Are There Examples Where a Person Contributed to Their Own Injury in a Slip-and-Fall Case? How Does That Impact the Case?
Contributory negligence is something both the plaintiff’s attorney and the defense attorney will look at to determine if some of the accident was attributable to the plaintiff and, if so, to what extent. Pennsylvania utilizes modified contributory negligence, and follows a 51 percent rule. The rule states that a plaintiff can only seek damages from the defendant if they are less than 51 percent at fault for the accident. The 51 percent rule makes it so that a person can only prevail in a lawsuit if they were the least responsible for an accident. Thus, you can be partly responsible for your own accident, but as long as you are not more than 50% at fault, you can still recover in a lawsuit.
There are a number of examples where the plaintiff can be assigned a percentage of fault, with regards to slip-and-falls. On snow and ice, for example, someone taking a walk the day after it has snowed should take note of places where people have not yet shoveled or places that look icy—they can reasonably be said to have to be on the lookout for snow and ice. If they come across a large patch of ice that is very visible to the naked eye, walk right over it without paying any attention, and fall, they can be said to be partly at fault because he/she should have know not to encounter that ice.
In a supermarket, if a person wearing six-inch heels falls because the floor is a little wet, it could be said that choice of footwear contributed to her fall. In other words the fall might be partly attributable to the wet floor and partly attributable to the choice of footwear. There are a number of other examples where someone could be found to be contributorily negligent, and they can be very case specific.
Who Generally Would Be Held Liable in a Slip-and-Fall or Trip-and-Fall Case Under Different Scenarios? In Other Words, Who Will Pay the Medical Bills?
In Pennsylvania, the property owner or the person or business renting the property will usually be held liable, though there are times where it might instead be a third party responsible for the maintenance, upkeep, and repair of the property. The third party might have a contractual relationship with the property owner or the person renting the property to determine who is responsible for the maintenance, upkeep, and repair.
In terms of who will pay for medical bills, certain businesses have what’s called a medical pay on their insurance policies, meaning if a patron slips and falls inside a supermarket, that supermarket might have a certain amount (like $5,000 or $10,000) allocated to pay for medical expenses, regardless of who is at fault. If you fall in a store that has medical pay and make a claim, they might agree to pay a certain amount of medical bills while not necessarily agreeing that the fall was their fault.
If there is no medical pay, you’re generally required to pay your own medical bills, at least upfront, and then seek reimbursement through pursuit of a claim or a case. People who have their own personal insurance can have their medical bills covered, in the same way they would if they suffered any type of injury anywhere; the insurance will then assert what’s called a lien, which is them asking to be paid back if you get a settlement or a verdict based on your claim.
What Advice Would You Give to Someone Who Has Been Injured on Either a Business Property or a Personal Property and Is Hesitant to File a Claim Against a Family Member, Friend, or Business Owner They Know?
I would tell anyone who’s hesitant to bring a claim to remember that you’re not really suing or bringing a claim against the person; rather, you’re bringing the claim against their insurance company. Businesses, individuals, and property owners should all have adequate insurance—that’s what insurance is for, to compensate someone who gets injured in an accident. I’ve come across this situation a lot, and we encourage people to talk to that friend or family member and let them know that it’s not personal and they’re not really suing them. Accidents happen, and that is what insurance is for.
For more information on Slip-and-Fall Cases in Pennsylvania, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling Rooney Philly Lawyer (215) 279-8400 today.