Elements of a Slip and Fall Lawsuit
People who suffer slip and falls sometimes blame themselves. They believe they must have failed to watch where they were going, or they attribute the fall to their own clumsiness.
However, in reality, the negligence of a property owner actually serves as the cause of the slip and fall.
Premises liability is an area of law which deals with the duty that property owners owe towards certain visitors to their property as well as the liability that property owners face when needless injuries occur due to their negligence.
Negligence in a Slip and Fall
Ultimately, negligence occurs when a person does something that a reasonable person would not have done under similar circumstances (or fails to do what a reasonable person would have done).
Generally speaking, in a premises liability claim involving a slip and fall, a victim would need to establish that a property owner knew (or reasonably should have known) of a dangerous condition and failed to to correct it or to warn visitors about it
Evidence that could be used to establish the property owner’s knowledge of a hazard could include prior complaints from other customers or employees about a dangerous condition.
In some cases, a property owner may claim to lack knowledge of a dangerous condition. However, the hazard may be so obvious that it would be nearly impossible for the owner not to have known about it.
Evidence to Establish a Slip and Fall Claim
The National Floor Safety Institute estimates that slip and fall injuries costs victims in the U.S. nearly $13 million each year. However, that estimate takes into account only medical costs. It does not account for lost wages and pain and suffering that slip and fall victims also suffer.
If you were hurt in a slip and fall, you may be entitled to compensation through a slip and fall lawsuit. For your case to be successful, you would need to gather and present evidence of:
- Liability – Incident reports, eyewitness statements, photos and video surveillance tapes can establish how an accident occurred. You would also need evidence which shows that the property owner knew or reasonably should have known of the danger.
- Injuries – Medical records, test results and a statement from your doctor about your condition and your prognosis for a recovery could establish the nature and extent of your injuries.
- Expenses – Medical bills and receipts from other slip and fall-related expenses should be presented in your case as well. You may also need input from an expert who can establish the expenses you are likely to incur in the future.
- Lost income – You could use pay stubs to show how much you earned at the time of the incident and employment records to show how much time you have missed from work due to your injuries. An expert can establish any diminishment in your ability to earn a living in the future due to your injuries.
- Pain and suffering – Statements from you, your family members and friends can help to establish the pain, suffering and loss of enjoyment in life you have suffered since your accident.
Compiling all of this evidence may seem like a tall order. However, an experienced attorney will have the skill, experience and resources you need to help you to establish your right to compensation.
While you wait for your case to be resolved, be careful about giving any statements to an insurance company (or even statements on social media). Those statements could be used against you.
Also, you should follow all doctor instructions regarding your treatment and any restrictions on your work or other activities.