Are Slip and Fall Accidents Hard to Prove?
Proving negligence in a slip and fall accident comes with its own complications. Were you not paying attention? Was the property it occured on your own? Or did it happen in a public space?
Though proving negligence in a slip and fall accident can be difficult, it is important to do so if you want to seek recovery for the damages you incurred.
At Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys, we know how critical these personal injuries cases are to your overall recovery. We have been helping slip and fall accident victims for more than 60 years and we’re ready to help ensure you get the compensation you deserve.
Components of Negligence in Slip and Fall Accidents
Following a slip and fall, your main priority is to seek medical attention. However, once you know you are taken care of, you’ll need to begin the legal process if you wish to seek compensation for your losses.
To prove negligence, there must have been a hazardous condition on the property where the accident took place which caused you to suffer injuries.
If this condition is present, you then must prove the following components of a negligence claim:
- The property owner owed you a duty of care
- That duty of care was breached
- The breach caused you to suffer the accident and resulted in injuries
- Those injuries caused you to incur damages
Remember, even if the property owner was fully at fault for the slip and fall, you must be able to prove this with actual evidence in order to recover damages. A slip and fall accident lawyer at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys can help.
Property Owners Responsible to Maintain Property
According to the National Floor Safety Institute, slips and falls account for over 1 million visits, or 12% of total falls presented in emergency rooms. When you consider this staggering fact, we must look towards the root cause of these injuries, and who can be held liable when they occur.
There are also instances where the injured party fell at work, at a retail shop, or in a shared living facility such as a nursing home, apartment, etc. The common theme is that this is not property owned by the victim.
Instead, the injury occured at a location where the victim assumed they would be safe. This is where the property owners responsible to patrons and residents come into play.
Regardless of the state you reside in, a property owner has a duty to maintain their property to a reasonable standard of care and to fix any dangers present on the premises in a timely fashion.
Proving Negligence in Slip and Fall Cases
However, not all slip and fall cases are clear cut, like falling in a puddle that a store owner had neglected for hours or icy sidewalks that should have been dealt with. Proving the property owner is at fault can be complicated which is why if you are claiming that it was the property owners fault solely, you must illustrate one of the following:
- The property owner should have known or been made aware of the danger or hazard
- The owner (or property representative, ie. employee) knew of the issue but it was not fixed
- Or, the owner caused the dangerous condition
Timing is one of the most critical components to slip and fall claims as it could mean the property owner did not have the time to fix the situation or they had plenty of time to remedy the issue. An example of this would be water spilling in a grocery store aisle, but the customer who caused it did not notify employees. Then, once an employee comes upon it, they return to the back to grab a wet floor sign and mop, yet someone falls in the meantime.
Because the employee was actively remedying the situation that had occurred only within moments, it may be difficult to prove negligence. Understanding how timing and hazardous conditions can play into proving a slip and fall case is also critical.
When Hazardous and Dangerous Conditions Exist on the Premises
Regardless if the property the accident occured on is private or public property, there are certain hazardous conditions that are more likely to cause injuries. Dangerous conditions that are common in slip and fall claims include:
- Uneven, broken sidewalks
- Poorly lit areas such as a parking lot or apartment alley
- Slippery or wet floors
- Snow or ice that has not been removed
- Design flaws on the property such as a steep ramp
- A hidden defect on the walking service like a broken step on an escalator
- Missing handrails
- Torn carpet
Depending on the hazard present will ultimately determine how much time is under reasonable care. While not all conditions can be fixed immediately, there are steps a property owner can take to ensure that patrons or residents are aware of the hazard and are protected as much as time allows.
However, when the property owner breaches that duty of care, they can be held liable for any injuries that occur.
What Evidence Do I Need in a Slip and Fall Claim?
We’ve established that timing is everything when it comes to holding the property owner accountable for your slip and fall related injuries. However, there is also supplemental evidence you can provide to strengthen your claim and prove financial loss and physical injury.
Such evidence includes:
- Medical records and related bills
- Accident reports
- Witness statements
- Security camera footage
- Photographs of the hazardous condition(s)
- Timeline of when you were present at the property
- Proof of loss wages
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage if applicable
Depending on the strengths of your evidence will ultimately determine the amount of compensation you can recover.
Types of Recovery for Slip and Fall Damages
Slips and falls are 100% preventable yet property owners still breach this duty of care to those who legally enter their property. When you or a loved one suffer serious injury or death following a slip and fall, you may be able to recover compensation for your injuries and losses.
To receive economic and non-economic damages, you must prove that the property owner, business, government agency, etc. was negligent. From there, a slip and fall accident lawyer will be able to determine the fair value of compensation based upon the extent of your injuries.
Economic compensation you may be able to recover includes:
- Medical bills
- Lost income (both present and future)
Further, in extreme cases, you may be able to recover compensation for non-economic losses including:
- Pain and suffering
- Diminished quality of life
A personal injury lawyer at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys can help you determine all potential avenues of recovery.
It is important to note that if you enter property illegally, this will diminish your ability to recover damages unless the property owner has taken such extreme measures on their property that willful and wanton conduct causes injuries to trespassers.
Do I Need a Lawyer for a Slip and Fall Accident Claim?
You never are required to attain legal representation for a slip and fall accident. You can technically file a personal injury claim or lawsuit on your own, negotiate a fair settlement, and represent yourself in court.
However, when you forgo legal representation, you lose out on services that can make all the difference in a successful case.
A slip and fall lawyer can help you by:
- Providing legal advice
- Gathering evidence to establish negligence
- Calculate recoverable damages
- Negotiate a settlement out of court
- Represent you in court
- Serve as your representative in communications while you focus on recovery
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, 90 to 95 percent of personal injury cases are settled before making it to trial. However, when victims do not utilize a lawyer, they often settle for a lesser amount than they otherwise would have obtained. Further, in those cases where the case does go to trial, the verdict is often unfavorable to the victim.
At Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys, our premises liability lawyers work on a contingency fee basis meaning you won’t pay anything up front and instead, your lawyer is paid once a settlement or verdict is reached on a percentage of the total compensation and related fees.
Choose a Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys Slip and Fall Accident Lawyer to Represent You
Proving who is at fault in a slip and fall accident can be difficult. Property owners will try to shift blame, making you question how strong of a case you really have. However, even if you share in the fault, you still may be able to recover damages for the injuries you sustained.
An experienced slip and fall premises liability attorney can prove responsibility and help you win your case.
If you or a loved one had a slip and fall accident caused by someone’s carelessness, don’t wait any longer. Call us today at (570) 669-3606 or use our online contact form now to get in touch with one of our slip and fall injury attorneys.
You don’t pay until we win. Time is of the essence so call Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys today and get on track to recovery.