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July 6th, 2018

Pennsylvania Business & Store Liability Law – Evidence of Negligence

Negligence in Pennsylvania Injury Lawsuits Against Businesses or Stores

Customers injured in businesses or stores in Pennsylvania may be able to seek compensation by filing claims or lawsuits against the owner or managing company. The key is whether there’s sufficient evidence of negligence. Oftentimes, these kinds of cases are won (or lost) depending on the type of evidence that’s submitted.

Related Legal Article: Pennsylvania Law: Business Liability for Accidents & Injuries [Discussion of Pennsylvania liability law for accidents and injuries, specifically negligence.]

In this article, our Pennsylvania injury lawyers explain how to prove the different types of negligence and what kind of evidence is the most beneficial to injured plaintiffs.

In general, there are 3 situations in which a business or store in PA is held liable for causing an accident or injury to a customer:

  1. the business/store actually created the problem,
  2. the business/store knew about the problem but failed to correct it, or
  3. the business/store should have known about the problem, but failed to notice it.

Below, we’ll discuss these three scenarios and the best types of evidence to prove negligence.

Evidence in PA Injury Lawsuits Against Businesses or Stores

Evidence in Pennsylvania injury lawsuits usually includes physical evidence or testimonial evidence. Physical evidence includes videos/pictures, written reports, records, etc. Testimonial evidence includes eyewitness testimony, employee testimony, etc.

Video Footage or Pictures – Proof of the Defective Condition

Video and pictures are usually highly valuable in terms of proving that a defective condition existed. This is rule one when it comes to injury lawsuits–you have to prove that a defect or dangerous condition existed. This is well-established in Pennsylvania. Courts require plaintiffs in accident cases against businesses or stores to prove that a defect existed in the first place. A plaintiff can’t take a guess at what caused their accident. They have to be sure. Video footage or pictures that show the accident happening or show the actual defect can be highly valuable in proving the defect.

Prior Reports of Similar Incidents Involving the Same Defective Condition

Prior reports of similar accidents or complaints about the defective condition in the days, weeks or months prior to the accident would be the best evidence of negligence. Basically, these types of reports show that the business had prior knowledge of the specific condition and the specific type of danger.

Example: A store in Philadelphia has two floors. The second floor is accessible by a single stairway or elevators. The stairway is made of marble and contains non-slip treads on each step. The tread on one of the steps in the middle has come loose and resulted in 4 trip and fall accidents over the course of 4 weeks. An incident report was created for each accident. However, nothing was done to correct the loose tread. A customer trips and falls down the stairs and sustains serious injuries. The 4 prior incident reports would establish negligence in this instance. Essentially, the store knew about the problem but failed to take any steps to fix it.

Internal Maintenance Reports Identifying the Defect

Under Pennsylvania law, stores or businesses open to the public are required to maintain the premises in a reasonable manner. This includes conducting regular inspections of the premises to identify dangerous conditions. Usually, stores and businesses will have specific procedures for such maintenance inspections. For instance, a large store may require management to conduct quarterly inspections and write up reports to verify that such inspections were performed.

Alternatively, a store or business may have specific procedures for maintenance or correction of property issues. There are often procedures when a customer or employee notifies management about issues around the property. For example, a customer reports a leaking faucet in the bathroom. As a result, the manager creates a maintenance request for someone to come and fix the leak. If the leak doesn’t get fixed and a subsequent customer slips and falls as a result of water on the floor from the leak, the maintenance request can help establish negligence.

Financial Compensation for Accidents & Injuries in Pennsylvania

Customers who’re injured due to the negligent conduct of a business or store in Pennsylvania may be able to seek financial compensation for medical bills, lost wages, other out of pocket expenses and pain and suffering. In the most serious cases, such as those involving permanent injuries or disabilities, claims may be made for reasonably certain future losses, like future medical treatment and future pain and suffering.

Click here for more legal info on lawsuits against businesses or stores in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania Injury Law Firm – Cases Accepted Statewide

Our law firm handles all types of injury lawsuits against Pennsylvania businesses or stores, such as fall accidents, property injuries, etc. Our lawyers have recovered over $200 million for injured clients and are regularly rated as “Top Injury Lawyers” by Super Lawyers magazine. Contact us for a free consultation at (866) 641-0806.