If you need help with your claim, the slip and fall injury attorneys at McDonald Worley can help. Call today and schedule a free case review.
Accidents are a somewhat inevitable instance in life. They can happen any time anywhere, including on someone’s property. At times, an accident at other people’s premises can result in injuries. However, if the incident is because of the property owner’s carelessness, recklessness, or negligence, you might be liable to seek compensation. But what do you have to prove to win these types of cases?
To help you understand what it takes, let’s delve into some of the vital issues in a slip and fall accident claim.
Whether you are seeking an insurance settlement or taking the matter to court, winning the case is subject to gathering and submitting enough evidence showing the defendant is responsible because of their negligence or carelessness. On your part, you will have to consider two essential things:
A) Who are the liable parties?
B) Did those parties’ reckless or negligent behavior cause the accident?
Ideally, the objective is to show that your injuries could have been prevented or avoided had the accused taken the necessary safety measures.
From a victim’s standpoint, other crucial elements of the slip and fall lawsuit are adequate preparation for the anticipated defendant’s arguments stating there were not responsible for the accident in any way.
Liability Theories in Slip and Fall Cases
To hold the responsible party liable for your slip and fall injuries, you, as the victim, must prove the following:
1) The property manager or owner should have notice and corrected the danger: As the victim, you must show that the property agent or owner had the duty of identifying the hazard (unlit or poorly lit apartment corridors, uneven walkways, open utility holes, etc.), but did not fix them. The point is to prove that a reasonable person should have identified the hazard and had enough time or opportunity to remove the threat, thus preventing the accident from happening.
2) The property manager, owner, or employee caused the danger: In this situation, your objective is to prove the defendant is responsible for the accident by establishing the intentional acts of creating the hazard. For instance, failure to put up warning signs when cleaning, leaving potentially dangerous things lying around, etc.
Proving Carelessness and Accountability
The term ‘reasonable’ is all too common in slip and fall accident claims. In most situations, the accused is to be held accountable for the victim’s injuries. The victim must prove the defendant did not act ‘reasonably,’ as a sensible person in the same situation would. Therefore, some of the factors to consider when it comes to this include:
- The hazardous situation must be proven to have been an existing condition for a period of time within which the property owner, manager, or employee could have taken the necessary actions and removed the danger.
- The victim must prove that the accused party had a strategy for customarily inspecting the property for potential risks. There must be a record of the process or procedures followed that show the inspection was conducted before the accident happened.
- The victim must show a reasonable justification for the hazard to be present on the property, and if this is true, it must be before the accident occurred.
- Was the slip and fall due to low lighting or limited visibility?
- Could the property owner, manager, or employee have reduced or eliminated the danger by taking the necessary safety measures like putting up a warning sign or relocating the hazard-prone object?
How to Prove You Did Not Cause the Accident
People, when facing a lawsuit, will always search for ways of shifting blame to their accusers. In a slip and fall claim, you should expect the party at fault and their insurance provider to do the same, arguing that you are partly or wholly at fault for the accident and resulting injuries.
It is an argument founded on the principles of ‘comparative fault‘, a legal concept that states use to address contributory negligence and comparative negligence laws. The rules might differ from one state to the next and impact the victim’s chances of getting compensation if found partly or entirely liable for the accident.
In states where contributory fault rules apply, the victims of slip and fall accidents can be disqualified from getting compensation if found to bear a percentage of blame for the accident. Conversely, victims in a state with comparative negligence rules will have their compensation revised based on their degree of responsibility for the accident. For instance, a victim might be awarded $100,000 for the slip and fall injuries but will only get $75,000 because they were found to be 25% at fault for the accident. It is crucial to speak with a personal injury attorney who knows your state’s laws to ensure you are even eligible to receive compensation.
But how is a slip and fall accident victim assigned liability? Below are some of the issues or questions that the court will try to answer before passing judgment:
- Did the victim have lawful access to the property where the accident happened, or was there a substantive reason for the victim to go to the danger-prone area?
- Did the victim engage in actions, such as texting or talking, that might have prevented them from noticing the danger, a situation in which any other person would have noticed and avoided the danger?
- Were adequate safety measures, like warning signs, put up before the plaintiff encountered the accident?
If the defendant can prove any of these things, the victim will be found liable for their injuries. Therefore, it will dent the chances of winning the claim and receiving compensation.
Let McDonald Worley Help With Your Slip and Fall Claim
If you are the unfortunate victim of a slip and fall accident that happened on someone’s property, you should reach out to us for legal advice and guidance on the steps to take. Our slip and fall accident lawyers have won many of these types of lawsuits. They will walk you through what to expect and ensure you fully understand your legal options.
Call us today and book your free initial consultation. We offer slip and fall litigation services on a contingency basis, meaning you don’t pay legal fees unless we win your case.