A slip, trip or fall can be a painful and life altering event. It can also be a financially expensive accident. When a slip, trip or fall is caused by the negligent acts of another person or organization, many victims consider filing a lawsuit to recover compensation for past and future medical expenses, pain and suffering, and more.
Here are some common questions that you may have about your slip and fall accident:
If I’m Hurt in a Slip, and Fall Accident, is the Business or Property Owner Responsible?
A successful slip and fall or trip and fall lawsuit is contingent on proving negligence. You must prove that a business or property owner had a duty of care to maintain their property and that a breach of this duty was responsible for your injuries.
Every situation is different and the degree of responsibility on property owners varies based on the circumstances. Therefore, even if you think your slip and fall injury claim is cut and dry, it may not be. That’s why it’s crucial to hire attorneys to make sure you present the strongest case possible when you bring your claim.
Do I Have to File an Accident Report with the Store or Business at the Time of My Fall?
You do not have to file an accident report, but you should if you are able to do so. It always helps your chances of a successful claim if you have proof of your fall soon after the accident occurs.
An accident report is an official record of the incident. This report provides proof of the fall and alerts the business or property owner of your incident.
If you don’t file an accident report with a store or business at the time of your fall, you can still bring a slip and fall accident claim/lawsuit. But it may be more difficult, especially if there are no witnesses or other forms of evidence.
Are Slip and Fall Cases the Same as Trip and Fall Downs?
Not exactly. Slip and fall accidents are not the same as trip and fall accidents.
- Slip and fall accidents occur when a person slips on a potential hazard, often icy or wet, and usually falls backward.
- Trip and fall accidents occur when a person trips on a hazard in front of them and usually falls forward.
Note that the injuries from slip and fall and trip and fall accidents may be similar, like broken bones, head and neck injuries and so on.
Why does this matter? In any personal injury lawsuit, the exact details of an accident can play a major role in a case’s final verdict or settlement and the compensation awarded to the victim. Your terminology must be precise when you present your story to the court, and your lawyers will make sure to use the correct terminology to describe your accident and its consequences.
Do I Need a Slip and Fall Lawyer if I’m Hurt at Work?
Yes. Even if you slip and fall while on the job, a slip and fall law firm can help you present the strongest case possible and acquire maximum compensation. When injured at work you should be eligible for workers’ compensation benefits. However, there are times that you may be eligible for compensation above and beyond workers’ compensation benefits if your slip and fall incident was related to the fault of a third party. In that case, you may be eligible for a third party claim which would allow you to collect compensation for pain and suffering damages as well.
No matter who you are or the circumstances of your case, slip, trip and fall attorneys can provide vital assistance before and throughout your slip and fall or trip and fall claim. Contact us today for a free consultation, free case evaluation, and more information.
What Kind of Evidence Should I Collect After a Slip, Trip or Fall Accident?
Like in any personal injury case, the quantity and quality of evidence you and/or your attorneys collect can significantly impact your case’s verdict or settlement. To receive the maximum compensation you deserve, you need to make sure you have an attorney on your side who will be able to obtain the evidence you need for your case.
Here’s some of the best evidence to collect after a slip and fall accident or trip and fall accident.
Photo and/or Video Evidence
If you are seriously injured after your slip and fall or trip and fall accident, you should get medical attention before even thinking about acquiring video or photo evidence. The first thing to worry about after your accident is making sure you are ok!
If you have the ability to get obtain any photo or video evidence, it can come from any reliable source, like a cell phone or security camera footage. Photo and video evidence is often regarded as essential in a slip and fall or trip and fall accident claim because if you can capture direct evidence of the accident scene at the time the accident occurred, it is much harder for the negligent party to argue that there was no “negligent act or omission” that caused you or your loved one to fall.
Furthermore, photo or video evidence that has a date stamped in the corner is even better, as it proves that the footage was taken or captured at the time of your accident.
You can gather photo or video evidence from sources like:
- Your own cell phone camera if you take pictures right after your fall.
- Surveillance equipment at the location where the accident took place. This is more frequently available at restaurants or grocery stores and the like.
- The cell phones or cameras of other people who may have seen your accident.
Written or Eyewitness Accounts
Also important in addition to video or photo evidence, are written and eyewitness accounts. These can include:
- Your own written statement of the accident as it occurred from your perspective. If you are physically able to complete an accident or injury report at the time of your fall, you should try to do so as soon as possible.
