Respected Moorestown Slip and Fall Accident Attorney Serving New Jersey and Pennsylvania
A slip and fall accident is sometimes just that — an accident. But sometimes, a person falls because another person failed to do what they were supposed to do, such as clean up a spill or salt a sidewalk. Other people may be hurt as a result…and even suffer life-threatening injuries.
While many slip and fall accidents result in minimal injuries, a fall can also result in life-threatening harm. According for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), falls are the leading cause of traumatic brain injuries. Falls also account for more than 95% of hip fractures in older Americans.
Property owners and business proprietors have an obligation to keep their premises reasonably free from known hazards for their visitors. If a slip and fall accident is due to the negligence of another person, you may be entitled to compensation. In that situation, an experienced Philadelphia slip and fall accident lawyer can work with you to help you get the money you deserve.
How Slip and Fall Accidents Happen
Slip and fall accidents happen when someone slips — and then falls — on a slick or wet surface. This happens because the floor or ground is too slippery to safely walk.
There is not enough friction between the person’s foot and the ground or floor. The person’s foot then slides, which can cause someone to slip and fall. Many times, a person who slips then falls to the ground suffers an injury. Other times, the person can catch himself or herself before falling to the ground but can still sustain an injury.
Slip and falls generally involve ice, snow, water, or any slick or slippery substance on which people walk or stand. These types of incidents may happen inside or outside of a business, at a home, on a public sidewalk, in a parking lot, or anywhere people are expected to walk. Nearly 200,000 people get hurt each year in slip, trip and fall accidents.
According to a report by Industrial Safety and Hygiene News, the most common causes of slip and fall accidents include:
- Recently mopped or waxed floors;
- Potholes in parking lots;
- Spilled liquids that are not cleaned up;
- Uneven surfaces with no warning signs;
- Loose floorboards, rugs or mats, especially on stairs;
- Splashed grease or oil that is not cleaned;
- Ice that is not salted;
- Trash or debris on the floor;
- Cords that run across walkways;
- Transitions from one surface to another;
- Poor lighting; and
- No handrail present.
There are many steps that can be taken within one’s own home to reduce these kinds of safety hazards. However, if you are at a public place or at someone else’s home, you may not be able to see these dangerous conditions until it is too late.
Who Is Liable for a Slip and Fall Accident?
In both Pennsylvania and New Jersey, a person has a duty of care to protect people who enter their property from harm. This duty applies to people who own, lease, occupy or otherwise control the property.
For example, if you go to a local event space to attend an event sponsored by a local organization, and you slip and fall on a spilled drink, you may be able to file a claim against a number of parties. This may include the organization who rented the space, the owner of the event space, or a property manager or event planner.
However, to prove liability, you will need to demonstrate a number of elements. First, you may have to prove that the defendant (responsible party) owned, leased, occupied or controlled the property in question.
Second, you may have to show that the defendant was somehow negligent (failed to use reasonable care) in the use or maintenance of the property. In the example above, you may be able to prove this by demonstrating that the organization’s leadership knew that people were spilling drinks and failed to act to have the floor cleaned or to warn people.
Third, you will need to prove that you were harmed by slipping and falling on the property. Fourth, you will have to demonstrate that the defendant’s negligence was a substantial factor in causing your injuries. In other words, you will have to show that you fell because of the owner’s negligence — and that your injuries were caused by the fall.
Slip and fall cases are a type of premises liability case. They can be challenging to prove, particularly because they require proof of notice: the person in control of the property must have known or should have known about the dangerous condition. It is only if the defendant failed to fix, protect against or warn about the condition that he or she will be held responsible.
What Damages Are Available in a Slip and Fall Case?
Victims in a slip and fall case may be able to recover all damages that they suffered as a result of their fall. This may include, but is not limited to:
- Medical bills;
- Future medical treatment;
- Lost wages;
- Lost earning capacity; and
- Pain and suffering.
Punitive damages, which are meant to punish defendants and prevent others from engaging in similar behavior, are occasionally available in slip and fall cases. While not as common, there are some situations where punitive damages may be awarded, such as if the defendant was reckless and the victim received catastrophic injuries or died as a result.
How a Skilled Philadelphia Slip and Fall Lawyer Can Help
For more than seventeen years, our Philadelphia slip and fall team has fought for clients injured in slip and fall accidents. Our team starts an investigation immediately. We obtain accident information, request incident reports, gather weather data, and may retain experts. These experts, which can include safety engineers, forensic meteorologists, and accident reconstruction experts, help us to prepare your case to make it as strong as possible.
Our Philadelphia slip and fall law firm takes an aggressive stance on premises liability cases. While we will make every effort to get a case resolved for our clients through a negotiated settlement, our firm prepares every case as if it will go to trial. Preparing cases for trial is the best way to maximize a client’s recovery.
John Mattiacci and his firm have secured significant verdicts and settlements in these cases. In one case, John served as lead counsel in a case in which a union teamster slipped on ice at a business. The client, who slipped but did not fall to the ground, wrenched his knee and suffered an injury. John successfully sued the owner of the property, a Fortune 500 company, and recovered $900,000 for the injured client.
We handle all cases on a contingent fee basis, which means that we don’t get paid unless we recover money in your case. Our firm also fronts all costs of litigation; this includes paying engineers and other experts to testify in your case. We only recover these costs if you obtain a settlement or an award.
Slip and fall accidents can result in devastating injuries. Mattiacci Law is here to fight for you. To schedule a free initial consultation with an experienced Philadelphia slip and fall lawyer, contact our office today at 855-295-3902 (Philadelphia office) or 855-659-6976 (New Jersey office), or contact us via our online portal.