How to Prove Your Slip and Fall ClaimSeptember 21, 2016
If you’ve been injured after a slip or a fall, you may be wondering if you have the legal right to sue for damages or to receive accident benefits from the person or property owner who is responsible.
While it may seem obvious to you that another party caused your injuries, in these types of cases it’s essential to understand how liability works so you can prove that you are owed compensation.
Below, you’ll find out more about how to prove your slip and fall claim so you can do the work you need to get the compensation you deserve.
Key Liability Questions
If you’ve been injured in a slip or a fall, there are several questions that must be answered to determine liability. First, you must determine who is potentially liable. Second, you need to determine whether your injuries were due to negligence on the part of the responsible party. (A party can be considered negligent if they either caused your slip or fall or failed to prevent it.) Finally, it’s important to consider whether your own carelessness caused your accident, either wholly or in part.
Proving Liability in Slip and Fall Claims
There are several ways to prove that another party is responsible for your slip and fall injuries.
The first thing to consider is whether there were dangerous conditions that a property owner or their employee should have noticed. Dangerous conditions can include things like potholes or uneven flooring. When considering this, ask yourself whether a reasonable person would have noticed the issue and whether the property owner had a chance to remedy these conditions before your slip or fall. If they had ample opportunity to fix the situation but failed to do so, they may be liable.
The second question to ask yourself is whether the property owner or someone they employed created the dangerous condition. An example would be an object left on the sidewalk that created a hazard that could cause someone to trip. Again, it’s important to ask whether a reasonable person would have foreseen the possibility that their actions could have led to injuries.
How to Prove Negligence
“Reasonable” is a key word during all phases of a slip and fall case. For a property owner to be considered negligent and liable for your damages, they must have acted unreasonably or without the prudence that a reasonable person would display in a similar situation. To determine this, here are some questions you can ask:
• Was there enough time for a reasonable property owner or employee to repair or eliminate the dangerous situation?
• Did the property owner proactively look for possible hazards on the property? Was the property reviewed prior to the accident and is there a record of this?
• Was the existence or creation of the hazard justified at the time your slip or fall occurred?
• Could the hazard have been prevented or diminished by utilizing warning signs, restricting access, or through other means?
• Were other conditions like low or nonexistent lighting, reduced visibility, or weather potential causes of your slip or fall?
Proving You Weren’t Responsible for the Accident
It’s common for property owners and insurance companies to try to prove that you were partially or entirely at fault for the accident that caused your injuries. If you were to blame for the accident in any way, your ability to receive damages will be reduced or eliminated, but this will vary depending on the laws of your state.
In some states, contributory fault rules prevent the plaintiff from collecting damages if they’re responsible for any part of the accident. In other states with comparative negligence policies, the damages awarded will be diminished by the percentage to which you are determined responsible. If it is determined that you are 25% at fault for an accident, you will collect only 75% of the damages.
Some scenarios that could cause you to be considered partially or fully responsible for your injuries include:
• Not noticing a hazard a reasonable person would have noticed
• Engaging in a distracting activity that caused them not to notice the hazard (ie: texting)
• Being in a dangerous area illegally or for a reason that was not legitimate
• Failing to notice warning signs or to utilize safety measures
If the defendant is able to prove that you caused your own injuries, it will be difficult for you to win a lawsuit.
Considering what it takes to win a slip and fall claim is essential to knowing whether or not you have a case. The best way to determine this is to speak with a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after your accident so you fully understand your rights and the compensation you’re entitled to.
If you’ve been injured in a slip and fall accident, book a free consultation with a personal injury lawyer to learn more about the compensation you may be eligible for.
Disclaimer: The content of this article is a general guideline made available for educational purposes only and is not intended to be used as legal advice for the reader's specific situation nor in general. By reading our blog and website content, the reader acknowledges the above and understands there is no lawyer-client relationship created between you and Himelfarb Proszanski through this content. To get specific legal advice, we encourage you to book a free consultation with one of our lawyers to clarify the legal aspects of your situation.