After a slip and fall, you will likely have medical bills that need to be paid. If the injury is serious enough, you may have to take a leave of absence from work. This can put you in a very compromising position. Bills need to be paid, and you have no source of income to cover them. Slip and falls can potentially happen to anyone at any time. Even the most cautious people can find themselves in a situation where they have become a victim of a slip and fall due to the negligence of a property owner. The slip and fall can happen inside or outside of a building and be caused by conditions such as an uneven foundation, inadequate lighting, potholes, ice, snow, or some other type of hazard. The injuries can range from being a minor scrape that just gives you minor, temporary pain to a serious personal injury that changes your quality of life permanently.
Proving a Slip and Fall Case
One of the common misconceptions I see with regard to slip and fall accidents is that people believe because they fell and hurt themselves on someone’s property, they have a case. This is not true. The tricky part in a slip and fall is proving that the owner of the property was aware of the defective condition of the property. It is not as simple as just showing that you’ve been injured on a person’s property. You need to be able to prove that the property owner knew about the potential risk. Without sufficient evidence, it is very hard to prove your slip and fall case. Here are other things you must prove:
- Obvious Defect That Caused the Slip and Fall. To prove a slip and fall case, there has to be a defect or an unreasonably dangerous situation that would be obvious to the property owner. This is relatively easy to determine. For example, a crack in the sidewalk is obvious, and a property owner would be responsible to fix it. Something less obvious might be the type of steps someone was walking on. Unknown to many people, there are certain codes that are required when constructing steps in commercial or private areas. If you are unsure about your case, call a personal injury attorney who helps slip and fall victims at the Heslin Law Firm.
- Opportunity to Fix. A second aspect to the case is that the defect must have been placed by the owner or by one of his or her employees, or the defect was present long enough for the property owner to inspect it and fix. For example, if you’re walking in a supermarket and slip and fall on water, and we can prove that an employee spilled the water, we most likely have a slip and fall case. If we can’t prove that an employee spilled the water, we need to prove the owner had an opportunity to clean it up. This is often very difficult to prove. If someone else such as a customer spilled the water, you may have a case against that person, but it would be nearly impossible to locate him.
- Why Didn’t You See It? A third important aspect of a slip and fall case is whether or not the person who fell could have easily noticed the defect. An example of this is a “daylight slip and fall.” If you’re walking down a street on a clear sunny day and you fall due to some defect in the pavement, you will be asked why you did not see it. If you say you were simply not paying attention, the property owner will not be blamed.
Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyer
The Heslin Law Firm is here to give you representation that you can trust to get you the compensation you deserve. To make sure your case is successful and you are rightfully compensated, we have compiled a short list of beneficial steps that you should take after experiencing a slip and fall injury. By following this step-by-step list, you will definitely be better prepared in case you need to defend your slip and fall in court or prove your personal injuries to an insurance company.
- Don’t Flee the Scene. After a slip and fall, the initial reaction from many victims is to flee the scene. This can be from embarrassment or possibly because they feel guilty for what happened. Fight the urge to do this as much as possible. By fleeing the scene, you are unintentionally admitting guilt for the slip and fall and letting potential witnesses get away without recording their information. Always stay at the scene of the slip and fall until everything is settled and you feel confident that you have all of the information you need.
- Assess the Situation. After experiencing a slip and fall, it’s important that you immediately assess the situation you are in. Seek medical attention as soon as possible, and make sure you are not suffering from any visible life-threatening injuries before doing anything else. When you get medical attention, health professionals will be able to assess your physical condition and also officially document any of your injuries, which is very important in the long run when you are making your claim.
- Gather Evidence. After getting medical attention, you should begin to gather evidence for your case. First, gather the contact information of any witnesses before they leave the scene, and do this as soon as possible in case they are in a hurry. Use a disposable camera or your cell phone to photograph the scene and the condition of the area. If you do not have a camera at your disposal, take extensive notes about everything at the scene.
- Report the Accident. You should also report the accident and what caused your injuries to the landowner or supervisor at the scene. While reporting your injury to them, do not go into extensive detail about how you fell until you have spoken to a Philadelphia slip and fall lawyer.
If the owner of the property refuses to take a report, your next best option is to take note of every detail possible, the address of the location, the closest intersection, a detailed description of the condition of the property, etc.
If You’re Involved in a Slip and Fall in Philadelphia
If you were involved in a slip and fall, please contact a skilled slip and fall lawyer at the Heslin Law Firm. Gary Heslin has over 30 years of experience helping accident victims recover from their injuries. To schedule a free consultation, call our office, or contact us on the web.