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Jun 082017
 

Fall accidents are one of the more common types of injury accidents in Philadelphia. Whether it’s a slip and fall or a trip and fall, residents of Philadelphia are often injured on sidewalks, stairs and walkways. These types of accidents often happen at grocery stores, shopping plazas and even private homes.

Individuals injured in fall accidents often want to know about getting compensated for their injuries, medical bills and pain and suffering. Getting compensated for a fall accident in Pennsylvania requires evidence that the property owner was negligent in some way. Did the property owner do something or fail to do something that led to the accident?

Also, did the injured individual suffer serious damages? A sprained ankle is hardly enough to justify filing a legal claim. A broken ankle, however, certainly would justify filing a claim.

There are multiple legal issues which can affect the ability to get compensated. One of the most important aspects of a fall accident lawsuit in Pennsylvania is the status of the property owner.

Does the Status of the Property Owner Affect Compensation?

Under Pennsylvania law, the status of the property will probably affect the ability to get compensated for a fall accident. This is especially true for government entities. Cases against government entities are almost always harder than cases against individuals like the owner of a home or businesses like a grocery store.

Under PA law, government entities can be held liable for fall accidents on government property, but both state and federal laws limit the types of claims that can be made.

For instance, Pennsylvania law only allows sidewalk fall accident claims against local (versus state) government entities if there is evidence that 1. the government entity had actual notice of the dangerous condition, or 2. the defect existed for a sufficient period of time prior to the incident.

Most sidewalk fall accident cases against local entities are fought over the second point. An injured individual has to show that the defect existed for such a period of time that the government entity should have known about it. In other words, there’s got to be evidence of how long the defect existed. For something like a broken chunk of sidewalk, that’s a hard thing to prove.

In a sidewalk fall accident case against a homeowner or a grocery store, the injured individual has to show that 1. the homeowner or store actually knew about the dangerous condition prior to the accident, or 2. the homeowner/store should have known about it. There’s no requirement that the injured individual prove that the condition existed for a specific period of time prior to the accident, although it’s not enough to prove that a defect was created a few minutes before the accident. The defect must have existed for such a period of time that it’s reasonable to hold the property owner liable. In these cases, it’s usually enough to show that the defective sidewalk was in an area that the homeowner/employees walk over daily (and therefore should have seen), or that the defect was caused by the homeowner or the store’s own employees.

Federal and state laws also limit the amount of compensation that can be obtained from a government entity. For example, a Pennsylvania fall accident case against a local government like the City of Philadelphia, the injured individual has to prove certain elements, as required by Pennsylvania’s Political Subdivision Tort Claims Act, a special law that applies to local governments like the City of Philadelphia. In addition, there is a cap of $500,000 on the amount the injured individual can receive for their injury claim.

Related: Pennsylvania Government Liability for Injuries Law Update 2016: Student Allowed to Sue School for Trip & Fall Accident?

Pennsylvania Fall Accident & Injury Law Firm

Our lawyers handle fall injury cases throughout Pennsylvania. For a free consultation, please call our Philadelphia office at 215.399.9255.

**This website does not provide legal advice. Every case is unique and it is crucial to get a qualified, expert legal opinion prior to making any decisions about your case. See the full disclaimer at the bottom of this page.