Winter is here, and with it comes an increased risk of falling on snow or ice. Homeowners, retail store managers, and owners of restaurants and public facilities have a legal obligation to clear their parking lots and sidewalks from ice and snow. Those who fail to do so can be held liable for injuries under premises liability laws.
All property owners and managers are required to clear away snow and ice in a reasonable amount of time following a storm or freeze. In a premises liability lawsuit, the burden of proof falls on the plaintiff who must prove that the responsible party was negligent in their duty, thus responsible for their injury as a result of the slip and fall accident. It is important that you contact an experienced premises liability lawyer as soon as possible after your fall so that vital evidence can be collected.
Evidence depends on where the slip and fall took place. The stipulations vary between homeowners, businesses, and government property owners. A knowledgeable slip and fall lawyer will be able to obtain the evidence that you need to support your claim. If you are injured, receiving medical help is your number one priority. If you can stay where you are, do not move until help arrives. If you need to move to a safe area, do so with help from witnesses.
Taking pictures of the area is vital. If you are injured and unable to take the pictures yourself, ask someone to help you take them. Be sure to take pictures of the areas surrounding the spot where you fell to document possible negligence on the part of the property owner for failure to clear ice or snow.
Witness testimony is also an important piece of evidence needed to support your claim. Family and friends that are with you at the time of the fall can certainly give their testimony, but witness accounts from people unrelated to you will have more merit. Ask witnesses to describe what they saw, what level of pain or suffering you showed, and what the conditions were surrounding the area where you fell.
Once you see your doctor or visit the emergency room, be sure to ask for copies of your x-rays, CT scans, or MRIs as well as your medical assessment forms and diagnosis. Be specific when speaking to the doctor when asked how your injury occurred. Include the fact that you slipped on ice or snow so it becomes part of your medical record. Your injuries must be the direct result of your slip and fall on the ice or snow to result in a successful claim.
If you or someone you know has been injured in a slip and fall accident, the experienced Philadelphia premises liability lawyers at Galfand Berger LLP can help you claim the compensation you may be entitled to receive. Call us at 1-800-222-USWA (8792), or contact us online to schedule a consultation today. Our offices are located in Philadelphia, Allentown, Lancaster, and Reading, Pennsylvania and we serve clients throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey.