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Proving Notice in a Pennsylvania Slip-Trip-Fall Accident Case

Pennsylvania Slip & Fall Law - What an Injured Person Must Prove

Out of all the different types of accident and injury cases, fall down accident cases such as slip and fall or trip and fall accident cases tend to be one of the most difficult types of cases to prove. That’s because in Pennsylvania, to hold a business or individual liable for a fall down accident, the injured person must prove the following:

  1. The property owner owed a duty to the injured person.
  2. The property owner breached that duty.
  3. The breach caused the accident.
  4. The accident caused damages, i.e., personal/physical injury.

Most fall down accident cases are fought on the issue of whether the property owner breached a duty, or committed some act of negligence. Proving negligence in a fall down accident case in Pennsylvania requires evidence of actual or constructive notice.

What is Actual Notice in a Fall Down Accident Case in PA?

Actual notice is what it sounds like. The property had actual knowledge of the defect at some point prior to the accident, and therefore should have rectified the situation. For example, in a fall down accident at a grocery store caused by water which leaked from a cooler onto the floor, actual knowledge exists where the store manager knew about the problem for say, weeks, before the accident at issue. Customers may have complained about the problem before the accident at issue or worse, another customer could have previously slipped on the water.

Proving actual notice requires expertise in the discovery process. When defending fall down accident cases, stores are notorious for either intentionally or negligently failing to produce all documents relevant to the issue of prior, actual knowledge. Whether it’s video surveillance, incident reports, pictures, maintenance reports, maintenance logs, etc., it is crucial to ask for the right documents and evidence. In many cases, seeking court order to force the defendant-store to produce evidence will be necessary.

What is Constructive Notice in a Fall Down Accident Case in PA?

Constructive notice is more complex. Proving constructive notice requires evidence that the property owner should have known about the defect. Put another way, in situations where there is no proof of actual notice, there must be evidence to support the argument that the owner should have known about the dangerous condition. Factors which help that determination include:

  • the number of persons using the property,
  • the frequency of such use,
  • the nature of the defect,
  • its location on the property,
  • its probable cause, and
  • the opportunity which the property owner had to resolve the defect.

Proving constructive notice requires careful investigation into the property itself, to identify key factors, such as how many people are present at a given time, what caused the defect, and patterns of behavior related to the specific property/establishment. For example, Friday and Saturday nights tend to be busy times for restaurants and bars.

Related Slip and Fall Accident Articles

Pennsylvania Slip and Fall Accident Lawyers

If you were injured as a result of a slip and fall accident, you probably incurred various medical bills and expenses.  You may recover your bills and expenses from the property owner, as well as, compensation for your pain and suffering.  For more information, feel free to contact our Pennsylvania slip and fall lawyers at 877.944.8396. 

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