No one leaves home in the morning expecting to sustain a fall injury. A particularly bad slip-and-fall accident can be stressful and potentially life-altering.
Slip-and-fall accidents are often the result of negligence on the part of a property owner or manager. In such cases, you may be able to pursue restitution for your pain and suffering by means of a slip and fall claim.
Proving negligence and liability in a slip-and-fall accident is not always a simple feat. However, this is absolutely necessary in order to recover compensation for your fall injury successfully.
This article will discuss various aspects of a slip and fall claim, as well as the factors that must be established to prove liability against the negligent party.
Determining the Cause of Your Slip-and-Fall Accident
As in any fall injury case, one of your first steps is to establish what actually caused you to fall. When businesses and property owners fail to properly maintain their properties, they put your safety at risk, and causation determines liability.
Potentially hazardous and dangerous conditions that can lead to a slip-and-fall are:
- Wet or sticky floors
- Uneven or broken floorboards or tiles
- Loose rugs or mats
- Torn or bulging carpet
- Debris and unsafe materials left in walkways
- Improperly installed or broken flooring transitions
- Broken or missing handrails on stairways or other passageways
- Loose or broken grab bars in restrooms
- Dim or inadequate lighting
- Poorly built staircases
- Poorly maintained or icy entrances and sidewalks
- Potholes in parking lots
Falls are a leading cause of unintentional injury and are often avoidable. Whether you are on private or commercial property, property owners and their representatives must remedy any dangerous conditions in a timely manner. Failing to do so can potentially render them liable if someone suffers harm on their premises.
Proving Negligence and Liability in a Slip and Fall Claim
Slip and fall claims usually fall under premises liability laws. Property owners and representatives have the legal obligation to exercise reasonable care for and upkeep of their properties in such a way that ensures the well-being of all visitors. Property owner negligence is something that must be proven to resolve the claim in your favor.
This means that, as the injury victim, you will have to demonstrate that someone else’s carelessness caused your injuries. The evidence must show that the property owner or representative failed to uphold or meet certain conditions that would have prevented the accident from happening.
If you fell and injured yourself on someone else’s property and wish to pursue compensation against that party, you will first need to show that you were on the premises legally, with a legitimate reason for being there.
To successfully prove negligence against the property owner or representative, you will need to establish:
- That a dangerous condition existed on the property
- That the property owner or representative knew or should have known that the dangerous condition existed
- That he or she failed to remedy or adequately warn of the dangerous condition
- That you fell and were injured as a result of failing to correct the dangerous condition
Although the property owner owed you a duty of care, it can be challenging to prove the property owner’s fault after a slip-and-fall accident. A personal injury lawyer, experienced in such cases, will be able to assess the circumstances of your fall. He or she can then assist you in proving negligence and liability against the property owner.
Compelling Evidence in Slip and Fall Cases
In order to prove negligence on the part of the property or business owner where you fell, you will need to provide convincing evidence.
It is important to document the incident fully. Generally speaking, the more evidence you have, the stronger your case will be.
Carefully document the following things:
- The location where the fall occurred
- The time and date of the accident
- Accident or incident reports
- Cause of the accident, such as a wet floor, uneven flooring, or debris in the aisle
- Eyewitness statements and contact information
- Security camera footage revealing how the accident happened
- Any supporting photos or videos at the scene of the fall that show the hazardous condition
- Photos of your fall injuries
- Medical records associated with treatment for your injuries
- Medical bills stemming from the slip-and-fall accident
- Proof of lost wages as a result of having to miss work after the accident
- Receipts of any out-of-pocket expenses associated with the fall injury claim
Presenting such clear and compelling evidence of the property owner’s negligence, as well as evidence of your injuries and financial losses, will help you lay the foundation for a sound personal injury claim.
No piece of evidence is too small. Preserve any evidence you have collected for the entire duration of your slip and fall case.
How the Evidence in a Slip and Fall Claim is Used
Your fall accident lawyer will use all of the evidence you have gathered, as well as any he or she is able to collect for you, in order to build your slip and fall case.
The evidence gathered may prove that:
- The property owner or manager was given actual notice or reasonably should have known, of the dangerous hazard
- The hazardous condition was foreseeable because it was a recurrent situation
- The property or business owner had sufficient time to become aware of the unsafe condition and remedy it
- The hazard could have been reasonably controlled
- There were insufficient proper health and safety protocols in place to identify and resolve the hazard
- The property owner could have reasonably prevented the slip-and-fall accident by providing a warning about the dangerous condition
Convincing evidence in a slip and fall case will establish that the property owner’s negligence led to your fall injury. Under premises liability law, slip and fall injury claims can be complicated and frustrating.
