Man in pain after slipping down a flight of stairs

What Makes A Property Owner Liable For A Slip and Fall?

You often might hear the term “slip and fall” accident.  These accidents refer to situations where an individual falls and sustains injuries on someone else’s property. Slip and fall accidents at businesses in Pennsylvania are a significant concern, as they can lead to severe injuries and substantial legal liabilities. These incidents often occur due to unsafe conditions on the premises, such as wet floors, poor lighting, or uneven surfaces. Businesses are legally required to maintain safe environments for customers and employees; failing to do so can result in negligence claims. As a result, the injured party may have the right to seek compensation for their injuries. Understanding the legal framework and preventive measures is essential for business owners and individuals to mitigate risks associated with these accidents.

What Makes A Property Owner In Pennsylvania Responsible For Such  Incidents?

  • Duty of Care: Pennsylvania property owners have a legal obligation to keep their premises safe for visitors.  The rules for slip and fall accidents on public property are governed by premises liability laws. These laws vary based on the status of the property owner (general business or private individual) and the status of the injured party (invitee, licensee, or trespasser).
    General businesses, such as grocery stores or retail shops, owe the highest duty of care. They are required to maintain their premises in a reasonably safe manner, which includes conducting regular inspections and addressing known hazards. If a customer is injured due to a condition like broken concrete or ice on a sidewalk adjacent to the business, the business can be held liable if it can be proven that they should have known about the hazard.
    Private property owners are held to a different standard, which varies depending on the status of the injured person. The standard is whether the injured person is an invitee, licensee, or trespasser. Invitees, who are typically invited to the property, must be protected from known hazards and potentially unknown hazards that should have been discovered.
    Licensees, who enter the property for a specific purpose with the owner’s permission, must be protected from hidden dangers. Guests who enter the property for social reasons (for example, friends visiting a home). Owners must warn licensees of any non-obvious dangers that the owner is aware of. Trespassers are people who enter the property without permission and generally do not have the right to expect a duty of care, except in cases where the property owner acts in a willful or wanton manner that leads to injury.
  • Notice of Hazard: For a property owner to be held responsible for a slip and fall accident, it must be proven that they knew or should have known about the hazardous condition and failed to correct it or warn visitors. This is known as “constructive notice” and is often the most challenging element to prove in a slip-and-fall case.
  • Causation: It must be shown that the hazardous condition directly caused the slip and fall accident. This means the injury must be a direct result of the hazard on the property, such as ice on a sidewalk, liquid on a supermarket floor, or an uneven staircase.
  • Injury and Damages: The victim must prove that they suffered actual injuries or damages as a result of the slip and fall. This can include medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses.
  • Comparative Negligence: Pennsylvania follows a comparative negligence rule. This means that if the injured party is found to be partially at fault for the accident, their compensation may be reduced by their percentage of fault. If they are more than 50% at fault, they cannot recover any damages.
  • Time Limits: Under Pennsylvania law, there is a statute of limitations for slip and fall claims. This means the injured party generally has two years after the accident to file a lawsuit. 


In summary, a property owner in Pennsylvania can be held responsible for a slip and fall accident if they failed to maintain a safe environment, knew or should have known about the hazard, did not correct the hazard or warn of its existence, and this negligence directly led to the accident and resulting injuries. However, the specific circumstances of each case can vary, and liability can be affected by the status of the injured person and whether they contributed to their own accident. Since these rules can become complex depending on the specific circumstances of the slip and fall accident, consulting with a legal professional for a detailed understanding and evaluation of a specific case is recommended​​​​. Cooper Schall & Levy has experienced personal injury attorneys who can help you navigate your case and protect your interests.  Contact our Philadelphia office for an initial complimentary consultation.

