Pennsylvania Slip & Fall Attorneys
If You’ve Been Injured in a Slip & Fall Accident in Philadelphia or the Surrounding Counties, Let Us Help You Seek Justice.
Slip and fall accidents can happen anywhere and at any time. Often, slip and fall accidents lead to serious injuries. You may be severely injured and left with long-term pain or disability. You may be unable to work while costly medical bills add up and you face significant financial trouble. A slip and fall accident can be a real-life nightmare.
Slips and falls happen often.
- Falls account for more than eight million visits to emergency rooms every year. This is the leading cause of emergency department visits at 21.3 percent.
- Specifically, slip and fall accidents led to over one million of those visits.
- Slip and fall accidents contributed to over 42,000 deaths in 2020.1
- The most common injuries sustained in slip and fall accidents are bone fractures, affecting up to five percent of all fall victims every year.
- Falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries.
1 Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
2 Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry.
Falls Can be Serious.
Falls can be deadly in the workplace. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2020, 4,764 U.S. workers suffered fatal injuries. Of the deaths, 805 resulted from falls.2
- Nationally, over 20% of falls result in serious injuries;3
- Over 800,000 patients each year are hospitalized because of fall injuries;4
- Slips and falls lead the list of causes of workers’ compensation claims;5
- Slips and falls constitute the main cause of lost days from work;6
1 Source: CDC.
2 Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics.
3,4,5,6 Source: National Floor Safety Institute.
Slipping and falling on someone’s property.
Many slips and falls happen in your own home, but when they occur on someone else’s property and you are injured, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Slips and falls can occur virtually anywhere, including the following:
- Grocery stores;
- Retail stores;
- Parking lots;
- Concert venues;
- Apartment complexes; or
- Government buildings.
Causes of slips & falls.
What are common causes of slips and falls?
- Icy or snow-covered surfaces;
- Uneven surfaces or floors;
- Rolled-up or improperly installed mats;
- Inadequate lighting;
- Defective or non-existent railings;
- Holes in the grass or ground;
- Water or a slippery substance on the floor;
- Food or other objects on the floor;
- Broken, defective, or unmarked steps; or
- Cables on the floor.
Common Slip & Fall Injuries.
Slip and fall accidents often result in injuries. Depending on the nature of your accident, different types of injuries can result. These injuries can range from mild to severe. Here are some of the most common types of injuries:
- Cuts and abrasions: A fall, depending on what one falls onto or into, can lead to minor or severe cuts or abrasions requiring, at a minimum, an adhesive bandage, to, at a maximum, stitches or plastic surgery to repair.
- Soft tissue injuries: Sprains, strains, and contusions can result from the sudden blow to soft tissue in a fall. This can result, in the worst cases, in permanent damage or limited range of motion.
- Broken bones: Slips and falls can result in broken hips, especially in older individuals. Other fractures may include the pelvis, arm, leg, ankle, or hand.
- Head injuries: An injury to the brain as the result of a slip and fall may be a bump, bruise, or minor concussion. A severe traumatic brain injury can impact your brain function or cause seizures.
- Back injuries: A fall can result in broken vertebrae, muscles strains, or compressed or bulging discs. A severe back injury can result in damage to the spinal cord leading to partial or complete paralysis.
- Shoulder or neck injuries: A person can fall on his or her neck, resulting in a strain or even paralysis. A person landing on his or her shoulder can break his or her collarbone, tear nerves or dislocate his or her shoulder.
Steps to Take After a Slip & Fall.
What you do following a slip and fall may help or hurt your chances of receiving compensation for your injuries:
- GET MEDICAL ATTENTION. If your injuries are serious, call 911. Make an appointment with a doctor if you experience any pain or other symptoms after the accident. You may not experience symptoms from some injuries, like traumatic brain injuries, until a few days after the accident.
- REPORT THE ACCIDENT. Inform the person in charge of the premises, for example, the store manager, of your injury. If they are unavailable or unwilling to speak to you, contact the police.
- GET DOCUMENTATION. Immediately after the accident occurred may be the only time you can get pictures of the scene as it was at the time of the incident; the scene will be cleared or repaired almost immediately after your fall. Take pictures and collect contact information. Snap a picture of a slippery floor or whatever caused your fall. If someone saw you fall, get his or her name and phone number.
- CONTACT A LAWYER. A slip and fall lawyer can investigate your case and negotiate a settlement for compensation for your injuries or, if necessary, prepare your case for a trial.
The typical medical expense of a slip and fall accident is $30,000 to $40,000.7 These cost Americans a combined total of more than $50 billion per year8. Those bills can be devastating for anyone, especially when you are also missing work due to your injuries.
7 Source: CDC.
8 Source: HUB.
To file a claim for injuries sustained in a slip and fall accident, plaintiffs need to adhere to Pennsylvania’s Statute of Limitations. In Pennsylvania the Statute of Limitations is two (2) years from the date of the injury.9 However, the Statute of Limitations for claimants under the age of eighteen (18) does not begin until the individual’s eighteenth (18th) birthday.10 The time to file a notice of a case involving a public or government entity is only six (6) months from the date of the injury.11 Because an injured person with a legal right to file a claim could lose that right if they do not act quickly, it is important to contact a lawyer that specializes in personal injury cases as soon as possible.
