What You Must Prove to Win a Slip and Fall Claim
Let’s face it, accidents happen. Injuries often occur due to an accident. When the accident was caused by someone or something outside of your control, you may have a legal claim to recover for your losses.
In this post, we cover key issues regarding Liability. The first step and injury victim should be thinking about when considering an injury claim is whether or not a claim is viable. In order to advance a claim, the victim must be able to show that someone was at fault (responsible) for the injuries. That person is usually the property owner.
When considering the question of liability, there are two main items to think about:
- Who is potentially responsible?
- Were the responsible parties actually negligent?
You should be able to complete the following sentence: “X was responsible for my accident and had X not done Y the injury wouldn’t have happened”.
The burden of advancing evidence in a legal claim is on the injury victim. In order to win a legal claim, the victim will need to prove that “X” was responsible and “Y” was, in fact, negligent and led to the injuries.
Theories of Liability in Slip and Fall Claims
The key to winning Slip & Fall claims generally follow two main theories:
A) The responsible party (or their worker) should have been aware of a dangerous condition and done something about it. OR
B) The responsible party (or their worker) caused the dangerous condition leading to the accident.
Dangerous conditions can occur all the time. Consider the pothole in the parking lot, uneven walkways, or icy entryways. Hazards can also be caused by, for example, a pallet left around a corner by movers or water slipt on the floor by cleaners
You need to prove that something occurred which should not have, or that something ought to have been done that was not. Who is to say? The question is whether it responsible party and the victim acted “reasonably”. Insurance lawyer and adjusters are quick to say “accident happen and my client can’t be responsible for everything. No one can be perfect”. This is correct, the law will excuse someone who acted reasonably, even if something still happened. The law does not require perfection, just reasonable efforts to avoid an unsafe condition.
An experienced personal injury lawyer will assess whether the responsible party acted reasonably. He or she must also consider whether the injured person also acted reasonably for a person in the setting (ie. shopper, guest, etc.)
In trying to assess whether the responsible party acted reasonably, a personal injury lawyer will consider the following:
- Did the hazardous condition or obstacle exist long enough that action by the responsible party could have taken action to eliminate the hazard?
- Did the responsible party have a policy to detect and rectify hazards? If so, is there proof that the policies or procedures were followed?
- Is there a good reason why the hazards exist? If so, should the hazard have been in existence at the time of the accident.
- Could preventative measures been implemented to reduce the hazardous condition?
- Was there a situational factor that contributed to the accident (e.g. visibility, weather, lighting)?
- Was poor lighting or limited visibility a factor in causing the slip and fall?
Need help with a Slip & Fall Claim?
Jeff Mitchell is an experienced personal injury lawyer dedicated to representing injury victims after an accident. With free consultation and no win, no legal fee agreements, there is no downside to speaking with us about your claim! Call us today: 902.442.8853