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Scranton Personal Injury Lawyer > Blog > Personal Injury > Duration Of Hazard: A Crucial Element In Establishing Slip-And-Fall Negligence

Duration Of Hazard: A Crucial Element In Establishing Slip-And-Fall Negligence


For many plaintiffs in Pennsylvania who become injured after slips and falls, establishing negligence represents a potential barrier to compensation. There are many elements of negligence to consider, including duty of care, breach of duty, causation, and injuries. These victims might not understand why it is important to show how long a specific hazard was allowed to go unaddressed by the property owner. After all, why should it matter whether a property owner left a spill for two hours or two minutes?

Duration of Hazard Becomes Central Issue in Gas Station Slip-and-Fall Trial 

On November 14th, JD Supra reported on a slip-and-fall case in Pennsylvania, highlighting the way in which the duration of a hazard can affect outcomes. Put simply, the plaintiff slipped and fell on some kind of “slippery substance.” This led to an injury lawsuit against the gas station owner, who immediately argued that the exact source of this slip could not be identified with any modicum of accuracy.

The plaintiff then argued that the defendant should have been conducting regular inspections in order to identify and address slipping hazards – but this fell on deaf ears. The court immediately pointed to Section 343 of the Second Restatement of Tort, which clearly states that the plaintiff must show the “duration of hazard” in such a situation. The plaintiff failed to do this. As such, the court concluded that there was insufficient evidence to suggest that the defendant had enough time to spot the hazard, post a warning sign, and clean up the spill.

At the end of the day, this highlights a major distinction in injury law. Showing that a defendant could have noticed a spill is not the same as showing that they should have noticed a spill. Theoretically, a defendant is “capable” of noticing a spill the second the liquid touches the ground. A defendant might also be capable of cleaning up the spill within 30 seconds if they rush to the back room, grab a mop, and get to work. However, is it not reasonable to expect such a response from the average property owner. As such, the central question revolves around whether they should have addressed the spill within a certain amount of time. For best results, plaintiffs should work with qualified Pennsylvania injury lawyers who can gather evidence showing the spill existed for a specific amount of time before the accident occurred.

Where Can I Find a Qualified, Experienced Personal Injury Attorney in Pennsylvania? 

If you have been searching for a qualified, experienced Scranton personal injury attorney, look no further than the Needle Law Firm. We know that a slip and fall can easily lead to life-altering consequences. In order to pursue compensation that covers these various damages, plaintiffs must overcome common challenges that may arise in court. Establishing the duration of slipping hazards is only one potential example of such a challenge, and there may be many others based on the unique circumstances of each case. Book your consultation today to get started with an effective action plan.




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