How to Prove Liability in a Slip and Fall Case

Slip and fall cases in Pennsylvania are governed by a complex series of laws and precedents that hinge on the careful examination of liability and duty of care. Whether it occurs on the slick floors of a  supermarket or the icy sidewalks of Philadelphia, a slip and fall case in Pennsylvania demands a thorough understanding of both state-specific regulations and premises liability law. In Pennsylvania, as in other states, premises liability law governs slip and fall accidents

Elements Of A Slip and Fall Lawsuit

To bring a successful slip and fall claim in Pennsylvania, the injured party (plaintiff) generally needs to prove the following elements:

  • Duty of Care: The property owner or occupier had a duty to maintain the premises in a reasonably safe condition or to warn of hazards.
  • Breach of Duty: The property owner or occupier breached that duty by either failing to maintain the property adequately or failing to provide warnings about known dangers.
  • Causation: The breach of duty was the direct and proximate cause of the injury.
  • Damages: The plaintiff suffered actual damages as a result of the fall, such as medical expenses, lost wages, or pain and suffering.

Specific Legal Requirements For A Slip and Fall Case in Pennsylvania

 Legal requirements for a slip and fall case that are specific to   Pennsylvania may also involve:

  • Notice of the Dangerous Condition: A critical component of many slip and fall cases is whether the property owner knew or should have known about the dangerous condition and failed to address it. In order to recover, Plaintiff must prove that Defendant had actual or constructive notice of the dangerous condition; that it had knowledge of prior repeated occurrences of the dangerous condition; or that the dangerous condition was traceable to or created by Defendant. Lanni v. Pennsylvania R.R. Co., 371 Pa. 106.
  • Comparative Negligence: Pennsylvania follows a modified comparative negligence rule, which means that the injured party’s compensation can be reduced by their percentage of fault. However, if they are found to be greater than 50% responsible for the accident, they may be precluded from recovering any compensation.
  • Statute of Limitations: For personal injury cases in Pennsylvania, including slip and fall accidents, the injured party generally has two (2) years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit.
  • Status of the Visitor: The duty of care owed by the property owner can vary depending on whether the injured party was an invitee (there for a business purpose), a licensee (a social guest), or a trespasser. Generally, the highest duty of care is owed to invitees.
  • Pennsylvania Governmental Immunity: Claims against government entities have additional procedural requirements and shorter notice periods. The Political Subdivision Tort Claims Act outlines the rules for claims against local municipalities, which have various immunities and exceptions.

After being injured in a slip and fall accident, your first priority should be to seek medical treatment.  It is important to get the care you need so that your injury does not get worse, and to begin developing a plan for your recovery.

If you decide to file a lawsuit, your medical records will also be an important piece of evidence. In order to have a strong case, it is important to document the extent of your injuries, the required treatment, and both the economic and noneconomic costs of your injuries.

Keep in mind that the biggest factor in determining a large slip and fall settlement or verdict is the severity of the sustained injury.

Individuals who usually receive large verdicts or settlements have injuries that required major changes to their lifestyle, both personally and professionally.  They also have injuries that necessitate expensive ongoing medical costs.

Although media attention would have you believe that large slip and fall compensation is commonplace, it is actually uncommon to see such high awards. It is important to consult with a personal injury attorney who is knowledgeable about Pennsylvania law to receive legal advice tailored to the specific circumstances of a slip and fall case. Contact Cooper Schall and Levy to help you navigate the complexities of the legal process, including dealing with insurance companies, filing lawsuits, and meeting all necessary legal requirements.

Doctor holding x-ray of broken ribs

Broken Ribs in a Slip and Fall

Slip and falls can lead to debilitating injuries. These injuries can be painful. They can require extensive medical attention and follow-up care in order to heal. They can keep you out of work resulting in significant lost wages. To put it simply, slip and fall injuries can hurt more than just your health, they can hurt your finances as well. While the extent of a person’s slip and fall injuries will greatly vary depending on the totality of the circumstances, there are some injury types that are quite commonly the result of a slip and fall. Fractured ribs, for instance, are commonly seen in slip and fall victims. Such an injury is not to be taken lightly and can have serious consequences if not properly treated.

