According to the National Floor Safety Institute, slip and falls account for over 1 million hospital visits per year. Slip and falls are also the leading cause of worker’s compensation claims. With statistics so high, you would think that proving a slip and fall injury case is simple, however determining full proof can be challenging and require experienced legal assistance. If you have experienced a slip and fall injury, there are several elements to prove in order to validate your case.
Negligence and Liability
One possibility in your slip and fall case is to prove that the property owner was specifically negligent. This means they failed to act as a reasonably prudent person and potentially ignored possible risks or violations.
- If the hazardous condition existed long enough for the owner to eliminate it.
- Whether or not the owner had a routine of checking for repairs and damages.
- If there was reasonable justification for creation of the hazard
- If poor lighting or limited visibility played a role in slip and fall
You Didn’t Cause the Accident Yourself
In a slip and fall case, it must also be proven beyond doubt that you is did not cause the accident yourself. Whether your responsibility was purposeful or not, shop owners can claim that you took part in the injury. This concept is known as comparative fault, which allows for comparative negligence to be decided and only a partial settlement paid. You could be charged with comparative negligence if you were:
- Texting or using a cell phone immediately before the injury
- In a prohibited area
- Failed to adhere to properly labeled caution and warning signs
Other Elements to Prove a Slip and Fall Injury
Beyond these claims, an individual may also have to prove other elements of their slip and fall injury. These elements may include duty to the victim, known potential for danger, dangerous circumstance, or damages relevant to the case.
Duty to the Victim
A manager or shop owner is responsible for maintaining their property and ensuring that no condition create dangerous risk. If such risks are present, properly labeled signs and other methods can make it clear that precautions have been taken to reduce risk. Otherwise the individual can claim that though the owner could have had control of the dangerous situation, it refused to do so.
Known for Potential Danger
This is a common element in slip and fall cases. In this scenario, an expert witness is called to explain inspections and maintenance that should typically be performed regularly to prevent dangers. If the witness proves the known potential for danger, but that the manager was improper in the care of the area, this could help prove your slip and fall case.
Dangerous circumstances should appear obvious, but still must be proven. The individual must prove that the defending party knew or had reasonable suspicion that someone could have been harmed on the premises but chose to ignore it. This may also include using premises improperly, such as using a dance floor for horse riding. A premise liability attorney may help you take a look at all of the context involved in your case.
Damages Relevant to the Case
This is the last and most important element to proving your slip and fall case. The individual must show beyond a doubt that their injuries were a direct result of dangerous conditions on the property. In most cases, a lawyer can be consulted on what to do and how to apply these elements correctly. Hiring a slip and fall lawyer to assist in the claim will provide the best possible chances of success.