West Chester Slip and Fall Attorney
Minor slip and falls in West Chester, Pennsylvania, may be embarrassing and bruise your ego more than anything else. However, a serious slip and fall accident can cause debilitating injuries, loss of income, and enormous medical expenses.
Imagine you are shopping at Cambridge Square Shopping Center and you trip on a cracked sidewalk and fracture your ankle. Or perhaps a handrail at the Brandywine Regional Airport gives way and you fall and break your hip. Maybe you are picking up some gourmet cooking items at Carlino’s Market and slip on a spilled liquid in the aisleway, hitting your head on the way down. While these are hypothetical situations, accidents such as these can easily happen.
The slip and fall attorneys at Wilk Law will review your claim at no cost and advise you if you qualify for compensation to help pay your medical bills and replace your lost income. Our law firm has decades of combined legal experience working on behalf of slip and fall victims, and our attorneys are:
- Recognized for excellence in the legal community;
- Aggressive and driven to win; and
- Knowledgeable in all areas of premises liability law, including slip and falls.
Wilk Law’s attorneys will answer your slip and fall questions and help put your mind at ease. There are no upfront costs or fees to hire our firm. We collect our fees when we win compensation for you.
Are Trips, Slips, and Falls Common in Pennsylvania?
Trips, slips, and falls are a common concern in Pennsylvania and across the United States. These types of accidents can result in minor injuries or have life-changing consequences in more severe cases.
According to the National Safety Council (NSC), falls are the second-leading cause of accidental deaths, and 42,114 people died in 2020 due to a fall at work or home. There were also 211,640 workers injured severely enough to require days off work due to a fall, and 805 died.
Falls among the elderly are particularly concerning, as they can lead to severe injuries and complications. As per the data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), falls are the leading cause of injury for people over 65, and 1 in 4 adults report having a fall each year. Additionally, roughly 37% of the 14 million reported falls by older people require medical attention.
There were 616,159 reported falls in Pennsylvania, with 2,118 deaths in 2021. Pennsylvania had the fourth-highest number of fall-related deaths that year, with Florida coming in first in the nation.
If you or someone you know has been injured due to a slip, trip, or fall in Pennsylvania, particularly in the West Chester area, you may want to speak with a West Chester slip and fall lawyer. They can guide potential legal options and ensure that they take steps to protect the injured party’s rights.
A West Chester Slip and Fall Attorney Can Help
Retaining a West Chester slip and fall lawyer, like ours at Wilk Law, is an essential first step after any slip, trip, or fall accident. The insurance company has a team of adjusters and attorneys on their side working for their best interests, and so should you.
The legal team at Wilk Law will build the strongest, trial-ready case for your recovery possible. This includes, but is not limited to, doing the following:
- Thoroughly investigating your accident;
- Interviewing any witnesses;
- Obtaining medical records, police reports, and other necessary documentation;
- Hiring needed accident, medical, and financial experts;
- Assessing your losses;
- Calculating and demanding a fair settlement amount;
- Negotiating an appropriate settlement on your behalf; or
- Proceeding towards trial.
Do not make any recorded statements to or sign any insurance company documents before speaking with Wilk Law. You could sign away your right to future compensation or leave yourself with accident-related debt.
Who Are the Potential Liable Parties in a West Chester Slip and Fall?
Slip and fall accidents in West Chester, like elsewhere, involve “premises liability.” Premises liability requires property owners and occupants to keep their properties safe from hazards. The owner or occupier of a property may be liable for injuries caused by unsafe conditions, and other people or entities you can potentially hold accountable include:
- Property Owners – This is the most common liable party in slip and fall cases. Property owners are responsible for maintaining their premises and ensuring it’s safe for visitors.
- Businesses – If a company operates on the premises, it might be held liable, especially if it had control over the conditions that caused the slip and fall.
- Landlords – In cases where a tenant or a tenant’s visitor gets injured, the landlord might be held responsible, especially if they were notified about the hazardous condition but failed to address it.
- Government Entities – A government entity might be responsible if a slip and fall happens on public property. However, suing the government has special requirements and is often more complex.
- Others – There can be other liable parties depending on the case’s specifics, such as contractors or maintenance companies.
