with potential legal liability for your injuries, so that you have the best possible chances of recovering the compensation you need and deserve.
How long will it take to resolve my slip and fall claim?
Insurance companies and defendants have no desire to pay a claim, let alone a large one. They may fight every step of the way before paying you what you deserve. For that reason, the timeline for a Philadelphia slip and fall claim can vary. Some resolve in a matter of months. Others can take more than a year. In other words, you have no time to waste getting started. Call an experienced Philadelphia slip and fall attorney immediately after suffering an injury, so that you can get the money you deserve in the shortest time frame possible.
I slipped and fell outside my apartment. Is my landlord liable?
Possibly, especially if your landlord had obligations to clear the area where you fell. Speak with an experienced Philadelphia slip and fall attorney to find out the scope of your rights against a landlord for failing to correct any unsafe property condition.
I slipped and fell when trespassing. Can I sue the property owner?
Maybe. Talk to a Philadelphia slip and fall attorney right away. In Pennsylvania and most other states, property owners have limited legal obligations to keep trespassers safe from harm. Still, they cannot harm you intentionally in many cases. Also, the law protects child trespassers. If your child suffers injuries when trespassing, you may have the right to seek substantial compensation for damages depending on the situation.
Can I hold the city of Philadelphia liable for a slip and fall accident on a sidewalk?
Possibly, but it will take the skills of a knowledgeable Philadelphia slip and fall lawyer to get you the compensation you deserve. Making a legal claim against the City of Philadelphia often requires clearing strict procedural hurdles, and the window of opportunity for taking action may stay open for as little as six months after your injury. Do not wait to seek the advice of an attorney.
What should I do after a slip and fall accident?
Make your health and well-being your number one priority. In other words, seek immediate medical treatment even if you feel okay. Some injuries don’t show symptoms for hours or days after a slip and fall incident.
Also, make sure you report the accident to the property owner or occupant as soon as possible, and document everything you can. If you are physically able, use your cell phone to take photos of the hazard that led to your slip and fall accident, and get the names and contact information for any witnesses to your fall. When notifying the owner/occupant of your fall, stick to the facts only. Do not demand or accept compensation, and do not say anything that suggests you share some of the blame.
Then, contact our experienced Philadelphia slip and fall attorneys as soon as possible for a free consultation to learn about your rights to compensation.
Contact A Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Personal Injury Lawyer Today
When you need a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania or New Jersey personal injury attorney to represent you, a family member or friend who has been in a construction site slip and fall, contact The Levin Firm, who represent every client zealously in order to obtain the best results possible in each case. Our attorneys are experienced at helping injured workers get the compensation they deserve, whether through the workers’ compensation system or through third-party lawsuits. Contact us for a free initial consultation by calling 215-825-5183 or filling out our online contact form.