Slips, Trips and Falls in Pennsylvania: What You Need to Know

If you are hurt in a slip/trip and fall on someone’s property, you could receive compensation for your injuries. However, it is important to note that not every accident on someone’s property may result in payment for pain, suffering or medical expenses. Here is what you need to know about “Slip and Fall” and “Trip and Fall” cases in Pennsylvania, according to an entry in NOLO’s legal encyclopedia.

Slips, trips and falls are types of personal injury cases. When they occur on someone else’s property, they are evaluated using the legal practice area known as “premises liability.” This concept is used in personal injury cases where injuries are caused by unsafe conditions. Premises liability evaluates whether the property owner or their representative is at fault for your injury.

Property owners are required to exercise reasonable care in maintaining their property, so that visitors are safe. This is generally known as the “duty of care.” However, not all visitors are equally protected. A duty of care would apply for visitors who had permission to be on property but not those who trespassed, for example. It also may not apply to visitors who venture into areas that are blocked off or closed.

The conditions that cause the slip, trip and fall also play a role. Outdoors, these include icy walkways and uneven or broken pavement. Inside, it might be a wet or oily floor, uneven floorboards and unsecured carpet. You also might trip over hidden extension cords or something left on the ground.

It is normal to find some of these conditions, such as ice in wintry weather or wet floors after cleaning. To be legally responsible, the property owner needs to either have:

  • Caused the hazard (such as caused a chemical, oil, water or other liquid spill on a floor);
  • Known about the hazard and done nothing to fix it (such as failing to de-ice a walkway leading to the business);
  • Discovered the hazard because a reasonable person would have done so (making an extra effort to check areas that are older for hazards).

In Pennsylvania, the injured person may also bear some responsibility for an injury. Perhaps they were in an area where they were not permitted to be, or were on the phone and not paying attention. There could have been signs and barriers that were ignored. When the injured person is found to be more than 50 percent at fault for the injury, they typically will not receive compensation.

Most importantly, Pennsylvania Slip and Fall Laws put a time limit on filing such a case. In Pennsylvania, personal injury claims must be filed within two years of the injury or death.

If you have been injured by a slip and fall or trip and fall in Pennsylvania, and you believe there is negligence involved, please reach out to us. Our firm is recognized as a leader in litigating premises liability cases in Pennsylvania.