Do You Have a Valid Slip and Fall Claim?
Many people automatically assume that if they slip and fall on someone else’s property, they automatically have a valid slip and fall claim. However, this is not always true. In order to have a legitimate claim, there must be certain elements present in the case. Meeting these requirements is not always easy, which makes many slip and fall claims so challenging. So, if you have fallen on another person’s property, how do you know if you have a valid claim? You can read up on the required elements below, and determine if your case meets them.
Elements in a Slip and Fall Claim
There are four requirements, also known as elements of proof, that must be met in any slip and fall claim. These include:
- Duty of care: Everyone owes everyone else around them a certain duty of care. This is to ensure that people are kept safe, and that others act in a reasonable manner to keep others safe.
- Negligence: Negligence occurs when a person breaches their duty of care by acting carelessly, or recklessly. Negligence is the legal concept that all personal injury cases rest on. It is not only an essential element of proof, but also challenging to prove in many cases.
- Causation: An act of negligence is not enough to have a valid slip and fall claim. That negligence must have caused the slip and fall accident.
- Damages: Even when an act of negligence caused an accident, that is still not enough to prove a slip and fall case. In order to have a claim, the negligence that caused the accident must also result in injuries, or damages, that a person can be compensated for.
Of all of these elements, negligence is the hardest to prove in any accident. This is particularly challenging in slip and fall claims because negligence rests on whether a property owner knew about the dangerous condition.
Proving Negligence in a Slip and Fall Claim
It is reasonable to think that as long as a hazard was present on the property, and as long as that hazard caused an accident that resulted in injury, you have a valid slip and fall claim. Unfortunately, this is not always true, either.
Under Pennsylvania law, there are three times a property owner can be held liable for a slip and fall accident. These include:
- When the property owner created the danger
- When the property owner did not create, but knew of, the danger
- When the property owner should have known about the hazard
For example, a slip and fall may be caused by a spilled drink in a restaurant that just occurred. If the restaurant owner, nor their staff, caused the spill, they may not know about it right away. If this is the case and someone is hurt by the spill, proving negligence is going to be more difficult. However, if the spill is left on the floor for several hours, the restaurant owner, or the staff members, should have known about it and cleaned it up. Only in this latter instance may accident victims have a valid slip and fall claim.
In addition to proving a slip and fall claim, accident victims may also have to defend against claims that they were negligent. If they were, their compensation may be reduced under Pennsylvania’s comparative negligence laws. Defendants often try to shift the blame to the victim in order to reduce the amount of damages they are required to pay.
Our Pennsylvania Personal Injury Lawyers can Advise on Your Slip and Fall Claim
Unfortunately, slipping and falling on someone else’s property is not enough to make a valid claim on its own. If you have been hurt, call our Scranton personal injury lawyers at Haggerty, Hinton & Cosgrove, LLP, today. Our attorneys will determine if you have a valid claim and if you do, defend against any claims of negligence from the other side. If you have been hurt, call us today at 570-344-9845 to schedule a meeting with one of our attorneys.