A recent Pennsylvania Superior Court ruling went in favor of a museum patron who tripped and fell when exiting an exhibit. The outcome highlights the fact that a tripping hazard need not be something that is broken down or dramatically dilapidated in order to give you the chance to pursue your case in court. In other words, if you’ve been hurt in a trip-and-fall situation, be sure to take prompt action and consult knowledgeable Pennsylvania premises liability counsel about your potential case.
The guest, Christina, was visiting a science museum in Philadelphia one day in August 2014 when she walked through an interactive exhibit focused on the brain. The exhibit involved some climbing. As Christina exited the attraction, she “stepped down off of an abnormally large step onto an uneven surface where the added/spongy floor meets the hard floor and was caused to trip and fall on the uneven/unstable surface of the exhibit,” she alleged in her complaint. As she indicated during the case, the exit area gave the appearance of a hard, even surface but was actually a soft, foamy, and uneven area, and that unevenness caused her fall.
In most trip-and-fall cases, the injured person (who becomes the plaintiff in the lawsuit) will accuse the owner (or other person or entity who’s responsible for the property’s upkeep) of engaging in negligence, which means that person or entity (the defendant) either did something or failed to do something that created an unreasonable risk of harm, and that risk was what caused the plaintiff to suffer her injuries.
In Christina’s situation, she asserted that the museum was negligent by virtue of the way it designed the exhibit, the way it maintained the exhibit, and its failure to post a sign warning of the dangers that the exhibit’s exit posed.
The museum argued that there was nothing about the exhibit that posed an unreasonable risk of harm and that it was entitled to a judgment in its favor without even requiring a trial. The Superior Court, however, ruled for Christina and concluded that she was entitled to pursue her case and have her day in court. The representative of the museum conceded that there were some areas that were “unlevel.” This was enough proof to keep the injured woman’s case going forward because it meant that, if a jury believed Christina, it could find that the exhibit’s exit was defective and that the museum knew or should have known about that defect.
Another essential part of any trip-and-fall plaintiff’s lawsuit is showing that the thing that injured you was an “unreasonable danger.” This requirement was, like the other one, not something that stopped Christina from taking her case to trial. These types of decisions are generally made by juries (or judges in cases tried without a jury) after a trial, which had not yet taken place in Christina’s case.
So what does this all mean? It means that the item that caused you to trip and fall doesn’t necessarily have to be some dilapidated, broken-down thing in order to be what the law considers an “unreasonable danger.” Many different types of tripping hazards can potentially allow the people hurt by them to recover damages in court. If you’ve been hurt in a trip-and-fall accident, talk to a seasoned professional who is familiar with these cases. The Pennsylvania trip-and-fall accident attorneys at Needle Law Firm have been helping injured people for many years pursue their rights and seek a fair judgment or settlement to compensate them for the harm they suffered.
Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation by calling (570) 344-1266.
More blog posts:
Whom Do You Sue? A Philadelphia Case Offers Insight into the Workings of Some Slip-and-Fall Cases, Pennsylvania Accident Lawyer Blog, Oct. 16, 2017
Water and the Floor in Slip and Fall Accidents in Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Accident Lawyer Blog, Sept. 25, 2017