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Slip & Fall Injury Lawyers

Central Pennsylvania Slip and Fall Claims

Attorneys Representing Clients in Lancaster, PA & York, PA

Whether you’re running errands, or going to the theater you expect that the property you’re visiting is safely constructed and well maintained. Property owners have a responsibility to keep their premises in a reasonably safe condition. Unfortunately, not all of them put the time and money into keeping a property safe. When they don’t and you’re injured on their property, you may be able to file a personal injury claim for your damages. It doesn’t matter if you slipped on a wet floor at the store or if you fell as a result of an unsafe structure, you should not be the one held responsible for an accident you could have never seen coming. The slip and fall lawyers at Hagelgans and Veronis know premises liability cases like the back of our hands. We’ll take on the property owner and their insurance company, and see that you don’t have to lift a finger or take on the burden of litigation on your own.

Types of Slip and Fall Injuries

Falling, by its very nature, is unpredictable. You could fall the same way several times and still get a different result each time. A fall could end with you breaking multiple bones or suffering bruising, cuts, and scrapes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in every five falls will result in a broken bone or head injury and are the most common cause behind traumatic brain injuries. It’s important to know what could happen to you if you slip and fall. Some of the most common injuries that can occur from a slip or fall include:

Commercial vs. Residential Slip and Fall Cases

How a slip and fall case unfolds will be based on whether the property was commercial or residential. Each of these scenarios carries different stipulations for the landlord or property owner in terms of what they are responsible to maintain and what they can be held liable for. For the landlord or owner to be at fault in a residential slip and fall case, you, as the victim, must be able to demonstrate that:
  1. The landlord controlled the conditions that were ultimately the cause of the fall
  2. Preventing the fall would have been possible through repairs that are considered inexpensive
  3. An injury was an obvious consequence of failing to perform the repairs
  4. The landlord’s inability or unwillingness to fix or repair the problem caused the accident
Commercial cases are a bit different, in that there are a number of people who could be considered responsible for the accident: the property owner, property manager, company/corporation, or even an individual employee of the company. For any of these parties to be considered liable for a commercial slip and fall, one of the following must be true:
  1. They must have been the cause of the initial spill, obstruction, or dangerous area
  2. They must have been aware of the danger but neglected to do anything about it
  3. They should have known about the potential for danger and done something about it, as any “reasonable” person would have.

Establishing Negligence

The first step in building a viable slip and fall case involves establishing negligence. Negligence occurs when someone failed to use reasonable care, resulting in damage or injury to someone else. Specifically, the plaintiff must prove that a duty was owed and that someone failed to meet that duty. However, there are different types of land entrants, and depending on the classification of the plaintiff, the duty owed to him or her differs significantly. For example, the duty of care owed to a trespasser, or a person who enters or remains upon the property without the landowner’s consent, is very low.

Proving Negligence

The second step toward filing a viable slip and fall case is much harder than the first. Proving negligence is challenging because sometimes there are no witnesses or surveillance, so there may be a dispute over what actually caused the accident. According to Pennsylvania law, the plaintiff must prove one of three things to prove negligence in a slip and fall case:
  • The property owner or person in charge of the property caused the dangerous condition that resulted in damage or injury to another person.
  • The property owner or person in charge of the property knew about the dangerous condition and failed to correct it.
  • The property owner or person in charge of the property should have known of the dangerous condition. This standard is based on what a “reasonable” person in a similar situation would have

Comparative Negligence

The next step involves examining the plaintiff’s role in the accident; specifically, did he or she contribute to the fall in any way? Pennsylvania follows the comparative negligence doctrine, which reduces compensation by an amount equal to the percentage of fault attributed to the plaintiff. Here’s an example: if you’re awarded $10,000 in damages, but you’re found to be 20 percent at fault for the accident, your compensation is reduced by $2,000. Your awarded damages would now total $8,000.

Proving Fault: Carelessness Or Negligence

Many times, the insurer of the company or individual who owns the property will try to shift the blame onto you. They will likely claim that it was your carelessness or inattention that caused the accident, in an attempt to get off without having to compensate you. Having an experienced slip and fall lawyer on your side an ensure that your interests are being well represented and prevent the owner from succeeding in denying their responsibility. The landlord or property owner doesn’t want to help you. In some cases, they’ll even correct the dangerous area or condition after your accident, in order to make it difficult for you to prove what really happened or collect evidence. That’s why, in the event of a slip and fall accident, the best way you can protect yourself and your rights is by documenting the accident in detail immediately after it occurs:
  • Take pictures of the dangerous area, including the floor, ceiling, and any furniture or equipment in the area.
  • Speak to anyone who witnessed your fall, collect their information and ask if they’d be willing to testify on your behalf in a court of law.
  • Save any evidence you have. Do not wash or do anything to the shoes and clothing you wore when the fall occurred, they may contain residue from the substance that caused the fall or small pieces of debris that were in the area.
  • Photograph your injuries right away and in the following days. Document bruises, cuts, or breaks that occurred initially and take a picture of them each day as a means of tracking the healing process and any scarring that develops.

Speak to a Slip And Fall Attorney

As with any premises liability case, the key to success is to contact a qualified lawyer ASAP. Not only can a seasoned injury attorney help you with investigating the accident and collecting evidence, they can take the stress of a law suit off your shoulders. Our clients can vouch for our compassion and kindness, as well as our dedication to fighting for your rights. Winning a premises liability case that resulted in a slip and fall injury is not easy. The party at fault is likely to be prepared for a situation like this, and they and their lawyers will try every trick in the book to get off scot-free. This is not a situation you should handle on your own.

Call the slip and fall lawyers at Hagelgans and Veronis at (717) 295-7009 for a free consultation.

We’ll explain your rights based on the circumstances and evaluate what kind of damages you may be entitled to.

Speak Directly with Our Attorneys

From the initial free consultation, your case will be handled by an experienced injury attorney, not a paralegal or legal secretary.

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