- The written statements of other witnesses at the site of the accident. This can include company workers, friends or loved ones, or bystanders. If anyone witnessed your fall, ask them to include their information in an accident or incident report at the scene of your fall.
- Police statements, if necessary. If the police are called to the scene, they will write up a report that can be used in your case.
Property or Records or Business Records
Your attorneys will also try to acquire the property and business records of the location where your trip and fall or slip and fall accident took place. These records are important because they may indicate some of the following:
- Show when the property was last inspected and how it was regularly maintained. This could be evidence showing that the management was irresponsible or that it was not maintained well enough for customers.
- If there were any cleaning or snow removing policies in place that may affect testimony or which may show the possibility that the area was not cleaned in a manner that would have prevented your fall, or perhaps even caused your fall.
- If there are any logs about what cleaning, maintenance or other work employees did in the area where your accident took place. For example, if you tripped over a hazard that had been mentioned in an employee log, this would be able to show that the property owner was aware of the hazard.
You’ll want to keep detailed records of all your medical expenses and medical treatments. These include medical bills, doctor’s notes, physical therapy bills, pharmacy expenses, and anything else that may relate to your injuries as a direct result of your accident.
Medical records are important both for proving that you were injured because of your accident and for establishing the expenses you hope to be compensated for.
Furthermore, your medical records may provide evidence in any settlement negotiations or for trial in showing how your injuries were sustained. Your doctor’s records, for example, could prove that you acquired your injuries from a slip and fall, not from some other event or condition.
As a result, your personal injury attorney will request your medical records as soon as they agree to take your case.
How to Acquire this Evidence
While it’s important to gather as much evidence as possible, your lawyers will be primarily responsible for gathering most of the evidence needed to bring a claim. This is another reason why it’s important for you to hire knowledgeable slip and fall accident attorneys as soon as possible after your fall.
They’ll know who to contact and how to request forms or records from the workplace or business where you sustained your injuries, for instance. They may also be able to contact local police departments and get records more quickly than you would on your own.
You can also gather evidence by yourself, especially medical records. But do not try to contact the defendant or the defendant’s insurance company without a lawyer.
How Can a Slip and Fall Accident be Proven?
A slip and fall accident can be proven by establishing two major facts: proof of dangerous conditions or hazards and proof of an injury associated with the dangerous condition.
Proof of dangerous conditions or hazards involves gathering evidence that shows there was one or more dangerous hazards present that directly caused your accident. You also must prove that the property owner owed you a duty of care and that they breached this duty. For example, you cannot prove a slip and fall accident (let alone guilt) just because there was a hazardous element present at a business you visited.
Proof of injury involves gathering medical records and other types of evidence to prove that you were injured as a direct result of a slip and fall or trip and fall.
When you hire experienced slip and fall accident attorneys, they will help you gather the evidence you need to prove negligence on the part of the party responsible for your injuries.
Negligence in a premises liability claim involves proving the following:
- That the other party had a duty to you and others to maintain a safe premises.
- That the other party breached that duty.
- That the breach of duty directly caused your accident and your injuries.
You’ll also need to prove who specifically owned the property where the incident took place. This can be harder than you think. For example, parking lots in a premises liability case are difficult because you need to determine who owned the parking lot as well as who had the duty of care to maintain the parking lot premises. The duty of care may belong to the lot owner or perhaps the tenant depending on the circumstances.
Here’s a breakdown of a potential slip and fall accident where you would need the help of an attorney to determine negligence:
- A store opens its doors on a cold winter morning. The store owner and his/her employees know that there is an icy patch of ground on the walkway in front of the store entrance in between handrails. People are funneled over the icy patch when they approach, so they can’t avoid it.
- Despite knowing this, the store owner neglects to order one of his/her employees to clean up the ice or post a warning sign.
- A customer approaches the door and slips on the ice, falling backwards and hitting their head, breaking a wrist and receiving other serious injuries.
- The customer files a personal injury claim as a result.
In this scenario, the injured party must prove that the store owner was negligent and directly caused the accident by opening the store, but not warning pedestrians about the ice in front of the door and/or not making sure to clear the ice before allowing customers to walk over the icy area. There nay also be liability on the part of the landlord or a snow removal company.
How Much Will It Cost to Hire a Lawyer for my slip, trip or fall case?
The attorneys at The Rothenberg Law Firm LLP work on a contingency fee basis. This means we do not take any money from you unless and until we recover money for you. Your initial consultation is always free and we do not collect anything until the end of your case. Contact us today to learn more about your rights to compensation for your slip and fall case.