Jury’s Role to Decide – Location of Slip and Fall

Posted on: July 10th, 2012       Attorney Thomas Newell

A 2009 Decision by the PA Superior Court permitted a Northampton County slip and fall victim to present her personal injury claim to a jury. A woman slipped and fell at her apartment complex in the Lehigh Valley. When the parties could not agree to a settlement, her Bethlehem slip and fall attorney filed a lawsuit versus the landlord.

After depositions were taken, the Defendant’s lawyers filed a Motion for Summary Judgment. They claimed that the slip and fall took place on snow covered grass and that the injury victim’s decision to not use the sidewalk prevented any finding of negligence against them. The Northampton County Trial Judge agreed and dismissed the slip and fall lawsuit.

The PA Superior Court overruled the Trial Judge’s decision. Witnesses who came to help the victim testified that they found her by the curb separating the sidewalk from the parking lot. Her medical records contained statements such as ‘fell on ice in driveway’ and ‘slipped on ice and fell.’ The Appeals Court ruled that it was up to a jury to hear all of the evidence and make its own conclusion as to where the victim fell and what legal duty the landlord owed to her. Turner v. Valley Housing Development Corp., 972 A.2d 531 (Pa. Super. 2009)