The Law Firm of Leisawitz Heller

Could a puddle of water warrant a premises liability claim?

Imagine you are walking through the grocery store. You head down the dairy aisle to pick up some milk, and suddenly, you are lying on the floor after slipping in a puddle of water and falling.

Would this be grounds for a slip-and-fall accident claim? The answer depends on several factors.

  1. What was your status on the property? Property owners in Pennsylvania owe a higher duty to protect someone invited onto their property, like an invitee, than they owe to a trespasser, for instance. If you were an invitee, the property owner likely had a duty to protect you from hazardous conditions. A person's status is a major factor in determining whether a property owner can be responsible for injuries.
  2. Was the property owner negligent? To determine this, you will need to know how long a puddle was there, whether the property owner knew about the water (or should have known about it) and what he or she did or did not do to address the situation. If the puddle was the result of a known problem, and if the property owner failed to clean up the spill or warn others in a timely manner, for instance, then there may be grounds for a premises liability claim.
  3. Did the accident cause injuries? If you did not suffer injuries as a result of the accident, then there would be no reason to file a legal claim.
  4. When did the accident happen? In Pennsylvania, people have two years to file a lawsuit after a slip-and-fall accident. If it has been over two years since a slipping accident, then you likely cannot file a legal claim.
  5. Were you intoxicated, distracted or reckless? Often, property owners attempt to defend against claims by blaming the accident solely on the victim. You can expect this defense if you were also negligent.

These are all broad points that can help you get an idea of whether a recent slip-and-fall accident you or a loved one suffered could have the elements necessary to support a legal claim. To determine your options for certain, you can consult a personal injury attorney.

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