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Owner Liability in Slip and Fall Cases

Thousands of people are injured by slip and fall accidents each year. If you slip and fall on someone else’s property and are injured, you may be wondering who is responsible for your injuries. Generally, the crux of a slip and fall case lies in finding who is at fault for the injury, which may be difficult to prove. Property owners do have a duty to maintain reasonably safe conditions on their properties and are liable for injuries that occur when they fail to do so. However, there are some instances where a property owner will not be liable for conditions that a reasonable person should have avoided, i.e. tripping over a snow shovel in a parking lot in the winter.

 

Property Owner Liability

 

Property owners have a different level of liability to different classes of individuals. For instance, if you are a trespasser, a property owner is only liable for your injuries that were caused by his intentional or unreasonable negligence or misconduct, i.e. injuries caused to you by a spring gun trap set up by the owner on his land. On the flip side, if you are given permission by the owner to enter his land (a licensee) and you are injured, the property owner is liable to you if he knew of the dangerous condition on the land, failed to exercise reasonable care to make it safe, and you were not aware of the dangerous condition, i.e. you are invited to a friend’s house for a party and are injured from falling down the hole in the floor that was covered by an area rug. Or, if you are an invitee of the owner and you are injured on his property, then the owner is liable if he knows or could easily discover the dangerous condition, knows that you will not easily discover the danger, and fails to exercise reasonable care in protecting you against the danger, i.e. a store owner invites a patron to the store to benefit from the patron’s business and is injured.

 

The Complicated Nature of Slip and Fall Claims

 

Slip and fall injuries occur in all of these settings, and it is often hard to win these cases. This was true in a recent Pennsylvania case. In this case, Mr. Martinez brought suit against Temple University Hospital for injuries he sustained after he fell in the hospital parking lot. The injury occurred when Mr. Martinez exited a rehabilitation facility and walked through the hospital’s private parking lot to reach his destination. While walking through the parking lot, Mr. Martinez fell and slipped on snow and ice in the parking lot. The jury found that Mr. Martinez was a trespasser because he was not visiting anyone at the hospital and he was not there for his own medical treatment. Based on being classified as a trespasser, the jury also found that the hospital was not liable to Mr. Martinez because the hospital did not engage in intentional or unreasonable negligence or misconduct that would cause the injuries.

 

How a Slip and Fall Attorney Can Help

 

Although the facts of Mr. Martinez’s case are relatively simple, that does not mean that his case would be an easy win. As you can see, a slip and fall case is harder to prove than are most other cases. If you have been injured in a slip and fall case, it may be in your best interest to contact an experienced Philadelphia personal injury lawyer immediately to discuss what rights you have.

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