Taking a tumble may seem like not a big deal. For many people, it isn’t; they are able to get up, brush themselves off, and continue on with their day. Yet for others, falls can be incredibly dangerous.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 out of every 5 falls causes a serious injury, such as broken bones or a head injury. Millions of Americans are treated in emergency rooms each year for fall-related injuries, with more than 800,000 people hospitalized due to injuries suffered in falls.
Falls can be particularly dangerous for older Americans. In Pennsylvania, 1,362 adults aged 65 or older died from fall-related injuries. In that same year, $3.7 billion in hospital charges were attributed to falls from older adults.
Mattiacci Law has handled hundreds of cases involving falls on ice, broken sidewalks, uneven pavements, wet floors, and other hazards. We have won cases for our clients in fall cases in Philadelphia, across Pennsylvania, and throughout New Jersey. Our Philadelphia fall lawyers have recovered millions of dollars for our clients in various types of fall cases.
If you have been injured in any type of fall, you may be eligible for compensation. Attorney John Mattiacci can help. Contact our office today at 855-295-3902 (Philadelphia office) or 855-659-6976 (New Jersey office), or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Philadelphia fall case attorney.
Types of Fall Cases
The two most common types of fall cases that we handle are slip and fall cases and trip and fall cases. The mechanism of each type of fall is different. They can also be caused by different things.
Slip and Fall
Common causes of slip and fall accidents include wet floors, ice or snow, or the presence of spilled food products, grease, or other substances left on a floor. Slip and fall accidents can occur indoors or outdoors. They can just as easily occur inside a restaurant as they can on a wintry sidewalk.
Case Example: Mattiacci Law recovered $900,000 for a client who slipped on black ice on a defendant’s property and suffered a knee injury.
Trip and Fall
Trip and fall accident cases are generally caused by an unsafe or dangerous condition of a walkway or surface. This can include cracked or broken sidewalks, uneven floors, holes in a walkway, a loose or unsecured carpet or rug, or a change in elevation such as an unmarked step.
Case Example: Mattiacci Law recovered $500,000 for a client who tripped on a broken floor tile inside a shopping center.
What Is a Premises Liability Case?
If a person is injured on another person’s property, it is usually referred to as a “premises liability” case. Under both Pennsylvania and New Jersey law, if a person is hurt on another person’s property, he or she can seek compensation for their injuries.
A property owner must exercise reasonable care when it comes to maintaining their property. This means keeping their property free of hazardous conditions. If a property owner knows about a hazard on their property and fails to repair, protect against, or give warning about the condition, he or she could be held responsible for any injuries that result.
For example, if you enter a business that has a tile floor and trip on a loose, broken tile, the proprietor of that business may be responsible for your injuries. If the owner knew about the broken tile and didn’t fix it or put up a warning sign or cone to let customers know about it, then a premises liability claim may be filed for any damages.
Common hazardous conditions that could lead to a premises liability case include:
- Wet floors
- Broken railings
- Lack of proper lighting
- Failure to clear snow or ice
- Broken stairs
- Failure to provide adequate security
In addition to the owner of the property, the manager or supervisor and the operator of the property may be named in a legal claim for any injuries.
Proving Fault in a Fall Case
Premise liability cases may seem simple, but they can be challenging. In a case involving negligence, there are four elements that must be proven in order to win the case. Our Philadelphia legal team knows each and every factor that must be proven in order to win these cases.
To demonstrate that the defendant property owner is liable, a victim must show:
- That the property owner had a duty of care to the injured (that you were not trespassing);
- That the owner knew about or should have known about the dangerous property condition (notice);
- That the property owner failed to remedy the dangerous condition if he or she knew about it; and
- That the breach of duty directly caused the injury.
One of the more important factors that must be shown in a fall case is notice. Notice means that the person responsible for the property knew or should have known that there was a dangerous condition. In order to be held responsible in a fall case, the defendant must have had notice of the hazard.
For example, a supermarket has notice that its floor is slippery when it is raining outside and the store does not put floor mats down near the entrance to keep people from slipping. A store would also have notice if its own employees create the dangerous condition, such as when an employee spills something on the floor and does not clean it up right away.
A defendant may also have “constructive notice” of a condition. This means that even if we cannot prove a defendant actually knew of a dangerous condition, we can infer that the defendant knew or should have known from the facts. For example, if a broken floor tile was present for weeks prior to a fall, we argue that the defendant had constructive notice because it should have discovered the dangerous condition during that time.
Preserving evidence of what causes someone to fall is incredibly important. It is very helpful to have photos of the condition that caused someone to fall, preferably taken immediately after the incident. Certain conditions, like ice or snow, may melt and disappear shortly after a fall. For other types of dangerous conditions, like a broken sidewalk, the property owner may repair the area after a fall. While this makes the area safe, it prevents us from being able to completely photograph and measure the unsafe condition before it gets fixed.
This is why speed is of the essence in a premises liability case. At Mattiacci Law, we make every effort to immediately document the safety hazard that causes a person to slip or trip. This includes taking photographs and measurements and otherwise documenting the scene of the accident. We will identify, locate and notify the owner and manager of the property, deal with the defendant’s insurance company, and are more than ready, willing and able to take a case to trial to get our clients compensated.
Work with a Philadelphia Fall Case Attorney
If you have been hurt in a fall, whether it involves a slip, trip or another type of fall, you may be entitled to compensation. Fall cases can be complicated, but property owners owe visitors to their homes, businesses and other locales a standard of care. If they fail to meet that standard, their negligence can lead to serious injuries. We fight to hold them responsible.
At Mattiacci Law, we have helped hundreds of people who have been hurt in falls and other types of accidents. We offer free initial consultations to help potential clients understand their rights and options, and we never charge a fee unless we obtain money for you. To schedule an appointment with a Philadelphia fall case attorney, contact our firm today at 855-295-3902 (Philadelphia office) or 855-659-6976 (New Jersey office), or reach out online anytime.