Slips and Falls in Pennsylvania

Slippery when wet

When a person enters the property of another, including a business, there is a certain level of safety owed to the entrants. And, fortunately, the law requires homeowners and business owners to keep their property safe. Injuries suffered when a person falls on someone’s property are governed by slip and fall law. Slip and fall cases include injuries sustained from wet floor surfaces, cracked sidewalks, black ice, improper signage, and hidden defects.

$6.5 Million Settlement

A Pennsylvanian woman recently settled a slip and fall case with dairy company, Cream-O-Land Dairy, for $6.5 million. In this case, the defendant delivered crates of milk to the walk-in refrigerator of a school’s cafeteria. The plaintiff was severely injured when she slipped on liquid while reaching to pull drinks from one of the crates, according to the complaint. It was alleged that there was no liquid on the floor prior to the delivery and the liquid leaked from the milk containers.

The plaintiff’s expert discussed common industry practice. “Industry practice requires that the delivered product be inspected to assure that there is no leakage prior to the delivery personnel’s leaving the customer’s location.” In the case, the delivery personnel and the company knew the containers could be damaged during transport and storage. Instead of correcting the hazard, the defendant dairy company, and employee, failed to exercise due care to ensure delivery of the products did not present a hazard.

PA Slip and Fall Law

Slip and fall laws in Pennsylvania provide a certain standard of care that requires business owners or store owners to inspect the premises for any obvious or hidden defects. All dangerous conditions must be fixed! Public policy encourages store owners to keep the premises in a reasonably safe condition by conducting regular inspections. Failure to conduct reasonable inspections is a common cause of accidents, and the property owners can be liable for damages. NOTE: There is an exception if the person is a trespasser.

In many cases, employers impute the responsibility to inspect the area and conditions onto the employees, and the employer fails to ever conduct any actual inspections. Such behavior places the employer in a vulnerable position to be liable. In the Cream-O-Land case, the responsibility to inspect is placed on the delivery personnel, but pursuant to the doctrine of respondeat superior (or vicarious liability), any negligent acts done by the employee can be imputed on the employer.

Proving Negligence

Possibly the hardest part of a slip and fall case is proving the element of negligence. Pennsylvania law imputes liability on the employer if the employer created the danger, the employer knew about the dangers and improperly handled the hazard, or if the employer should have known of the danger. In the Cream-O-Land case, the plaintiff presented evidence that the employer knew the containers could be damaged during transport and leak liquid onto the floor.

If you have been injured while on another person’s premises, you may be entitled to recovery. The Pennsylvania personal injury attorneys at Solnick & Associates, LLC are here to help you seek compensation for your damages. Contact us or call (215) 481-9979 today for a free confidential consultation.

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