If you fall on business property, such as a store, you can recover compensation for your medical expenses, your lost wages, and your pain and suffering. If you were not injured, but suffered property damage by virtue of the fall, you may be able to recover for that damage.
If you fall at work, you cannot sue your employer. Your employer must pay your medical expenses, but you cannot recover for your pain and suffering. If you suffer injuries in a slip and fall at work, you do not have to show fault on the part of your employer. You must show that the slip and fall arose out of and in the scope of your employment. Your fault does not affect your right to compensation or the amount you can recover. You can also file a workers’ compensation claim for indemnity benefits.
In Pennsylvania, for 2022, the maximum workers’ compensation award is either (a) $1,205.00 or 66 2/3% if the claimant’s weekly wage is between $903.76 and $1,807.50, (b) $602.50 if the claimant’s weekly wage is between $669.44 and $903.75, and (c) 90%of the claimant’s weekly wage if it is less than $669.43.12
9 42 Pa. C.S. §5524.
10 42 Pa. C.S. §5554.
11 42 Pa. C.S. §5522.
12 Workers’ Compensation Act.
Elements of a Slip & Fall Case.
The business owner or operator, their insurance company, and their lawyers will not make obtaining damages easy. They may even claim that you were the negligent one. This is why you need an experienced attorney on your side. The team at Petrillo & Goldberg Law can help you get the most successful outcome possible by demonstrating that you were not responsible for your injuries.
In order to prove liability in a slip and fall accident, there must be established negligence on the part of the business or property owner where the incident occurred. This can be difficult to prove in a fall. As the injured party, you must demonstrate how the property owner negligently allowed a dangerous condition to exist which then led to your fall.
Generally speaking, to prove a slip and fall case in Pennsylvania, you must show the following:
- Someone that is not you – the property owner or occupant – had a duty to protect your safety and they failed to do so. This will depend in part on whether you are considered an invitee, licensee, or trespasser.
- You were not careless, but, if you were, your carelessness was not more than 51% responsible for the accident and your injuries.
Limitations on Damages.
Due to Pennsylvania’s comparative negligence law, you cannot recover compensation if your conduct caused over 51% of the accident. If you are 50% or less at fault, it reduces the amount of your recovery. This means that person you are claiming is responsible for your injuries will try to argue that you are more than 51% responsible. Potential allegations are:
- You were not paying attention to where you were walking (e.g., distracted by something);
- You were on your phone or texting at the time of the incident;
- Reasonable precautions (e.g., signage, cones, caution tape) were taken to protect visitors from any dangerous conditions;
- You were in a part of the store where customers are not allowed or supposed to be;
- The dangerous condition on the property should have been obvious to you;
- Your shoes were inappropriate for the conditions; and
- You were trespassing on the property.
In addition to comparative negligence, there are limitations on recoveries against the Commonwealth when it owns the property upon which a slip and fall accident occurs.13 Special rules apply when the government owns the property where the slip and fall occurs. Examples include slips and falls at a public school or at a public park. An experienced slip and fall lawyer can walk you through the process of recovering against a governmental entity, like a school district or a city.
I have dealt with other law firms, and there is no comparison. It is an honor to know you and, I must say, that I have the highest regard for your integrity.
13 42 Pa. C.S. §8528.
Types of Damages
An attorney can look at all the details of your slip-and-fall accident claim and determine who bears liability – or if you have a claim in which more than one party shares liability for the accident, which could further increase the compensation you can recover.
No two accidents are the same, nor are the way that injuries impact victims. If you are injured, depending on the type of injury(ies) that are incurred, you may have the right to claim both “economic” and “non-economic” damages.
Economic damages are those that are quantifiable — a dollar figure can be specifically determined – like the following:
- lost income;
- reduced earning ability;
- medical costs (current and future);
- transportation for medical appointments or treatment;
- medical devices or prescription drugs;
- modifications to a claimant’s home for accessibility reasons;
- out-of-pocket costs; and
- home health aides.
Non-economic damages are those that are not, per se, quantifiable. There are four items that make up a damage award for past and future non-economic loss:
- pain and suffering;
- embarrassment and humiliation;
- loss of ability to enjoy the pleasures of life; and
14 231 Pa. Code § 223.3.
By their very nature, non-economic damages are subjective. No two accidents are identical, and even similar accidents can result in the accident victims’ experiencing very different injuries and damages. When it comes to establishing both economic and non-economic damages, an accident victim’s physical injuries are only the starting point. It is crucial that an accident victim is able to have their story heard so the judge or jury can fully understand the impact that the accident had on their life. Thus, it is of the utmost importance to speak with qualified and experienced Pennsylvania slip & fall attorneys like Petrillo & Goldberg.
We welcome the special challenges of slip & fall cases and will work diligently to recover all available damages on your behalf. We are here to help slip and fall injury victims obtain the compensation they deserve. We are available for a free consultation by telephone at 215-486-1LAW (215-486-1529) or at either our Philadelphia, Pennsylvania or Pennsauken or Woodbury, New Jersey offices.