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Is Proving Notice Necessary To Win A Pennsylvania Trip And Fall Accident Case?

Trip and fall and slip and fall accidents happen frequently.  If the trip or slip and fall accidents happen at public establishments, such as hotels, restaurants, shopping malls, or supermarkets, injured fall down victims may recover damages from the public establishments.

One of the required elements that plaintiffs have to prove in order to prevail in a PA trip or slip and fall accident case is that the defendant had notice of the dangerous condition that caused them to fall.  There are 2 types of notice: actual and constructive. To learn more about actual and constructive notice in PA slip and fall accident cases, click here to read: Proving Notice in a Pennsylvania Slip-Trip-Fall Accident Case

However, there are situations where a plaintiff can still prevail in the lawsuit without proving notice.  Notice is not needed if the defendant’s negligence caused a fall hazard to exist. This was established in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court case of, Farrell v. Bonner, 424 Pa. 301 (1967).

In Farrell v. Bonner, the injured fall down victim slipped and fell when he stepped on a throw-rug covering a landing.  When the plaintiff stepped on the rug, it skidded. He lost his balance, fell and sustained serious injuries.

It was established at trial that the defendant often waxed the floor.  The wax accumulated, which led the defendant’s daughter to urge her to use less wax in fear of someone falling on the slick floor.  After plaintiff fell, there were marks left by his shoes showing how much wax was on the floor.  The indentation left by the plaintiff’s fall cut the wax to a depth of 1/8" to 1/4", with a width of 3/4" and a length of 18".

The court found that the defendant improperly applied the wax and created a dangerous condition.  The court further stated, “[i]n actions such as this, where plaintiffs seek to recover damages for personal injuries caused by negligence in creating and maintaining a dangerous condition, they are not required to prove the exact manner in which the condition developed; nor is it necessary to prove notice where the condition has been created by defendant's own antecedent active conduct.” 424 Pa. 304-305.

Therefore, if the dangerous hazard that caused individual to slip or fall is created by the defendant, then plaintiff does not have to prove notice.

Help After A PA Slip & Fall or Trip & Fall Accident

If you or a loved one had a slip or trip and fall accident in Pennsylvania or New Jersey and would like to explore your legal rights, feel free to contact the personal injury lawyers at White and Williams. 877.944.8396


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