What Is A Slip And Fall Case?

You or a loved one or friend take a bad fall on a slippery sidewalk, or fall down some stairs at a movie theater, or slip on some grapes that fell onto the supermarket floor. You break your hip, fracture your arm, get a concussion. It is a horrible shock, because in most slip and fall cases, the accident happens immediately without any warning, and your body is not prepared for the fall. Everyone says, “Call an attorney!” – and that is good advice because a personal injury lawyer can evaluate your particular slip and fall case and let you know if it is one that has the potential for a settlement either pre-trial, or in a courtroom.

Our Video Discusses Slip And Fall Cases Using Examples From Our Experience

Some slip and fall case are cut and dry where a store or municipality knew of  a potentially dangerous issue and did not within a reasonable amount of time rectify the situation, while other cases have different circumstances that would make it difficult to prove negligence. This video will elaborate on the criteria for a successful slip and fall case with candid discussion between Chester County / West Chester PA personal injury attorneys Peter Hart and Stephen Hart, using many examples of past cases that were either taken on, or deemed too thin and inconclusive to proceed to the next step.

Personal Injury Slip And Fall Case Conversation Video Transcript:


STEPHEN KARP: Pete how are you doing today?
PETER HART: I’m doing great Stephen and you?
STEPHEN KARP: I’m doing good too! We’re gonna talk today about slip and fall cases. Everybody has tripped and fell and stumbled and been hurt and all that, but there’s only a special kind of a case where under the law people can recover damages for.
PETER HART: Steve, just because somebody falls on someone else’s property it doesn’t necessarily make the property owner responsible – hey I fell one somebody’s property,  I want to file a claim. You must show that the property was defective, that there was a defect in the property and that the defect was substantial – not just a little small thing, a step that they tripped on, a rise or a curb, it has to be something really substantial.
STEPHEN KARP: So if I’m walking down the street wearing sandals and I trip over a thing that’s about an inch high, and it may not be great but it did cause me to trip, can I collect against that property?
PETER HART: No I would submit that you really couldn’t. It’s such an inconsequential defect. Every piece of property around the country, especially is West Chester, Chester County, they have defective sidewalks. When I say defective there’s minor defects, it’s only when it’s a substantial or major defects. And I’d say in that situation at least a couple of inches or so.
STEPHEN KARP: Yeah, what about that situation, Pete, let’s say you’re in a store, we normally see it in a store, normally in a food store for some reason. There’ll be something on the floor that was spilled there, is that a good case?
PETER HART: Sometimes it could be, sometimes not. You have to prove notice. the property owner has to either have been aware that there has been a defect in the property, and had the time to correct the defect.
STEPHEN KARP: Now you always give a good example, I’ve heard you give to clients, about grapes in a store.
PETER HART: Yeah a perfect example, in a supermarket you come around a corner and the grapes that were squished on the floor, you fall down and break your hip. Say for example a young kid came around the corner a minute before and bumped into the bin and knocked the grapes to the floor, I submit that they’re not gonna be held responsible.
STEPHEN KARP: My client slipped on milk or slipped on a grape and we don’t know if that was there twenty seconds before or an hour before.
PETER HART: Are the records kept, are there videos?
STEPHEN KARP: And you hear the owner of the store come over and say, “Hey I told you to clean that up twenty minutes ago and you didn’t!” That’s a good case.
PETER HART: Oh absolutely! And I had a case where somebody came out of a grocery store and the owner had moved in some supplies and left the wooden pallets right outside the door and they actually happened to be the same color or blended into the sidewalk. The gentleman came around the corner, caught his right food, went down, two or three operations trying to get better! Was that a case? I suspected, yeah. He knew the pallets there, the owner put the pallets there. they shouldn’t have been in the position that they were.
STEPHEN KARP: And my most interesting case was someone, there was a display in the store, a display going down the steps of little trinkets, and it was mesmerizing to see it. Well, you don’t put it down the steps because people normally know there’s steps there but they’re looking at the display – and down the steps they went! We get a lot of calls in the winter time, I went outside and I slipped in a parking lot somewhere – do I have a case?
PETER HART: Um, Probably not if it’s immediately after the snow storm because there’s a duty to clean up walks, make them reasonably safe, not completely safe, and they have a certain amount of time to do it. It’s kinda that notice issue, that a lot of statutes in Pennsylvania, a lot of local ordinances give the property owner twenty-four hours of so to clean it up.
STEPHEN KARP: It’s all what’s reasonable.
PETER HART: That’s right, it all boils down to reasonableness!

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