Slipping and falling is an everyday occurrence, so it may seem strange to sue over something so minor. But that’s the thing. While most falls are minor, many are not. Sometimes, a simple slip and fall can cause serious pain and injury, costing thousands of dollars in medical damages. If another party’s negligence led to the fall, you have a right to file a claim against those responsible. Like any other personal injury or premises liability claim, slip and fall cases are not always easy to prove. Explaining why you are entitled to recover damages because of the incident is necessary.
Proving Slip and Fall Premises Liability and Negligence
Your premises liability case could cause severe injuries, such as broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, paralysis, and more. Suing the liable party and proving them of negligence is necessary for your case.
To prove a property owner or liable party as negligent, there are three aspects to determine. First: show that they knew the property contained hazards or risks to safety. Second: they failed to fix or address said hazards. Third: prove that such neglected hazards led to the fall and therefore your injury.
If you slip on a wet floor because of a spill in a restaurant, you should prove multiple details. First, that employees of the restaurant knew of the spill or caused the spill; second, they understood the risks of the spill; and third, failed to clean up the spill. You will then have to prove that the spill was the cause of your fall and the resulting injuries.
Picking Apart Common Defendant Strategies
There are many different parts in a personal injury lawsuit, so defendants will try to prove they are not liable. Watch out for these common strategies that defendants may use to disprove your claim:
- Unaware of Risks or Hazards: To prove negligence, proving that the liable parties knew about, or should have known about the hazards being present is necessary. The defense will nearly always try to deny notice of the dangerous condition.
If employees were not present between the time that a substance spilled and the time that you slipped in it, the court may find the defendant not liable of any negligence because they were not aware of the dangerous condition.
- Amount of Damages: Rather than trying to disprove your claim, the defendant may instead try to negate the amount of damages you are asking for. If you file a lawsuit for certain medical bills and recovery bills (i.e. prescription medication, physical or occupational therapy), the defendant may attempt to prove that those damages are not related to your fall.
Proper documentation of your injuries and the associated costs will help to justify the amount of damages that you are seeking.
- Third Party Factors: Another common defense is attempting to prove that the fault lies on either you or a third party.
Say, for example, you fell because of a condition created by a third party contractor while it was installing equipment or making repairs to the property. This evidence could protect the owner of the property from any liability. It is important that your lawyer is aware of all factors, including any recent work done at the premises related to your accident. In the instance described above, the contractor could, of course, be potentially held liable.
Of course, every slip/trip and fall case is unique. To learn if you have a strong case get in touch with us today.
About the Author:
Mr. Macaluso has 25 years of legal experience working in New York State Courts, the United States Federal Court, and the New York State Court of Claims. His many years of experience and expertise in personal injury law has helped his clients win millions of dollars in damages and losses. He specializes in medical malpractice cases and accidents involving a wide range of faulty vehicles and products.