Broken Ribs in a Slip and Fall

After a slip and fall or any other type of accident, it can be crucial that you receive immediate medical evaluation and continue to monitor your symptoms. Be clear with your treating doctors and health care professionals about what you are experiencing and do not discount the pain and discomfort you are going for. Those aches and pains you may be underreporting to your doctor may be symptoms of a serious health concern.  

Some of the symptoms of a broken rib may be subtle, but can still be a sign that you have sustained a rib fracture. Signs to be on the lookout for after a slip and fall that may point to the fact that you have broken a rib include:

  • Chest pain (particularly when breathing deeply or laughing)
  • Difficulty/painful breathing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Bruising in the chest area
  • Pain in the chest area
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Pain when pressure is applied to the breastbone

Paying attention to these red flags can help ensure that a broken rib is properly diagnosed and treated. Getting immediate and consistent care can help avoid further complications caused by your injury. While most ribs will heal fine and without complication, other times a rib fracture can lead to very serious health complications. Some of the more dangerous health complications that can develop due to a broken rib include:

  • Blood pooling between the chest and lungs (Hemothorax)
  • Reduced oxygen flow (hypoxia)
  • Damage to the lungs, liver, or spleen
  • Pneumonia

Rib fractures and complications that can arise from rib fractures can threaten your health and well-being. If your injuries were caused due to the negligent action or inaction of a property owner, you can pursue a personal injury claim seeking compensation for the harm that you have suffered. This means that you can pursue compensation for the cost of medical care needed to properly treat your injuries. You can also pursue compensation for lost income and loss of earning potential as well as the cost of physical or occupational therapy and the physical and emotional pain you suffered.

Philadelphia Personal Injury Attorneys

Injured in a slip and fall? Do not delay in reaching out to the trusted personal injury team at Cooper, Schall & Levy. Contact us today.

Person walking on icy sidewalk

Icy Sidewalk Slip and Falls

The season of icy sidewalks and walkways is upon us, Philadelphia. Even the most seasoned of northerners need to remain constantly vigilant in the winter months to be aware of such hazards and to take swift action in addressing such a hazard on their property. Unfortunately, property owners are not always as diligent as they should be in addressing the icy sidewalks and walkways they are responsible for maintaining. As a result, many are injured in icy sidewalk slip and falls.

Icy Sidewalk Slip and Falls

Icy sidewalks are, in and of themselves, a hazard. There is then the secondary danger of ice being brought inside after walking through the ice outside. This leaves puddles and slick surfaces inside which can be very dangerous as it greatly increases the likelihood of a visitor on the property being injured in a slip and fall. As such, property owners, who should be aware of the icy conditions, must take proper steps to remedy these dangers and keep property visitors safe from slip and fall harm.

Reasonable measures to remedy dangerous, icy sidewalks and their secondary effects will include things like promptly shoveling snow from sidewalks. It will also likely include things like salting the sidewalks. Inside the property, puddles brought in from the icy conditions outside should be mopped up promptly and wet floor signs posted accordingly to make patrons and visitors aware that the floor is slick and extra caution should be taken.

Falls caused by icy sidewalks can lead to serious injury. It is common for victims to be left with broken bones as different areas of the body carry the full force of impact in the fall. Oftentimes, hips are broken in such accidents as that is the area of the body a person is likely to land on. Wrists are also susceptible to breaking in slip and falls as a person reaches out to brace for the impact of the fall. Bone breaks and fractures are not only extremely painful, but often require careful and intensive follow-up care to ensure the bone properly heals.

Icy sidewalk slip and fall victims may also sustain head injuries and even traumatic brain injuries. In such accidents, a person may hit their head or the brain will be jolted without any direct impact at all. In either case, a traumatic brain injury may be sustained as a result. Traumatic brain injuries are serious in and of themselves and go undiagnosed all too often. Unfortunately, secondary injuries can be even more dangerous than the initial trauma to the brain. This is why if you have been in a slip and fall or other types of accident it can be so critical for you to be fully evaluated by a medical professional.