Pennsylvania law requires that we recognize “modified comparative negligence.” If the injured party is partially at fault, the court will reduce their compensation proportionally. If a court awards $50,000 for a slip and fall claim and the victim is 10% at fault, they receive $45,000. If the injured party is more than 50% at fault, they cannot recover compensation.
To successfully claim damages for a slip and fall, one must prove:
- The property owner or an employee caused the hazardous condition.
- The property owner or employee was aware of the condition but neglected it.
- A “reasonable” person managing the property would have recognized and rectified the dangerous situation.
The challenge in these cases often hinges on determining what a “reasonable’ person” would have done. Typically, judges and juries will use common sense to assess whether the property owner took appropriate steps to ensure safety.
Contact an experienced West Chester slip and fall attorney if you believe you were injured by someone else’s negligence. They will evaluate your case and explain everything you need to know about premises liability and how it pertains to your claim.
Understanding negligence, especially comparative negligence, is crucial when a slip and fall victim gets injured. Property owners often have multiple defenses, making fault and liability determination difficult.
Comparative Negligence in Pennsylvania
If you’re considering claiming injury following a slip and fall in Pennsylvania, it’s crucial to be aware that the other side might argue that you share some responsibility for the incident. This approach is typical due to Pennsylvania’s “modified comparative negligence” rule, which can significantly impact the outcome of a case. Under this rule, the court can and will reduce your compensation by a percentage equivalent to your share of the blame. For instance, if they find you 10% at fault for an accident with damages totaling $30,000, you would receive $27,000 after a $3,000 reduction. Pennsylvania law stipulates that if the court finds you more than 50% at fault, you’re ineligible to receive any compensation.
Defenses Property Owners Might Use
You also have to understand that the defense may try to come up with several reasons why it’s not their fault for your injury, and you’ll want a slip and fall lawyer in West Chester on your side to help prove them wrong. Common defenses include the following:
Open and Obvious Danger
The open and obvious danger defense says a risk was so clear that any “reasonable” person would have seen it and stayed away. This defense is based on the idea that people have a duty to notice clear dangers and stay away from them.
- Implications – If the court decides that a danger is obvious, they could significantly reduce the property owner’s liability or even eliminate it. For example, if someone fell in a big, noticeable puddle of water in broad daylight, the court might say that the person should have been able to see it and stay away from it.
Lack of Notice
This defense revolves around the property owner’s knowledge, or lack thereof, about the hazardous condition. For you to successfully hold a property owner liable, they must have known, or should have reasonably known, about the danger but failed to rectify it.
- Implications – If a property owner can show that they didn’t know about the danger and that it wasn’t reasonable for them to know about it, they might not be responsible. For example, if there is a spill in a grocery store and a customer slips on it a few minutes later, the store could say they didn’t have enough time to find the spill and clean it up.
The reasonable care defense says that the property owner took all the steps needed to ensure it was safe. It emphasizes due diligence on the part of the owner in maintaining the premises.
- Implications – This defense can be used to say that the slip and fall accident was unavoidable if the defendant can show proof of regular inspections, maintenance schedules, or other proactive steps taken to prevent hazards. For example, if there is an accident at a shopping mall that has clear records of daily cleaning and regular safety checks, this defense could be plausible.
This defense aims to shift some blame to the injured party, suggesting that their actions or negligence contributed to the incident. It is based on the idea that the defendant and the plaintiff may share responsibility for the accident.
- Implications – In Pennsylvania, as we touched on, the court can adjust the plaintiff’s compensation based on their degree of fault. If a court determines that an injured person was, say, 20% responsible for their accident, the court will reduce their compensation by that percentage.
Assumption of Risk
The assumption of risk defense says that the person who got hurt knew and chose to go into a situation where they could sustain injuries. This defense usually gets used for inherently dangerous things, but it can also work in other cases.
- Implications – A clear example would be extreme sports. If someone goes bungee jumping and gets injured, the company might argue that the individual was fully aware of the risks involved. However, in more everyday scenarios, a property owner might claim that clear warning signs or barriers were in place, which the injured party ignored, thereby assuming the risk.
Each of these defenses has intricacies that can vary based on the specifics of a case. Both property owners and those injured need to understand them and seek legal counsel when navigating a slip and fall claim.
Other arguments from property owners might include:
- The injured person was in an unauthorized area.
- During the accident, the wounded person was distracted (e.g., using a phone).
