I tripped on a sidewalk at a mall in Philadelphia. Is the mall liable?


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Whether the mall is liable in a mall sidewalk fall accident in Philadelphia depends on the following factors:

1. who is responsible for maintaining the sidewalk,

2. whether there is sufficient evidence of the defect, and

3. whether there is sufficient evidence that the owner was negligent.

Identifying the correct parties in a mall trip and fall accident is not as easy as it seems. Most people seem to think that if an accident occurs at a mall, the mall is the party who would be liable. That is not always true.

Most major shopping malls and plazas operate much like apartment complexes. Stores and shops lease space from a landlord. In the lease agreement, the landlord usually retains the responsibility for maintaining public areas, such as sidewalks, parking lots, etc. Every contract or lease agreement is different, and there may be more than one contract at issue. For instance, a landlord who has retained the obligation to maintain sidewalks may turn around and contract out such maintenance to an entirely separate company. This is common for things like snow and ice removal.

In addition to determining the correct entities, succeeding in a trip and fall sidewalk accident lawsuit depends on proving that a defect existed and that there was negligence on the part of the party responsible for maintaining the sidewalk. Without sufficient evidence of the nature and extent of the defect and evidence of negligence, the case is not likely to be viable.


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