Our law firm handles thousands of premises liability injury cases each year. Premises liability cases, more commonly referred to as "Slip and Fall" cases, are one of the most common personal injury cases.
We all have accidents from time to time, but there's a difference between those caused by our carelessness and those caused by negligence on the property owner's part. Often, serious injuries cause victims to lose days or weeks of work or cost them significant sums in medical bills—all for an accident outside of their control.
If you've been injured in a public place, you may be able to take some legal recourse, but there are some things you need to know before contacting a Philadelphia premises liability lawyer and filing a claim.
From proving the liability to the process of filing a claim, don't miss out on learning everything you need to know about filing a settlement. Read further to get more information.
What Do I Need to File a Premises Liability or Slip and Fall Settlement?
While having an accident in a public place may seem embarrassing, the things you do in the wake of the incident are crucial. Here are some essential pieces of info to keep in mind after the accident while filing the claim:
Were You Unable to Stop the Accident from Occurring?
In many premises liability cases, the property owner may argue that the plaintiff is at fault for the accident. Because this is somewhat hard to prove, this type of blame-shifting is known as comparative negligence.
This means that your behavior may be at least a small part of the issue at hand in most cases. While filing your claim, you may be asked some basic questions that help determine whether your claim is reasonable.
Here are some examples:
- Was the site of the accident marked or easy to avoid?
- Were you talking on the phone or texting when you slipped?
- Where were you running or moving quickly through an area that requires more caution?
If you were careless at the time of your accident, it might be harder to prove negligence or liability on the property owner's part—but it doesn't mean they aren't at fault either.
You don't necessarily need to prove you were being careful at the time of the incident. Instead, you'll need to provide details that paint a clear picture of what happened and that you weren't blatantly being careless.
Proof of Negligence on the Part of the Property Owner
While it may be hard to prove that an incident caused by liquid on the floor or another obstacle is outright negligence or pure clumsiness, the more you can document, the better.
Take photos and record any interaction with the property owner or any staff that happen to be on site. If something seems out of the ordinary, it's a good idea to document the conditions in question.
-Report the Accident Right Away
The sooner you report your accident, the better. While still on the scene, you should tell the owner or manager what happened.
Suppose you require medical attention, such as getting picked up in an ambulance. In that case, the incident is likely going to be recorded on the part of the property owner, as well as the medical center where you were treated.
Decide Whether You Want to Hire a Lawyer
Hiring an attorney is helpful in any legitimate personal injury case, but some plaintiffs choose not to. The plaintiff may forgo an attorney if insurers want to settle right off the bat or if the settlement amount is less than $5,000 (the small claims court maximum). However, even if the case ends in an insurance settlement, it's good to have a lawyer on your side to help sort out all the logistics and provide a solid case against the defendant.
Do I Have a Premises Liability or Slip and Fall Claim?
Our Philadelphia slip and fall law firm often get calls from people who are injured in a fall, and they all want to know: Do I have a good premises liability / slip and fall case? and let's face it, most people have no idea whether or not they have a viable case. There are three main factors in answering this question. They are as follows:
- Duty and Breach – Did the defendant owe a duty of care to the injured person, and if they owed a responsibility to the person, was that duty breached. For example, a supermarket's obligation to its patrons is to ensure the aisles are clean and free from defects reasonably. Keeping sweep logs is one way a supermarket tries to ensure this duty is upheld, but careless employees often see a spill and leave it there until someone falls. This is a perfect example of a commitment and breach.
- Causation – Did the defendant's negligence cause the injuries that occurred? This factor is essential because even if there was a duty and breach, the damages complained of being causally related to the slip and fall. For example, if someone has a slip and fall accident in an icy non-shoveled parking lot, they fall severely, injuring their back. Still, nothing else – then they sue the defendant and allege injury to their knee that no doctor could causally relate to the fall. There is no causation.
- Damages – Are the injuries consistent with the accident? Again, this relates to the causation of the injury as stated in the paragraph above. The damages from the slip and fall need to be related to the accident. They cannot be something that was a pre-existing injury. If the slip and fall accident caused exacerbation of the pre-existing injury, then it would be part of the damages claimed. For example, if the person who fell had a pre-existing issue with a herniation in their back and the fall caused this to worsen, this would be included in damages claimed from the slip and fall.
Decide If You Want to Sue
Since many personal injury cases are settled before a trial takes place, you may find a lawsuit to be wholly unnecessary. However, you may file a slip and fall lawsuit if the defendant wants to pursue the issue further.
Should the defendant want to pursue the case further, you may wish to file a slip and fall lawsuit, which will help cover expenses for the injury, rehabilitation, and medical expenses.
We Help with Premises Liability and Slip and Fall Settlements
At KaplunMarx, we've got a team of experienced personal injury lawyers ready to take on your premises liability claim to help you get back on track.
We understand the physical, emotional, and financial tolls that serious injuries can cause victims. For that reason, KaplunMarx is on hand to help you investigate negligence and determine whether you've got grounds for a legal claim.
If you've suffered injuries in the wake of a fall, don't hesitate to call our office at 215-939-4895 to learn more about your rights after an accident.