Frequency of Floor Inspections and Slip and Fall Lawsuits

December 14, 2018

Contact an Easton Slip and Fall Attorney Today For Assistance

Though slip-and-fall accidents are commonplace — in Pennsylvania and elsewhere — many injured plaintiffs are unaware of how such lawsuits work, or the particular challenges that they are likely to face as they move forward with litigation.

In the slip-and-fall context, the frequency with which the defendant conducted floor inspections may have a significant impact on whether you can successfully prove that they are liable for your injuries.

Let’s take a closer look.

Slip and Fall Basics

Slip-and-fall accidents come under the umbrella of premises liability claims.  In the state of Pennsylvania, liability will attach to those who exercise control or possession over a given property if the plaintiff is injured due to a dangerous condition of property (i.e., a slip-and-fall hazard).  For example, if the plaintiff slips on a water spill at a retail store, then that would qualify as a hazard that could expose the defendant (the store owner) to potential civil liability and damages.

Now, as a plaintiff, your slip-and-fall claim may be met with various defenses.  Depending on the circumstances, the defendant is likely to argue that they did not know about the dangerous condition of property (i.e., the slip-and-fall hazard) that caused you to be injured.  Knowledge is a critical consideration in the slip-and-fall context.  If the defendant did not have knowledge of the hazard, then they can avoid liability.

Importantly, however, the defendant’s ignorance is not a complete defense.  If you can show that the defendant “reasonably should have known” about the slip-and-fall hazard, then you can impose liability and recover damages.  Whether the defendant “should have known” about the slip-and-fall hazard is a complex consideration that turns on their duty to conduct regular floor inspections.

Duty to Inspect Floors

In your slip-and-fall case, if the defendant was not actually aware of the slipping hazard, then you’ll have to show that they should have become aware through reasonable and regular floor inspections.

This inspection duty varies depending on the circumstances (and industry), however.  For example, in a grocery store (where there is an abundance of liquids and slick flooring) setting, conducting a floor inspection every two hours would likely be deemed unreasonable.  If the slipping hazard would have been discovered with an hourly inspection, then the court may impose such knowledge on the defendant.

By contrast, in a clothing store, floor inspections may only be expected every three or so hours.  If the defendant was not aware of a spill that occurred two-and-a-half hours before you slipped on it, then they could not be held liable on the basis that they “should have known” about it.

Schedule a Free Consultation With an Experienced Easton Slip and Fall Attorney

Here at Drake, Hileman & Davis, PC, our attorneys have decades of experience representing the interests of injured plaintiffs in a range of disputes, including those that involve slip-and-fall accident claims.  We understand the unique challenges and burdens imposed by personal injury litigation, and how important it is that the plaintiff secure an adequate recovery in a timely and efficient manner.

If you’ve been injured in a slip-and-fall incident in Pennsylvania, it’s critical that you speak to a skilled Easton slip and fall attorney for further guidance.  We encourage you to call 610-433-3910 or send us a case evaluation form through our website.  Initial consultation is free, confidential, and comes with no obligation.