In Pennsylvania, fall down cases known as “slip and fall” or “trip and fall” cases are some of the most difficult cases to win, and Philadelphia is no exception. Each year, there are literally hundreds of fall accident lawsuits filed in Philadelphia, and they are usually tough cases. In order to win a slip and fall case, there must be clear, strong evidence of the defendant’s negligence.
In a fall accident lawsuit in Philadelphia, the defendant’s negligence will be defined as the failure to do something a reasonable person would have done or taking action that a reasonable person would not have taken. In the context of a fall accident case against a business like a grocery store, mall, restaurant, etc., an injured individual will have to prove that the business (defendant) had reasonable notice of the defective condition. That’s often easier said than done.
Under PA fall accident law, individuals and businesses have a duty to take reasonable care of their properties to avoid accidents. Businesses which are open to the public have an especially heightened duty. Because they are open to the public, private businesses owe customers a duty to conduct reasonable investigations of properties (stores, parking lots, etc.).
Comparative Negligence in Fall Accident Lawsuits in Philadelphia
One of the most typical defenses in these cases is an allegation that the plaintiff was comparatively negligent. Under this doctrine, everyone has a duty to watch where they are walking, unless of course, the defect was hidden.
In most fall down cases, a plaintiff will be attributed some portion of fault for the accident. Moreover, the landowner or property owner’s negligence must exceed that of the plaintiff in order for plaintiff to recover.
So, these types of cases really boil down to proving that a landlord or property owner was negligent. The stronger the evidence, the better the case.
Have a Strategy to Obtain Evidence of Negligence
In order to prove a landlord or property owner’s negligence, the slip and fall plaintiff’s lawyer must have a solid strategy to obtain such evidence.
Oftentimes, lawyers make mistakes in the discovery process. Finding sufficient evidence of negligence means being aggressive and asking all the right questions and pushing to find the right evidence.
Success of a fall down lawsuit in Philadelphia will depend on whether the business owner had a documented floor safety plan or protocol. Most defendants in slip and fall cases simply do not have such plans.
Most plans consist of having all employees be on the look out for any hazardous conditions. Such a “plan” is really no plan at all.
Proving negligence where there is no written protocol means asking the right questions at a deposition, such as, whether there is any follow through with employees on safety issues or whether there is any employee training on safety issues and recognizing safety issues. More often than not, the answer to these questions is always “no.”
Access my legal articles for more information about proving negligence in Pennsylvania slip and fall or fall down cases Part One and Part Two.
To submit your case for review by our Pennsylvania and New Jersey slip and fall lawyers, call (866) 641-0806. Our lawyers are available for a free, no obligation legal consultation, and can obtain special admission in other states, such as New York or Delaware, on a case by case basis.
**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.
Last updated: January 6, 2015