There are nearly 40 million unintentional injuries each year, and many of them are a result of someone else’s negligence. Slips and falls, in particular, are one of the msot common ways that people get hurt.
While filing a slip and fall injury lawsuit is relatively common, it’s not enough to simply take someone else to court. You’ll need to definitively prove their negligence. But, not everyone knows where to begin.
Not sure where to start? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
Let’s take a look at everything you need to know.
What Is Classified As Negligence?
During a slip and fall case, you’ll have a difficult time with your claim if you can’t convey that the other party was negligent in their behavior. But, not everything you may expect can be classified as negligence.
Legally, negligence is the failure to exercise an appropriate level of care. Breaching this duty may result in the direct (or indirect) harm of another individual. Justin Kimball of Preszler Law explains that sometimes, a slip and fall accident can be the fault of a negligent property owner.
As you may expect, this can lead to many ambiguous scenarios, and a slip and fall case is one of the most complicated.
For example, let’s assume that you slipped on a wet floor in a supermarket and fractured your elbow. If there wasn’t a ‘wet floor’ sign present, you likely have a solid case. If there was, though, the blame could actually fall onto you as it could be argued that you didn’t exercise the appropriate level of caution.
Similarly, you may find that you slipped and injured yourself on the floor of a convenience store without a caution sign present. But, the wet surface was the result of a customer spilling their drink, and the store manager was unaware of this situation.
Even though you were injured as a direct result of an unsafe environment at a business, it can be difficult to prove negligence on the manager’s part. Without clear security footage, it would be your word against theirs regarding if they were negligent in drying the floor.
How Can You Prove Negligence?
As previously mentioned, slip and fall cases often aren’t straightforward. So, it can be difficult to legally prove that the other party didn’t exercise an appropriate level of care.
When seeking to prove negligence, there are a few steps that you’ll need to take. Let’s dive into some of the most important.
Photograph The Scene
One of the most important ways you can prepare for your case is to take as many photos of the scene as possible. Although not every slip and fall involves a wet floor, it’s still important to document the surface, environment, lighting conditions, etc.
If your injuries are visible (such as bruising), you should document these, as well. In general, it’s better to take an abundance of photos as opposed to taking too few. You should also take photos of the surrounding area even if you aren’t sure that it has anything to offer in terms of evidence.
Speak to Any Witnesses
If anyone happened to see what occurred during your injury, be sure to speak to them before leaving the scene. Oftentimes, they’ll have a more accurate perspective of what actually happened.
For example, you may find yourself tripping over materials that were difficult to see and injuring yourself while walking through the interior of a department store. A nearby witness happened to see a store employee set down numerous boxes in the men’s clothing section in an area with high foot traffic and never returned to collect them.
When speaking to witnesses, make sure you write down as much information as possible. This includes their name, the time of the conversation, and exactly what they saw. If you have your phone on you, it’s also an option to record your conversation with them. In this scenario, have them clearly state their full name and the time and the beginning of the recording.
Just be sure to get their permission before doing so.
Seek Medical Attention
It’s crucial to seek medical attention as soon as possible after the incident. Not only will this allow you to be treated for injuries that may not be readily apparent, but it will also establish medical records that you can later use during your case.
Although it may seem like something you can overlook at first, being able to definitively prove your injuries is the core of your slip and fall injury lawsuit. After all, if you aren’t injured (or if you can’t prove you were injured), you won’t be entitled to the compensation you’re seeking.
Request Surveillance Footage
Not every business stores its surveillance footage. In fact, many companies will only keep a record of their surveillance footage if they’ve been legally requested to do so. If you were injured on the property of a business that has security cameras, it’s vital you do what you can to get this information.
After documenting your injuries and seeking medical treatment, have your attorney contact the location where you were injured and request a copy of the footage that was recorded during the time of the incident. If complications arise, you may also be able to ask nearby stores for copies of their footage.
Proving Negligence in a Slip and Fall Injury Lawsuit Can Seem Difficult
But it doesn’t have to be.
With the above information about filing a slip and fall injury lawsuit in mind, you’ll be well on your way to giving yourself the best chance of securing the compensation you deserve.
Want to learn more lifestyle tips that can help you out in the future? Be sure to check out the rest of our blog.