An experienced attorney, though, can smooth out the legalities for your peace of mind. Talk to the team at Minton Law to find out how we could help you sort through the evidence in your case and guide you through the claims process.
Comparative Fault in a Slip-and-Fall Accident Claim
In a slip-and-fall accident claim, the property owner may likely assert that your own carelessness led to the fall injury. You can expect the insurance company to question you about your own actions leading up to the accident.
Most states, including Arkansas, follow the rule of comparative negligence. Thus, if you somehow contributed to your own accident, your claim is weakened. Your compensation for your injuries and other damages may be lessened by the amount for which you were comparatively at fault for the incident.
In an effort to determine contributory negligence in a slip-and-fall accident, you can expect an insurance adjuster to ask you such questions as:
- Did you have a legitimate reason for being on the premises where the accident happened?
- Did the property owner have reason to anticipate that you would be where the hazardous condition was?
- Would a person exercising reasonable caution have noticed the danger and avoided it or walked carefully enough not to slip and fall?
- Did the property owner put up a barrier or post a warning about the dangerous condition?
- Were you distracted or otherwise not paying attention to where you were walking?
- Were you engaging in an inherently dangerous or foolish activity that contributed to your slip-and-fall accident?
As you can see, there’s a chance that your own actions at the time of the incident could mean that you will be found partly or even solely liable. An ordinary person is expected to take reasonable steps to avoid any dangerous situation he or she may come upon, if at all possible.
You may still have a valid case against the property owner, even if you are partly to blame for your fall injury. A knowledgeable fall lawyer can evaluate the strength of your claim and negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf.
Typical Injuries in a Slip and Fall Claim
A slip-and-fall accident is often a serious event that results in painful injuries. Statistics show that fall accidents account for over 800,000 patients being hospitalized annually.
Suffering extensive injuries from a fall can impact your life for the foreseeable future. In such cases, pursuing an injury claim or slip and fall lawsuit against the property owner’s insurance company may be worth it. If you win fair compensation, then the money should prove significantly helpful in covering your injury-related medical bills and lost wages.
Common serious injuries in a slip and fall case are:
- Soft tissue injuries
- Lacerations, cuts, and abrasions
- Broken bones
- Complicated fractures
- Muscle sprains
- Foot and ankle injuries
- Facial injuries
- Knee damage
- Hip fractures
- Back and spinal cord injuries
- Neck and shoulder injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
These kinds of severe injuries, along with wrongful death, can result in many expensive bills as well as long-term pain and suffering. Thus, it is ever more critical to prove negligence and liability when you sustain traumatic injuries. Pursuing compensation for such conditions from the party responsible for your fall will help you get your life back on track after the accident.
Potential Damages in a Slip-and-Fall Accident Claim
A serious slip-and-fall accident can result in debilitating injuries and considerable loss of income if you are unable to work for an extended period. Just and fair compensation is often attainable when the property owner or representative where you fell is proven to be at fault.
In pursuing damages, the goal is to receive enough compensation to make your life whole again after the distressing accident.
You may be able to receive compensation for the following damages:
- Current and future medical expenses
- Physical therapy and rehabilitation
- Prescription medication
- Pain and suffering
- Lost income
- Reduced earning capacity
- Anxiety and mental distress
- Loss of companionship
- Reduced quality of life
- Additional out-of-pocket expenses related to the accident
A fall lawyer can help you assess the full extent of your losses and assign a fair value to your claim. This step is essential, because we want to ensure that your restitution is enough to help you make up for your costs both now and on into the future, if necessary.
Prove Liability With the Help of a Slip-and-Fall Accident Lawyer
Slip-and-fall accidents can result in serious injuries, emotional distress, and financial hardship – among other things. If you or a family member has been hurt in a slip-and-fall accident on someone else’s property, you may have legal recourse against the property or business owner.
A well-practiced personal injury lawyer can advocate for you throughout the claims process and assist you in proving negligence and liability against the other party.
The attorneys at Minton Law Firm are dedicated to helping accident and injury victims get the restitution they deserve. Our goal is to bring relief and a renewed quality of life to all those who have been hurt by someone else’s negligence.
At Minton Law, we believe that every accident victim deserves to tell their story. Please don’t hesitate! The sooner you reach out to us, the sooner we can put our legal resources and experience to work on your behalf.
Call our personal injury law firm today at 855-Xadjuster or complete our contact form to schedule a free consultation. A legal professional is standing by to take your call.