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Slips and Falls in the City: What to Do

It is a situation that we all have faced at one point. Walking through the icy streets of Philadelphia is no easy task. Whether the ground is covered in ice, snow, or the ever present black slush that lingers in some areas for weeks, we all have to trek through it to get to our destination. Without fail, no matter how careful we tread, we slip on patch of ice that wasn’t salted or snow that wasn’t shoveled. Even if it is summer, heavy rains can make some surfaces impossible to walk across safely. Not to mention the fear shared by all people who walk in the city – the dreaded slip and fall into an open manhole.

Regardless of the reason why, a slip and fall is scary, especially if you are older or in poor health. When the medical bills come in, you can tend to feel helpless. If you were injured in a slip and fall, there are methods that the seasoned attorneys at Freundlich & Littman, LLC can use to ensure that you are compensated for your pain, suffering, economic and financial losses. Additionally, experienced attorneys will get your medical bills get paid.

What is a Slip and Fall?

A “slip and fall” or a “trip and fall” is a term used for personal injury accidents where the plaintiff, the person injured, slips, trips, or stumbles on the property of another as a result of a hazardous condition on the property. It is a common tort action from which you can recover from your injuries, but it can be complicated depending on your situation. A knowledgeable attorney who communicates with you during the whole process will make the road to recovery smoother.

If you have been injured in a slip and fall, there are a few things to keep in mind.

It Matters Where You Slipped and Fell

One of the issues to keep in mind first is where you slipped and fell. A slip and fall on private property is different for a slip and fall on public property. This does not mean that you will not be able to receive compensation for your injuries as a result of the slip and fall. It merely means that the two cases are different.

  • Private Property

Private property simply means any property that is not owned by the government. This could refer to a personal residence, a retail store’s property, or a restaurant. Generally, if a property owner opens up their residence or business to the public, then they owe a duty of reasonable care to anyone who enters onto it. That means that owner must keep their property free of hazardous situations or warn the public of a hazardous situation in order to prevent a slip and fall.

  • Public Property

Public property does not refer to granting access to every member of the public. It simply refers to property owned by the government. Generally, governments – state, local, or federal – have immunity from tort actions. The City of Philadelphia, however, has waived tort immunity only in specific circumstances. As it pertains to slip and fall situations, the City will only be held responsible for “commonwealth real estate, highways and sidewalks…potholes and other dangerous conditions”.[1]

How Do I Prove It?

As the injured individual, you have the burden of proving your slip and fall case. This means that you must show that the defendant, the person you are suing, had a duty owed to you which they violated, directly causing you foreseeable harm.

For slip and falls, you must show that the property owner did one of three things: (1) they caused the hazardous condition; (2) they knew about the condition and failed to remedy it in a reasonable time; or (3) they should have known the condition, but they failed to reasonably inspect their property.[2]

If the slip and fall occurred on property owned by the City of Philadelphia, you must also prove that you received injuries in excess of $1,500 and that any medical condition, loss of limb, or disfigurement is permanent.

How Much Can I Collect?

If you slip and fall on property not owned by the City of Philadelphia, there is no cap on how much damages you can seek at trial. On the other hand, there is a cap to the amount you can recover from the City of Philadelphia. You may only recover up to $500,000 dollars.[3] It is important to note that if you trespass on property, either intentionally or unintentionally, you can recover from private property owners, but not from the City of Philadelphia.

What Do I do Next?

If you were injured from a slip and fall in the City of Philadelphia, do not wait to contact Freundlich & Littman, LLC. The sooner you reach out, the sooner you can recover your medical costs. Time is of the essence, especially if you were injured in a slip and fall on City of Philadelphia property. State law mandates that you must put the City on notice within six months of the date of injury. Call us today at 215-545-8500 to schedule a free consultation.

[1] 42 Pa.C.S.A. § 8522(b)

[2] 42 Pa.C.S.A. § 8553(c)

[3] [3] 42 Pa.C.S.A. § 8522(b)


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