Pittsburgh Slip and Fall Lawyer
Slipping, tripping, or falling sounds benign, but the injuries that can result are often serious. Slick ice or water, untended steps, or poor lighting can all cause preventable injuries.
If you were injured in a slip and fall incident and would like to review your potential to recover damages with a personal injury attorney, our Pittsburgh personal injury attorneys would be happy to provide a free consultation.
When a person falls and is injured in Pennsylvania, an important distinction as to the classification of who you are when you fall on a premises is an important one. In Pennsylvania, the three (3) categories that persons would fit into if they were to fall on another person's premises would be either business visitor, licensee, or trespasser.
If a person is a trespasser, a property owner owes a duty to the trespasser not to affirmatively injure the trespasser unless the trespasser intends to do harm to the property owner. The property owner would not be responsible to the trespasser for ordinary negligence, however, a property owner would may be liable to a trespasser for intentionally injuring the trespasser.
A licensee is someone who he property owner permits to come onto his or her premises. The property owner owes a duty to the licensee to warn the licensee of defects in the property of which the property owner is aware but which the property owner believes the licensee will not discover in spite of the licensee's diligence.
Business Visitor or Invitee
The last category is that of business visitor or business invitee. The property owner is responsible to the business invitee to inspect his or her premises to make certain that it is safe for the business invitee and warn of any defective condition, even if it is a condition which the business visitor may be able to discover, if there is a possibility that the business visitor will not realize the danger or discover it.
Simple examples of the above categories are as follows:
- A property owner may not shoot a trespasser who was walking through his backyard.
- If a licensee is on your premises as a social guest, the property owner would have to warn the guest of a hole in the floor under the rug before the licensee falls through it.
- If a plumber is on the premises as a business invitee to fix the plumbing, the landowner would have to warn the plumber that the third step leading up to the second floor is broken and may cause him to fall on his way up to fix the leak on the second floor. Even if the step looks broken, the owner must anticipate that the plumber will not stop to inspect the step or may not notice it is broken.
Falls can be caused by ice and snow accumulations as well as by defective products such as broken walkers commonly used by the elderly. Falls have also been caused by defective automatic doors and defective elevators. These are just a few examples of the types of falls people can experience which can give rise to liability against the property owner.
When a municipality is involved in a fall or in any kind of accident, it is often necessary to give notice to the municipality of the claim to be made within a short time after the accident, typically six (6) months so that an injured person should contact us as soon as possible.