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Judge rules victim's trip-and-fall case isn't 'trivial'

When someone is injured in an accident and takes action to try to seek legal justice, he or she can all of the sudden find themselves surrounding by legal jargon. Those without law degrees or legal experience might not be able to understand every word that is uttered in the process of a personal injury case, but those words are important to their best interests.

An out-of-state trip-and-fall case will move forward based on a judge's interpretation of legal terms. In this specific case of an elderly woman who tripped at a gas stations, a judge had to decide whether the condition of the pavement that contributed to her fall was trivial. He decided that, really, it wasn't up for him to decide.

The judge determined that the victim of the trip-and-fall has the right for a jury to decide whether the condition of the gas station was or was not trivial. He wouldn't grant a summary judgement in favor of the defendant.

A few years ago, the elderly patron of a Hess gas station tripped on uneven pavement around the pump. She will have a chance to prove in court that the pavement defect, particularly in the specific location, created a hazardous condition for patrons.

Sure, people sometimes make honest mistakes. They might trip simply because they lose their balance. However, businesses and property owners must take the legally required, reasonable precautions to create safe premises for the public. Where the woman tripped in this incident was right were patrons would frequent, at the location of the pump. Wouldn't it be in the public's best interest to make that a safe walking area?

We won't give the answer to that question. The details of the case and the evidence that a jury will get to evaluate will determine whether the gas station owners are liable for the injuries suffered by the victim.

Someone in a similar situation as the victim can also take action. No one should immediately assume or believe that their accident was trivial. A premises liability attorney can more accurately evaluate one's case.

Source: The Pennsylvania Record, "Judge dismisses Hess Corp.’s argument that parking lot defect was trivial, allows claim to proceed to jury," Jon Campisi, March 3, 2014

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