Walking is the easiest task that all humans subconsciously perform daily. Walking, running, or balancing yourself should not be tricky, but the “slip and fall” accidents statistics speak otherwise. Slipping is the first instance in such accidents, followed by a fall/tripping (if you fail to balance yourself after the slip).
Usually, when you slip, most people assume that it is due to your negligence. But the truth is, it is seldom the fault of people who fall, but the people responsible for keeping their property in a hazardous condition. This is why hiring a Philadelphia slip and fall attorney is necessary to understand your case better and make the right claim.
Reasons for Slip and Fall Accidents in Philadelphia
In Philadelphia, slip and fall accidents happen frequently. According to the National Floor Safety Institutes, over 1 million hospital visits are due to such accidents in a year. These accidents tend to increase with slippery ice sheets all over the roads during the winters.
Areas of Market Street, Old City, and Chestnut Street in Philadelphia are prone to slip and fall accidents. Although the circumstances that may cause a slip and fall accident are unprecedented, some common situations are likely to lead to one.
Roads or sidewalks with unrepaired concrete cubes are one of the major causes of uneven surfaces. Surfaces such as these are hazardous and can easily cause slip and fall accidents. Uneven surfaces or changes in floor height that result from construction defects must be clearly marked with a warning sign to prevent such accidents.
Sidewalks of Center City and Old City in Philadelphia are hubs of slip and fall accidents as they accumulate large amounts of ice in winter. When you step on the ice, the pressure from your feet causes the ice to melt into water, making the surface slippery, leading to such accidents.
Debris on Sidewalks
Slip and fall accidents can also occur during the summers in equal frequency and severity. Most common instances include sidewalks that have piled up trash and debris, such as banana peels – which are extremely hazardous due to their slippery surfaces. Any obstruction on the sidewalk is equally dangerous. If you don’t see it coming, there is a high chance of hurting your head due to a collision.
Liquid Spills and Wet Floors
Liquid spills on the floor reduce the friction between your feet and the surface you walk on, making your grip shaky and resulting in slips and falls. Water is a natural lubricant and not very convenient when maintaining balance on wet floors. Liquid spills in supermarkets, shopping malls, parking spaces, elevators, or anywhere can cause equally serious injuries from slipping and falling.
Cluttered Aisles in a Supermarket
Supermarkets are a place where everyone is walking in a rush. Walkways in the supermarket can get difficult to navigate if excessive merchandise is crammed into small storage. Such unorganized spaces can easily cause slip and fall accidents.
Broken Products in a Supermarket
Broken products with glass jar packaging on supermarket floors can result in tripping, lacerations, and associated injuries.
In Fitness Facilities Such as Gyms and Health Clubs
These spaces often contain multiple heavy equipment and weights that need to be used with caution. If the floors are slippery while using such heavyweights, the consequences of slipping and falling can be dire.
Consequences of a Slip and Trip Accident
The consequences of a slip and trip can quickly escalate, with some cases resulting in death. There are mild to serious injuries that victims of slip and trip accidents may suffer, such as
- Fractured bones
- Severe spinal cord injury
- Torn ligaments
- Injury to the neck
- Injuries to the back
- Lacerations and scarring if you fall on broken glass shards and pieces.
- Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). If you hurt your head in a slip and fall accident, there is a high chance of TBI such as concussion, dizziness, blurry vision, and hearing impairment.
Things to Consider if You Find Yourself in a “Slip and Fall” Accident
The first and foremost thing to be aware of is the legal outlook of “slip and fall” accidents in Philadelphia. Every state has slightly different laws for these cases. In Philadelphia, these accidents fall under the legal category of “premises liability,” meaning injuries on someone else’s property (public or private) due to improper maintenance or defective conditions that make it unsafe.
In slip and fall cases, victims often do not want to file for compensation for all its hassle. But it is crucial to understand your rights in case of an injury and how you can be compensated for your loss.
Understanding Your Case
In Philadelphia, cases of slips and falls are rampant, most of which go up to the complaint filing stage. To file a complaint and claim compensation, you must first consider the circumstances and factors involved in your accident.
Cause of Accident
Causes of slip and fall accidents are often complicated. It always comes down to whether the property owner was complacent with their duty of care or was negligent.
Duty of Care applies to all public or private properties where the owner or the city, respectively, is liable for an accident on the property. To maintain the Duty of Care, property owners must:
- Maintain their property in non-hazardous conditions, such as removing accumulated ice, spills, and garbage from the sidewalks of their homes.
- Have warning signs for wet/slippery floors
- Have warning signs for changes in floor height
- Have warning signs for construction faults that make the roads dangerous
- Have no obstructions on the sidewalks of their homes.
However, there are cases of natural accumulation that lead to hazardous situations, such as naturally accumulated snow on streets. In case of accidents in these areas, one may hold the city responsible for not maintaining the roads in walkable conditions.
It is essential to be clear on the degree of fault of the owner in the case when filing a complaint.
Philadelphia follows a modified comparative negligence rule by the Pennsylvania state laws. Both parties are held responsible in case of an accident, but the party with over 50% responsibility is held liable. This law calls for a thorough evaluation of the situation based on evidence. Thus, it is important to be sure that –
- The owner caused the hazardous condition, such as a spill, which led to the accident.
- The owner was aware of the hazardous conditions but did not repair them.
Basically, any breach of the “duty of care” by the owner (individual or the state) makes them majorly responsible for the accident.
Filing Your Case and Claiming Compensation
It is important to note that you are not filing for compensation from the property owner but their insurance company. Here are the following damages that can be recovered in slip and fall accidents-
- Medical expenses
- Loss of earning
- Current and future pain and suffering
The entire procedure is intricate and tricky to handle without professional help. Hence, taking legal advice from an attorney is helpful in these situations.
Accidents can happen anywhere, to anyone, but with enough know-how, you can be well-prepared to deal with the aftermath of slip and fall accidents in Philadelphia. For more assistance, contact a personal injury lawyer in Philadelphia today.