Slip and fall victims can sustain a wide range of serious injuries that leave them in pain, with significant medical bills, and causing them to lose income from missing work. In bringing a claim against the property owner for slip and fall injuries, the injury victim can seek compensation for the losses they have sustained as a result of the harm suffered due to the property owner’s negligence in failing to safely maintain their property.

Philadelphia Personal Injury Attorneys

Philadelphia, be careful out there this winter. If you have been injured in an icy sidewalk slip and fall, do not delay in reaching out to our personal injury team at Cooper, Schall & Levy. Contact us today.

wet floor sign

How Do You Prove Liability in a Slip and Fall Case?

Slip and fall accidents can lead to broken hips, fractured wrists, head trauma, and other serious injuries. Those that suffer injuries in slip and fall incidences can face pain and limited mobility, not to mention extensive and invasive medical treatment to try and repair the damage which has been done. In the face of the pain and anxiety that can come with being in a slip and fall accident, injury victims can face financial struggles. Medical bills can be significant and pile up all too easily. At the same time, an injured person may have had to take time off for work to recover, thus missing out on income opportunities. When you are hurt and under financial pressure, hearing that you can seek compensation through a slip and fall claim can give you great hope. A slip and fall claim is a type of premises liability claim in which a slip and fall victim can pursue financial recovery from a property owner or manager found liable for the accident that caused the injuries. Proving liability, however, can be difficult in such cases.

How Do You Prove Liability in a Slip and Fall Case?

In order to prove liability in a slip and fall claim, the injured party needs to be able to prove that the property owner or manager was negligent in keeping the property free from dangerous hazards that could do harm to the public. A property owner, however, will not be liable every time a person hurts themselves on their property. Instead, the elements of negligence must be met. These elements include:

  • The property owner owed the person a duty of care.
  • The property owner breached that duty.
  • The property owner’s breach of duty was the direct and proximate cause of injury to that person.
  • There were damages resulting from the property owner’s breach of duty.

Property owners owe visitors to their property a duty to keep the property safe and relatively free of hazards. Whether or not a property owner has breached this duty requires a deep and thoughtful evaluation of the particular circumstances in a case. 

The reasonableness standard acts as a guide to determine whether or not the property owner was negligent. The jury in a slip and fall case will look to whether the property owner acted reasonably under the circumstances. To make such a determination, there will be many different things to consider. Things like how long the hazard was present on the property will likely be relevant. Furthermore, whether the property owner knew or should have known of the dangerous property condition will also be relevant to the analysis.

The reasonableness on the part of the injury victim will also be relevant in determining liability in a slip and fall claim. While the property owner owes a property visitor a duty of care, the visitor also must exercise reasonable caution in avoiding hazards. There are, after all, reasonably foreseeable hazards on properties. Water and wet surfaces by a pool, for instance, should be foreseeable. A water puddle inside a store in an aisle, on the other hand, would not necessarily be expected and it is reasonable to assume that your average person may be taken by surprise and injured by slipping on such a puddle.

Philadelphia Personal Injury Attorneys

Slip and fall accidents can result in real and severe harm. Proving liability, however, can feel like an uphill battle. The dedicated personal injury team at Cooper, Schall & Levy will fight for you and your right to recover compensation for the harm you have suffered. Contact us today.

wet floor sign

Relevant Proof in Slip and Fall Claims

Slip and fall claims can be particularly complex. If you have been injured in a slip and fall, however, a slip and fall claim can allow you to recover critical compensation. This compensation can cover things such as medical bills incurred due to receiving treatment and follow-up care for your slip and fall injuries. Medical bills can pile up all too quickly as you receive the care you need. This can be particularly stressful if you have needed to take time off of work to recover from your injuries or even needed to leave your job if your injuries have rendered you unable to comply with your job duties. So, while skip and fall claims can be complex, they are needed in order to get the monetary compensation you deserve. Evidence demonstrating that a third party was at fault for causing your slip and fall, and that you were injured as a result of said slip and fall, will be critical if you want to have any success in bringing a claim.