- Inappropriate footwear contributed to the fall.
- Clear warning signs or barriers were correctly placed but ignored.
Lastly, it’s essential to remember there’s a time limit when filing a slip and fall claim in Pennsylvania. Victims have a two-year window to initiate their claim, as indicated by Pa. C.S.A. § 5524. Given the complexities and potential defenses in slip and fall cases, it’s a good idea to talk with an experienced slip and fall attorney in West Chester who can offer guidance on the specific nuances of your situation.
Where Do Slip and Falls Occur in West Chester?
Slip and falls can happen anywhere in Chester County. Falls make up nearly nine million emergency room visits annually and are among the leading causes of unintentional death in the United States.
Typical locations slip and falls occur are:
- Movie theaters;
- Government buildings;
- Public commons;
- Private homes; and
- Apartment complexes.
What Causes Slip and Falls?
Slip and falls result from an unintended or unexpected change in the contact between the feet and the ground.
Causes of slip and falls vary, but the most common include:
- Wet or freshly waxed floors;
- Icy walkways;
- Poor lighting;
- Missing safety railing;
- Cluttered floors;
- Food debris on floors;
- Potholes or uneven concrete; and
- Torn carpeting.
How to Prevent Slip and Falls
The most important way to prevent slip and falls is to practice good housekeeping. Without good housekeeping, no other measures are quite as effective in reducing the number of slip and falls and personal injuries.
Good housekeeping techniques include the following:
- Clean up spills immediately;
- Place proper signage in wet areas;
- Mop and sweep up debris from floors;
- Keep walkways free of clutter;
- Tack or tape rugs and mats that do not lie flat;
- Always keep storage drawers closed;
- Cover and mark cables that cross walkways;
- Keep work areas and walkways well lit; and
- Replace light bulbs and faulty light switches.
West Chester, Pennsylvania
West Chester, PA, a delightful borough in Chester County, is a hub of activity, charm, and history. Home to an array of shops, restaurants, and cultural sites, the town beckons locals and tourists to explore its captivating streets. Whether it’s a day spent shopping in local boutiques, eating at local restaurants, or enjoying an event at one of the many local venues, there’s always something happening in Downtown West Chester.
However, with such constant activity comes the potential risk of slip and fall accidents. High foot traffic areas, varying pavement surfaces, and even unforeseen hazards like spilled liquids or uneven sidewalks can present challenges. It’s always essential to stay alert and be aware of your surroundings when navigating bustling areas.
Fortunately, for those who might experience such an unfortunate incident in West Chester, the town offers several resources:
- Falls Prevention for Older Adults – This program, provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Aging, gives crucial information on preventing falls, especially for the elderly, who might be at a higher risk. They offer strategies, resources, and insights on staying safe.
- Chester County Hospital Physical Therapy – Offering a comprehensive range of physical therapy and rehabilitation services, this hospital can be invaluable for those recovering from injuries. Its team of specialists aims to restore movement and function.
- Resolve Rehab and Performance LLC – This center specializes in performance enhancement, injury prevention, and rehabilitation. Their individualized approach ensures that each patient receives optimal care.
- Flash Momentum Physical Therapy – With a focus on holistic health and well-being, this therapy center aids those recovering from injuries by offering personalized therapy solutions. They aim to help clients regain momentum and return to their active lives.
So, West Chester is full of fun, but being aware of possible dangers is essential. And if something goes wrong, the town has a lot of tools to help people get back on their feet.
Contact a West Chester Slip and Fall Attorney Today
If you or your loved one suffered a slip and fall accident, seek medical care right away, even if your injuries seem minor. Some injuries, like brain injuries, are difficult to detect and do not become readily apparent for days or weeks after an accident.
Next, contact an experienced slip and fall attorney, like ours at Wilk Law. Be sure to contact us right away at (855) 946-3678, or contact us online. Evidence fades, and witnesses move or lose their memories over time.
Pennsylvania requires the filing of most slip and fall claims within two years of the injury date. Otherwise, recovery is barred. For specific time limits in your slip and fall case, contact Wilk Law to schedule your free initial consultation.
Some of the locations in and around Chester County our law firm serves includes West Chester, Coatesville, Downingtown, Philadelphia, Kennett Square, Phoenixville, Pottstown, Valley Forge, Berwyn, Frazer, and more.