The risk of a slip-and-fall injury is everywhere, and business and property owners are constantly on the lookout for any potential threats which could cause someone to get hurt. Uncleaned spills, uncovered cords, and scattered debris could all result in someone losing their balance, falling, and sustaining a serious injury. If you’ve been hurt after slipping and falling, you may wish to file an injury claim in order to recover compensation and get the treatment you need.
However, we see many different cases fail because the plaintiff was not able to demonstrate that the injury was due to the business’s or premises owner’s negligence. Basically, these plaintiffs usually argue that they were injured while on someone else’s property, but that alone is not necessarily grounds to be eligible to sue. In order to prove negligence, it’s important to gather the proper evidence quickly in order to formulate and then further support your claim.
In order to demonstrate that the premises owner is responsible for your injuries, you must show that they more than likely knew (or should have known) that there was a dangerous condition, and still failed to take an appropriate action. In other words, the property owner was “negligent” in their duty to care for those who they allowed onto their premises.
In order to show this, you need to gather the right types of evidence, and the faster you gather it, the more likely you’ll be successful in your efforts and recover compensation from your claim. There are several important types of evidence you and your attorney should work to obtain as soon as possible. Let’s take a closer look at a few of them.
- Photographs from the scene: Witnesses or the victim themselves can take pictures of the scene of the accident, including the hazard on the floor which caused the accident. Taking pictures as soon as the accident occurs can help you preserve exactly how the scene looked at the time. It’s not uncommon for premises owners to quickly pack up any extension cords or clean any spills that cause an accident mere minutes after they happen. If an issue can’t be fixed, they’ll put out proper warning indications as soon as possible as well.
- Testimony from eyewitnesses: Eye-witnesses to the incident can solidify and verify your side of the story. If you slipped on a small water spill which a witness noticed, they’ll be able to testify that they saw the spill. They may also be able to testify as to the presence of any warning signs or indicators that were supposed to call attention to the hazard to help you avoid it.
- Documents obtained through discovery: Was the spill in an area that’s regularly cleaned, like a restroom? Most restaurants and businesses have a maintenance log, and the discovery process can help you obtain a copy of this log which can show missed inspections or negligence on behalf of an employee if a spill was not cleaned in the most recent sweep of the facility. Discovery can also help you obtain video footage of the accident (if it exists), safety manuals employees follow, and more, all of which could be used to bolster your claims.
- Local and national building codes: If you were injured tripping on a set of stairs, a local or national building code can tell you if those stairs adhered to building codes. Was the first step significantly higher than the rest? This is a violation of a building code, which shows the owner failed to fix something that is required for visitor or patron safety. A known code violation causing an injury would almost certainly assign blame to the property owner.
- Expert witness testimony: There are expert witnesses for nearly anything that can support your claim. Reconstruction experts can show how the accident occurred based on your injuries in order to verify your side of the story. Engineers can testify as to how slippery a wet, smooth floor is. Medical professionals can discuss how severe an injury is and what kind of impact you can expect it to have on your life. Each of these can be used to verify your claim and justify the amount you are demanding from the responsible party.