Relevant Proof in Slip and Fall Claim

You will need to prove several important things in order to bring a successful slip and fall claim. Slip and fall claims almost always arise under a legal theory of negligence. The negligence action or inaction of another led to a person’s injuries and, therefore, the negligent party should be held accountable for paying the victim’s injury-related expenses. In a slip and fall claim, in order to prove a party was negligent, there are several things you will need to provide proof of.

You must be able to prove that there was a hazardous condition on the property. The hazardous condition is the first step in showing that a property owner or manager breached his or her or its duty to maintain a reasonably safe property that was relatively free from hazards. The hazardous condition could have been poor lighting, a staircase or handrails in disrepair, obstacles in a walkway or an uneven or slippery surface. Proof that the hazard existed may include security camera footage of the area or pictures of the hazard. Witnesses may also be able to attest to the dangerous property condition.

In a slip and fall claim, it is not enough, however, to simply prove that there was a hazardous property condition. In order to show that a property owner or manager breached a duty of care in maintaining a relatively safe property, you must be able to show that the owner or manager knew or should have known that the dangerous condition existed. This can be particularly challenging to demonstrate. Proof of knowledge or proving that knowledge of that hazard should have been present, can involve something like evaluating the maintenance and inspections of a property. For instance, if a property has a regular schedule for someone to clean the area, inspect the area, and check the status of property conditions, this could point to the fact that the hazard should have been by such inspection.

You will, of course, also need proof of your injuries and other damages you sustained due to the slip and fall. This is why receiving immediate medical treatment and consistent follow-up medical care is so crucial to a slip and fall claim or really any personal injury claim. Not only is consistent medical treatment important for your injuries to properly heal, but your medical records will be of central importance in showing the nature and extent of the injures you sustained in the slip and fall.

Philadelphia Personal Injury Attorneys

Slip and fall claims may be difficult, but they are far from impossible to successfully bring. You can count on the team at Cooper Schall & Levy to fight for you. We are here to do everything we can and will tirelessly pursue your right to monetary compensation for your slip and fall injuries. Contact us today.

injured man researching personal injury negligence

An Overview of Negligence in Personal Injury

Proving negligence is often required in pursuing claims stemming from accidents causing injuries. This includes slip and falls and automobile accidents. What, however, is negligence? At its essence, negligence means that someone did not act the way they should have and someone suffered harm as a result. Here, we will go into more details regarding negligence and its legal implications

What is negligence?

In most, if not the majority, of personal injury cases, you must prove a person was negligent before you can hold him or her legally responsible for the harm you incurred as a result of their negligence. To successfully prove negligence, there are four elements to prove, including duty, breach, causation, and damages.

Duty refers to the legal duty a defendant owed to a plaintiff, the injured party seeking compensation for harm suffered. There are certain situations where people owe each other a duty of care. For instance, when operating a motor vehicle on public roads, a person is expected to act with a certain level of care, operate the vehicle safely, and comply with the rules of the road. Other times, it is a relationship between two people that creates the duty. For instance, a doctor owes a patient a duty of care to provide him or her with reasonable medical care.

Breach refers to the defendant’s action or inaction which represented a violation of the legal duty owed to the plaintiff. Courts will use the “reasonably prudent person” standard in most cases to see if a defendant’s conduct breached the duty owed. Essentially, it is a comparison to how the average person would act if put in a certain situation.

The causation element of negligence means that a plaintiff will need to show that the actions or inaction of the defendant caused his or her damages. It is not enough for a person to simply be acting carelessly or recklessly. The negligent action must have been the cause of the plaintiff’s harm. The plaintiff will only be able to recover for the harm that was caused by the negligent action or inaction. With causation, it must also have been reasonably foreseeable that the negligence may cause an injury. Sometimes, through the most random acts of nature, an action may lead to an injury that no one could have predicted. In this type of case, a defendant may not be held liable for the resulting injury

Lastly, the negligence must have directly resulted in the plaintiff suffering harm, or damages. Specifically, the plaintiff must have suffered some harm which would allow a court to compensate him or her for losses sustained due to the negligence. Usually, this compensation comes in the form of monetary compensation for things such as medical expenses, property damages, lost wages, and more.

