Preparing Your Slip and Fall Evidence
More than 5 million slip and fall cases are reported to US emergency departments annually, many of which happen on someone else’s property. However, thousands of these cases cannot be compensated for by the property owner’s insurance company due to lack of evidence. In order to win a slip and fall case, you must prove three things:
- You fell in someone else’s property
- The owner or manager was responsible for your fall (duty of care)
- The owner was able to and could have made their property safer so that you wouldn’t have fallen.
The burden of proof
Winning your claim against the property owner requires reliable evidence. As the plaintiff, you must prove that the defendant was 100% liable for your damages. Even with the best attorney in the world, it won’t be easy to retrieve compensation without legitimate proof.
Proving the property owner's duty of care
According to US law, a property owner should protect individuals on-premises by ensuring no harm happens to them. However, depending on the state, some people are more protected by the law than others. Make sure you fit into the protected category.
Proving Negligence and Fault
As a slip and fall victim, you must show the owner knew the dangers and ignored them. In most slip and fall cases, two types of proof are considered. They include:
- Surveillance videos: Having access to surveillance videos of your slip and fall accident can make your claim much easier. With it, you’ll be able to prove when the dangerous condition materialized and how much time there was between then and when you had fallen. If the property owner did not respond quickly enough to the damaged floor to prevent harm, you could be compensated.
- Incident reports: Stores create these reports when people get injured on the premises. Incident reports contain crucial details relating to your accident. If they match your claims, the property will be held responsible for the injuries, since the property owner had knowledge about the dangers in the store and ignored it.
Chances of the property owner being willing to provide access to surveillance videos are low. Therefore, your attorney can request them in a subpoena to make the process easier.
Subpoena sounds like a scary word, but it’s not. A subpoena is the appropriate action to take when the property owner fails to produce the required evidence. Typically, a subpoena is a court order that requires one to testify in court or provide the relevant proof for the incident. Subpoenas may be used to retrieve the following for your case:
- Maintenance records
- Incident reports
- Surveillance videos
- Insurance or financial records
- Employment and payroll records
If the property owner does not respond to this court order, there is a possibility of them facing contempt of court charges.
Evidence of the unsafe condition
If you are a slip ad fall victim, make sure you have substantial evidence of the unsafe conditions are the owner’s property. Dangerous conditions include wet floors, broken bricks or stairways, and damaged parking lots. It is advisable to gather this proof immediately after the incident happens. However, this might be impossible, and you may need to go back to the scene and collect the available evidence at a later time.
1. Pictures as evidence
Technology has advanced, and almost everyone has a smartphone. Having this tool makes it easy to take high-quality pictures and videos of the scene.
2. Witness statements
Witnesses can also play a vital role in your case against the property owner. If there were witnesses during the time of the incident, write down their names and contact details. Their testimony will be essential to help you get compensated for your damages.
3. Writing account of what happened
This involves noting down the incident that resulted in your injuries. Write down all the incidences before the fall, during the fall, and afterwards. Write down how you felt when you fell, what took place afterwards in terms of medical attention and the like, and your pain and suffering throughout.
Proof of your damage
Make sure to have a running list all of your costs due to the injury for compensation purposes. Medical records, pictures, and videos of your injuries or bloody clothing will help with your case down the line.
Enumerating your damages
Providing evidence of your injuries may not be enough to guarantee you compensation. You also need to show what effects the slip and fall incident had your body and livelihood. Economic damages in a slip and fall accident include lost wages, property damage, and medical expenses. However, non-economic damages include pain or suffering, disability, and physical impairment. Make sure you list them all.
Gathering and preserving your evidence
Once you collect the proof, ensure it’s in order and take necessary protection measures. Below are tactics you can use to store your evidence safely.
- Keep your medical bills after receiving treatment.
- Items including bloody clothing should be stored.
- If you have pictures or videos of the incident, store them in your computer and a backup flash drive.
- Acquire lost ages statement from your employer and store them safely.
- Scan your evidence for easy sending to your attorney when needed.
- Store your evidence in a safe and easily accessible place in your home.
Also, remember to give photocopies of your evidence and pictures of bloody clothing to the insurance company.
How a slip and fall attorney can help
The procedure of successfully obtaining all of this information may take much time. However, if you have an attorney, the process becomes simple and your chances of winning the claims rise. Also, it is essential to note that attorneys can work on a contingency basis. Regardless, find an attorney who specializes in slip and fall cases and schedule a free consultation. You can’t lose by getting free legal advice to determine whether hiring an attorney is necessary.
The bottom Line
Slip and fall injuries happen all the time to millions of individuals in the US. However, a significant percentage of the victims do not receive compensation. One has to provide substantial evidence of the incident to be compensated by the property owner’s insurance company. Carefully read through the information stated above and also reach out to a skilled attorney. These may help you or a loved one tremendously with a slip and fall injury to get compensated.