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September 28th, 2016

Pennsylvania Slip & Fall Accident Law: Injured Plaintiff Must Prove the Cause and Location of the Accident

Proving the Cause and Location of a Fall Accident

The location of an accident is one of the most critical parts of a fall accident case in Pennsylvania, whether it’s an icy sidewalk fall accident or an uneven pavement fall accident. Failing to prove the exact location of the accident is often fatal for the case. As injury lawyers in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, we sometimes see potential clients who want to know whether they have a valid case, but aren’t able to say for certain what caused the accident. Without a thorough investigation, these kinds of cases are usually unwinnable. In this article, we take a look at the importance of proving the accident location.

Related: What Should You Do After a Philadelphia, PA Slip and Fall Accident? Get info on what to do after a fall accident in Philadelphia to best preserve your case.

Elements of a Fall Accident Lawsuit in Pennsylvania

Under Pennsylvania fall accident law, the plaintiff (injured party) is required to prove each of the following:

  1. the property owner owed the plaintiff a duty of care,
  2. the property owner was negligent,
  3. that negligence caused the injuries and damages.

Proving the third element, that the property owner’s negligence caused the injuries/damages, requires proving the location of a fall accident. After all, if the location of the accident is not proved, it may turn out that the defendant in the case is the incorrect or wrong party. An adjacent property owner may actually be the one who is liable.

Let’s say an individual injured in a fall accident in Pennsylvania cannot pinpoint the location of the accident. This gives the defense a valid argument that they aren’t even responsible for the accident; they might not even own the property where the accident occurred.

In the aftermath of a fall accident, it is crucial for the injured party to identify what it was that caused the accident. For example, in a sidewalk fall accident case, it’s critical to identify both the cause and location of the accident. What caused the accident to occur? Was it a broken piece of concrete? Was it a tree root? Was it an uneven piece of sidewalk?

Also, where was the exact location of the defect? Let’s say a pedestrian in Philadelphia trips over a crack in a piece of sidewalk. The crack extends the entire length of a 36 inch piece of concrete sidewalk. The pedestrian must be able to identify exactly what part of the crack caused the accident. .

In a recent fall accident lawsuit in Philadelphia, the plaintiff lost her case because she failed to prove where the accident occurred. She suffered injuries after slipping on an icy sidewalk. However, she gave conflicting testimony as to the exact location of the accident. The jury found that the defendants were negligent. However, the jury also found that the plaintiff had failed to prove the precise location of the accident. See White v. Seherlis, Court of Common Pleas of Philadelphia, July 8, 2016 (Judge T. Sarmina).

Fall Accident Injury Lawyers in Pennsylvania & New Jersey

Our injury lawyers handle fall accident cases against private property owners and public businesses such as retail stores. Call for a free case review. (866) 641-0806

**This website does not provide legal advice. Every case is unique and it is crucial to get a qualified, expert legal opinion prior to making any decisions about your case. See the full disclaimer at the bottom of this page.