Recently, a jury awarded approximately $400,000 in a slip and fall accident that took place at a Popeyes restaurant of which approximately $96,000 went towards covering medical bills of the injured party. Although described as a straightforward slip and fall accident, the decision concerning the damages award was largely based on the fact that the plaintiff—Christian Miller—lost her career opportunity as a result of the accident.
The accident was specifically caused by a saturated floor mat, which Miller slipped on, causing her to fall and hit her head on the floor. She suffered a concussion and neck injury, as well as an injury to her shoulder, which almost completely separated the tendon from the bone. Mille was in training and in the process of applying to be a firefighter and lost the opportunity to pursue that career given the injury to her shoulder. Although there had been settlement discussions in mediation, the parties ultimately could not reach an acceptable agreement.
Slip and Fall Accidents
Although the jury award in this case may have been unusual, slip and fall accidents are quite common. Many of them occur as a result negligence, most frequently on sidewalks, in public places such as pools and restrooms, on hotel premises, and restaurants or bars, particularly if someone has recently cleaned the floor.
The injuries in these accidents can be severe, ranging from broken bones to even spinal cord and brain injuries. Often times, they are due to improper maintenance, missing warning signs, or a spill that has gone unaddressed. While it may seem that a slip and fall accident is minor, sometimes they can result in injuries so severe that people cannot continue working in their careers.
Under Pennsylvania law, the duty owed by a property owner is dependent upon the status of the plaintiff, and whether they are a trespasser, licensee, or invitee. In most slip and fall cases, victims are invitees—frequenting a property in order to do business there. A property owner is liable for physical harm caused to invitees by a condition if they knew of the condition and should have realized that it involved an unreasonable risk of harm to invitees (or would know of it by exercising reasonable care); should have expected that the invitee would not discover or realize the danger; and failed to exercise reasonable care to protect the invitees against danger.
These claims can get tricky in terms of how much information a plaintiff is charged with providing, and the details and evidence that must be submitted in order to have a successful claim for negligence. This, of course, involves testimony from witnesses and a close examination of the evidence (because this examination reveals whether the property owner had prior constructive knowledge of the existence of the danger).
Solnick & Associates, LLC
At Solnick & Associates, we have years of experience representing victims in slip and fall accidents. Our firm has experience in personal injury and negligence cases. Contact us today for a free consultation.