If you have suffered injuries on another person’s property in Pennsylvania, you might have grounds for a premises liability lawsuit. Any property owner must ensure his or her property does not pose safety hazards. However, thousands of people suffer the consequences of negligent property maintenance every year.
Sometimes, injuries that result from one of these incidents appear insignificant initially but then develop into more severe injuries over the days or weeks following the incident. For that reason, a proper medical examination after any such accident can ensure not only the appropriate treatment to limit the consequences but also serve as proof if you later decide to pursue recovery of damages.
Typical causes of slip-and-fall accidents
The list of conditions that can cause this type of accident is seemingly limitless. Any unexpected changes in the surfaces of walkways or flooring are risk factors, and these include frayed or loose carpets or rugs, along with damaged sidewalks or parking lots.
Wet spots on floors or any spillage can cause a person to slip, and badly lit stairways that are narrow and without secure handrails can be extremely hazardous. Lack of required maintenance, including clearing away accumulated snow and addressing ice patches on sidewalks, can also significantly increase the risk of an accident.
What will you have to prove?
To recover damages after a slip-and-fall accident, you will have to prove that hazardous circumstances were responsible for your injuries. However, proving that the property owner knew that dangerous conditions existed and also that he or she took no measures to eliminate or post warning of the danger will all be essential to your case. If the hazard was obvious and something any reasonable person would have avoided, it might be difficult to prove liability.
Steps that might help your case
Even if your injuries seem minor, gathering evidence may prove invaluable if your injuries turn out to be more severe over time. Protect your interests by taking the following steps if possible:
- Collect evidence — Use a mobile phone to record the area of the incident and the circumstances that caused the fall because the hazard may no longer exist when you go back later.
- Collect witness information — Speak to any witnesses and record their contact details for future reference.
- Write down details— Create a written record of everything that happened as soon as possible after the incident, while all the details are still fresh in your mind.
- Medical records— Gather all medical bills and get a report from your physician that details any harm and potential future health consequences.
- Inform the property owner — If you plan to file a lawsuit, you can advise the premises owner of your intention.
The challenges you may face
Following a slip-and-fall accident, you will likely have to face several challenges, the first of which might be all of your mounting medical bills. If you are unable to return to work for some time, income loss may cause anxiety. This is a complicated field of the law, and proving negligence might be the biggest challenge in the pursuit of financial recovery. Fortunately, legal counsel is available for any Pennsylvania victims of hazardous premises.