Each year, more than 9 million Americans are treated in emergency rooms for fall-related injuries, according to the National Safety Council. Not all slip and fall accidents cause injury to the victim, but when they do, fractures are the most common type of injury associated with these accidents.
According to the National Floor Safety Institute, about 50 percent of all accidental deaths in the home are caused by falls. Contrary to popular belief, the “slip-and-faller” is not always to blame for the accident. Many victims of such accidents think to themselves, “I should have been more careful!” when, in fact, their accident occurred due to someone else’s fault.
These people miss their opportunity to seek compensation for their slip and fall injuries. Pennsylvania’s premises liability law allows victims of slip and fall accidents to recover damages from the owner or occupier of the property who failed to prevent that accident by not fulfilling his or her legal obligations and failing to ensure a safe environment for the visitors.
Slips and falls might be funny on TV or in a comedy skit, but they are certainly no joke if you have been the victim of a serious fall, especially when that slip or fall could have been easily prevented. Many types of serious injuries result from slip and fall accidents, including acute back pain, paralysis, spinal cord damage, head injuries, broken bones, or dislocated joints.
If you have suffered a slip or fall injury while at work, you may be eligible for workers compensation or be able to file a third-party claim.
Common Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents
Since Pittsburghers endure fairly long winters, it is common for people to neglect to properly remove snow and ice from their sidewalks. In addition, uneven sidewalks may also be to blame for a trip or fall accident. In the old suburban streets of Pittsburgh, where trees roots can spread and raise the pavement, dangerous sidewalk accidents are a very common problem.
A slip or fall accident may also be the result of other unsafe property conditions, such as broken railings or steps, insufficient lighting, or dangerous decks.
Other Types of Premises Liability Slip and Fall Accidents May Include:
- Uneven walking areas
- Poorly lit areas
- Icy entrances or walking areas
- Pothole trips and falls
- Wet surfaces
- Cords of electrical wire trips and falls
- Cracked pavement
Whether you have been injured on personal property or commercial property (supermarkets, hotels, parking lots, office buildings, restaurants, shopping malls, small businesses, venues, etc.) our premises liability attorneys are here to answer your questions and provide a free case evaluation. We can also help if you have been injured due to a slip or fall at work.
Serious Injuries Caused by Slip and Fall Accidents
It goes without saying that some of the most serious injuries can be caused by a slip and fall accident. It doesn’t matter what caused the accident to occur. If you or a loved one suffers a slip and fall, the injuries could turn out to be serious. The following is a list of the most common serious injuries caused by slip and fall accidents:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
The above list is not exhaustive, however, it features the most common serious injuries caused by slip and fall accidents. These injuries cause victims to miss extended time at work, undergo surgery, and endure grueling physical therapy or rehabilitation.
When Can You Sue for Your Slip and Fall Injury?
Each year, the total medical costs to treat slip and fall injuries in the United States reach roughly $50 billion, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Our legal experts from SMT Legal have previously discussed the importance of raising awareness of slips and falls in our blog.
But is everyone who slips and falls on another person’s property entitled to compensation? Far from it. Although it might be difficult to determine whether or not a property owner can be held responsible for your slip and fall accident without looking into the details of your particular case, much depends on whether the property owner breached his or her duty of care and whether the victim was careless in not seeing or avoiding the hazardous condition.
More often than not, a property owner can be held accountable for a slip and fall injury if any of the following elements is true:
- The owner or occupier of the property created the dangerous condition
- The owner or occupier knew or should have known about the dangerous condition but failed to correct it
- The dangerous condition existed on the property for such an unreasonably long time that the owner or occupier should have discovered and corrected it.
How Long After a Slip and Fall Accident Can You Sue?
In many premises liability lawsuits, the defendant – the owner or occupier of the property where the accident occurred – will attempt to escape liability by claiming that the slip and fall was the victim’s fault because he or she was reasonably expected to avoid the accident. In our blog, a Pittsburgh slip and fall attorney from SMT Legal has previously covered the matter of the victim’s fault in a slip and fall accident.
But the property owner trying to put the blame on you is not the only difficulty that you may encounter in the course of your slip and fall case. There is a specific time limit for bringing premises liability claims in Pennsylvania. In our state, the statute of limitations for slip and fall accidents is two years.
While two years may seem like plenty of time, the sooner you file a claim, the more likely you are to succeed during settlement talks. Let’s be honest, the option of going to court can be a valuable bargaining chip during any settlement talks.
Proving Fault In Slip & Fall Accidents
In certain cases, it may be unclear as to who is responsible for maintaining a property and therefore who is at fault for your accident. For instance, if a sidewalk is not cleared of ice or snow and it is personal property, it is the property owner’s responsibility. However, if the property is a commercial property or business, it may be the responsibility of the municipality or business to clear the sidewalk.
An injury from a slip or fall accident does not necessarily mean the property owner or business is to blame. First, the property has to be proven to be unreasonably safe. And in order to prove fault, the plaintiff must prove that the property owner knew of the unsafe condition or should have reasonably known.
Taking pictures immediately of the unsafe area is a top priority in being able to prove the area was unsafe.
What Do You Need To Prove To Win a Slip and Fall Accident Claim?
An experienced slip and fall lawyer in Pittsburgh will help you find evidence to prove that you are entitled to compensation under the legal theory of premises liability:
- The property owner’s actions or omission to act created the dangerous condition
- The property owner knew or should have known about the dangerous condition but failed to correct it in a timely manner
- Any other reasonable person would have removed or repaired the dangerous condition upon discovery
- There was no legitimate reason for the hazard to exist
- The property could have been made safer to avoid the accident
- The victim was not warned about the dangerous condition
- The victim, like any other reasonable person in that situation, could not have anticipated the hazardThe property owner failed to inspect and maintain the area properly
- There were factors, like a lack of lighting, slippery floor, a lack of warning signs, and other factors that contributed to the accident.
Do keep in mind that not every slip and fall accident entitles you to pursue compensation by bringing a premises liability claim against the property owner or possessor. In fact, as we have previously discussed in our blog, some people are more at risk of slip and fall injuries than others.
What Type of Compensation Can I Receive for a Slip and Fall Injury?
Suffering an injury because of a negligent party can change your life in an instant. You might not be able to work for months on end, which means providing for your family will be challenging. If you are permanently disabled, you will need money to pay the bills, put food on the table, and ensure that your children have clothes to wear. The days and months following an injury from a slip and fall accident are stressful.
However, you can obtain compensation for your injuries caused by the negligence of another party. It is impossible to assign a dollar amount to any slip and fall case because each one has different factors that impact the outcome. You can receive compensation with the help of a Pittsburgh slip and fall attorney for the following:
- Present and future medical bills
- Loss of earning capacity
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Incidental expenses
Pittsburgh Slip and Fall Attorneys
If you have suffered an injury in an accident caused by someone other than yourself, it is in your best interest to consult a Pittsburgh slip and fall lawyer. An attorney will be able to explain the law, what is needed to win a potential claim, and investigate the incident that left you injured. Attorneys truly care for their clients and their ability to win compensation for their injuries. Do not let the negligent party get away with failing to maintain their property. Missing work for any amount of time can be devastating to your family. It doesn’t matter if you are a one or two-income household. Let the SMT Legal assist you with a slip and fall accident claim in Pittsburgh today. Contact us today.