Water and the Floor in Slip and Fall Accidents in Pennsylvania
Restaurants, hotels, shopping malls, and other businesses may be held legally responsible when water or other fluid accumulated on a floor causes people to slip and fall, injuring themselves. In fact, this is a common cause of slip and fall accidents throughout Pennsylvania. A skilled Pennsylvania slip and fall attorney can help those hurt in a slip and fall accident recover damages from the responsible individual or entity, which in many cases, is the property owner.
Slip and fall legal cases brought by injured individuals require proving that the business owner or individual in charge of the property knew of the condition or should have known about it, based on the circumstances. Legally, the injured individual, as a plaintiff in a personal injury claim, must show that the defendant property owner was negligent. Since slip and fall cases proceed as a type of injury claim titled “premises liability,” this means that the status of the victim is important to recovering damages. In a situation involving injuries suffered in a business, the victim is an invitee, or someone who was invited onto the property for a commercial purpose.
Because of the legal status of those invited into a business, such as a restaurant, the property owner owes a different duty of care than in an ordinary negligence claim. For example, business owners are required to regularly inspect their property, and if they identify dangerous conditions, they must repair them or place an obvious warning. An owner that fails to meet this duty of care may be held responsible when visitors suffer injuries due to their violated duty.
Often, premises liability cases require proving that the owner knew of the condition that caused the accident. This knowledge may be shown by evidence that they were alerted to the problem, such as water on the floor, or should have known about the problem. An example of an owner who should have known might be a business owner who is aware of a leak but may not know the exact source of the water.
Additionally, there must have been enough time between the property owner’s knowledge and the accident, such that the owner failed to meet their duty of care. A few minutes or hours of being aware of accumulated water on the floor may not be enough to impose liability on a store owner. This is because the crux of the legal claim is that the owner failed to address the issue. There must be a reasonable amount of time, such that the owner should have known (or knew) of the issue but failed to take proper steps to address the problem.
The unique nature of each slip and fall accident case requires assessing the facts carefully. At Needle Law, our premises liability attorneys have been representing injured people and their families for decades, helping them seek compensation for their harm. We provide a free consultation for Pennsylvania accident victims. Call us at (570) 344-1266 or use our online form.