Philadelphia Personal Injury Attorneys

Have you been injured by the negligence of another? If so, the trusted personal injury attorneys at Cooper Schall & Levy are here to pursue your legal right to a full and fair monetary recovery. Contact us today.

Wet floor sign

Slip and Falls

You may have been at work or visiting a friend’s house, or out on a trip to the grocery store. The truth of the matter is that a slip and fall can occur anywhere. While children and older people are particularly susceptible to injuries, anyone can be seriously injured in a slip and fall accident. Injuries resulting from slip and falls are far too common. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has estimated that 15% of all accidental deaths in the U.S. are caused by slip and fall accidents. This makes slip and falls only second to car accidents as a leading cause of accidental deaths in the country. A person or business responsible for managing property has a duty to those visiting the property to maintain safe conditions. A violation of this duty exposes them to legal liability for any resulting injuries caused by dangers on the property.

Common Causes of Slip and Falls

Slip and falls happen at personal residences and places of business. They happen inside and outside in all kinds of weather. Hazardous landscape conditions on a property expose people to unnecessary danger. The most common causes of slip and fall accidents include:

  • Loose flooring (rugs, mats, and floorboards)
  • Sidewalks in disrepair
  • Potholes in parking lots
  • Uneven surfaces
  • Ripped carpeting
  • Cluttered floors, such as those with trash or other debris
  • Recently mopped or waxed flooring
  • Spilled liquids
  • Poor lighting
  • Cords running across a walkway

Also, weather conditions contribute to many slip and falls. While a property owner may not be able to control the weather, he or she should still be diligent in remedying dangerous conditions produced by inclement weather. For instance, in icy winter conditions, streets should be plowed. Sidewalks should be shoveled. Steps and walkways should be salted. Failure to address weather-related hazards on a property opens a property owner up to legal liability for any injuries the hazard may cause.

Ladder and stair related slip and fall incidences are also common. Poorly constructed staircases can be particularly dangerous and lead to severe injuries. A stair related slip and fall may be caused by something like a lack of handrail. Ladder injuries are often caused by a failure to secure the ladder or have someone hold it to stabilize it while in use.

Another common cause of slip and falls that is not talked about as often is improper training. The workplace is the frequent site of slip and falls. Some workers, such as those in manufacturing or construction, may be particularly susceptible to slip and fall incidences, especially if they have not received the training necessary to be aware of hazardous conditions on the job site and how to safely navigate the hazards. Manufacturing and construction workers often must spend a significant amount of time walking on slick surfaces or navigating uneven terrain or narrow pathways. Employers must train workers to make sure they are not only aware of these potential hazards, but they know how to properly maneuver the work conditions.

Trusted Legal Representation for Slip and Fall Injury Victims

The potential injuries caused by a slip and fall may include sprains, strains, broken bones, and head injuries, among other things. These types of injuries are serious and can have substantial health implications for the victim. If you have been injured by a hazardous property condition, you may have the right to bring a slip and fall claim seeking compensation for your injuries and losses. Contact the dedicated slip and fall attorneys at Cooper, Schall & Levy today.

After a Slip and Fall

girl with a broken arm in a cast with a doctorStep #1 After a slip and fall: Seek medical attention.

Your first priority following any kind of slip or fall is your health or the health of a loved one. Seek medical attention immediately so that you know you’re getting the treatment you need. What’s more, the quicker you document your injuries, the easier it will be to provide documented proof of the incident.

Commercial and residential property owners are responsible for keeping their grounds in a safe condition. When they fail to do this, injuries can result. Our experienced attorneys have the knowledge and skill to represent victims and defend businesses in premises liability lawsuits. Contact us  Cooper Schall and Levy to set up a free consultation 215 561 3313.